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Gilbert to be inducted into horse pulling hall of fame in Michigan
After 56 years of pulling horses, an unbelievable dream is about to come true for Harold Gilbert, a lifelong resident of Shelbina.
That was the emotion he felt when he received a phone call from the Michigan Horse Pulling Association informing him that he is to be inducted into their Hall of Fame. He is the first puller not from the State of Michigan to receive this honor.
Gilbert won the World Championship Draft Horse Pulling Contest in Michigan in 1971 with his team, Ted and Pat and, as they say, the rest is history.
As a result of that title being brought to Missouri, John Quinley, of Lentner, convinced the Missouri Department of Agriculture and the governor that there should be a pulling horse contest at the Missouri State Fair.
The first pull at the Missouri State Fair was in 1972. Over a period of 20 years, Gilbert, and his team(s) won first place every year and two years won first and second place at Sedalia. The first pull was outside in the sun and dust and drew more people than the grandstand event. It was moved to the grandstand for a few years.
As history would tell, Gilbert’s great teams have won him thousands of awards, trophies and ribbons. He recently donated many of those to the Shelby County Historical Museum in Shelbina, where they are on display.
He is known around the United States as a tremendous teamster and many horses and horse pullers have learned from him.
Ill health in recent years, saw Gilbert’s retirement from pulling, but he has remained an avid supporter and continues to attend as many pulls as his health will allow.
Gilbert was notified Wednesday, Aug. 15, that he will be inducted into the Michigan Horse Pullers Hall of Fame on Aug. 30, in Kalamazoo.
The Gilberts have made plans to attend the event.
Gilbert has pulled a number of times in local pulls and is known by many in this area.
He is the uncle of Walt Gilbert, Press-Journal publisher.