Fun in the sun and snow at 3rd Annual Sleigh & Cutter Festival!


3rd Annual Sleigh & Cutter Festival Big Success!

By Ley Bouchard

The Red River Harness and Saddle Club and the Midwest Minnesota Harness Club hosted the 3rd Annual Sleigh & Cutter Festival Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017 near Pelican Rapids, Minn. The weather cooperated to make an enjoyable day for about 25 rigs and teams that came from across the region.

More than 50  spectators joined in the fun to celebrate winter and observe a rare showing of vintage and homemade sleighs, bobcats, sleds, otters, and cutters along with many different breeds of horses.

Teamsters, mostly from Minnesota and North Dakota, brought horses, mules, ponies and mini horses to pull and display an array of equipment.  Participant registrations rose over the previous years‘, in part, because it is the third annual event, people are learning about it and coming back each year to enjoy driving their horses in the snow, showing off their snow sleds and delight in not fighting bugs and heat.

Teamsters arrived by 10 a.m. to complete the registration process, harness their horses, and ready their sleighs or equipment for the Grand Entry Parade which took place at 12:30 p.m.  Teamsters participating in the day were Cathy Villella, Josh Hanson, Danny Babolian, Sue Lockling, Becca Babolian, Polly Thorsness and Christian Moen in the novice classes; driving mules teams were Ken Pawluk, Polly Thorsness,  Mark and Karen Radtke.  Horse teams included Denise and Brian Laymon, Mike Hanson, owner of Due North Haflingers of Cook, Minn., Elroy, Christy and Lindsey Bjorgen, Jeff Claypool, Bobbie Kleffman, Linda Vukich, Lynnea and Lynn Ferrie, owner of SlipKnot Farm in Bagley, Minn., Dennis Sobtzak brought a magnificent matching pair of Percherons, Sue Lockling brought Shetlands, Patches in training, and Grimm, her steady and true blue roan which accompanied her in her van the first year she attended this event as her truck was out of service!

The sunny day progressed without a hitch or injury. The wind picked up briefly but for the most part it was a day in the mid-20 degrees and mild compared to the event in 2016!

The following photo gallery shows those who participated.  Dick Schauer owner of Working Horse in Park Rapids, Minn. and Doc Isaacson judged the event for the third year running.  The announcer this year was Sal Formo; many commented on the excellent sound system which facilitated excellent communication throughout the large area.

Treasurer/Secretary of the Red River Harness and Saddle Club, said in a Facebook comment: “THANK YOU to everyone who made the sleigh event possible, it was a great turnout of units and spectators!! I thought this year’s announcing was excellent, it was easy to hear all over the grounds, so we always knew what was happening as we were switching animals and/or equipment!  And it was easy to hear the judge’s commands when we were in the ring.  THANK YOU!”

Michelle Jimenez posted photos to Facebook and commented, “The 2017 Sleigh and Cutter festival is in the books.  It was a beautiful day to be outside enjoying the fun and festivities!  Thank you to everyone who made this annual event a HUGE success.”

The committee and clubs wish to express their appreciation to the sponsors of this event:  Park Region, JS Stables, The Inn at Dunvilla,  Heart o Lakes Meats, and Bimbo Bakery in Pelican Rapids and Farmers Feed Mill in Barnesville.

More photos may be found at the following Facebook locations: ,, and the VE News YouTube channel: