Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

And they're off

IRONWOOD - The 94th annual Gogebic County Fair welcomed racers and fans to the track for day one of harness racing Friday.

On a sunny afternoon, the longstanding fair tradition continued.

Racers competed in five races around a mile-long dirt track. Horses were allowed to compete in two of the five races, as long as they rested for 40 minutes in between. With no sign of rain, racer Gary Magee said the track was ideal for racing.

"The track was excellent," Magee said. "It was very consistent all the way (across)."

When the bugle sounded from the grandstand, the excitement began as racers went on a parade lap. After the parade lap, a pickup truck led them around the track and then the horses sped off to begin the race.

Dust flew through the air while racers sat in sulkies connected to horses going more than 15 miles per hour twice around the track.

Watching in the grandstand with his friends and family, Jim Kangas, of Ironwood, said it was exciting to see the horses gallop by him.

"It was really nice, we really enjoyed the horse racing," he said. "We've been coming here for 10-12 years."

Harness racer Myron Kauppi said the racing began when the Ironwood Trotting Club used to race on land donated by Solomon Curry that would eventually become the fairgrounds. Before long, harness racing became popular and would later lead to the Gogebic County Fair.

Over the years it has grown into a Gogebic County Fair tradition that draws lots of followers.

"I admire the tenacity and the desire of the people up here to have this (harness racing)," Magee said.


Race 1:

First Alexia Kehl

Horse: Dirt Merchant

Purse: $845

Race 2:

First: Gabe Wand

Horse: Wisconsin Artist

Race 3:

First: Dave Carter

Horse: Dapper Dan

Race 4:

First: Nick Carter

Horse: Wisconsin Artist

Race 5:

First: Ken Stauffer

Horse: PH SWAN

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