Horse Pull has been Fountain tradition for 62 years

May 8, 2024

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief

FOUNTAIN — The 62nd Fountain Horse Pull will take place on Sunday, May 26 beginning at 1 p.m. The pull is the undisputed biggest annual event in Fountain and the surrounding area, drawing thousands of people each year. Leading the dozens of volunteers is Duane Leonard. A Leonard has chaired the Horse Pull for at least 40 years. “My dad, Kenny was in charge of the Horse Pull for many years, since I was kid,” Duane said. “Then, my brother Jimmy took it over. A few years ago after Jimmy passed away, I took it on.”

Duane is quick to give credit to the many other volunteers who are instrumental in the event and the other activities that take place that weekend.

“We just couldn’t do it without all the people who come to help,” Duane said. “This is a true community event and a tradition that every resident of Fountain and the surrounding area is proud of.”

While the horse pull is the main attraction, there are several other events that take place beginning with a corn hole tournament on Saturday, May 25. Sign up starts at 11 a.m. with the tournament starting at noon. Early signup takes place at Fountain Hardware.

On the day of the horse pull, there will be lots of goodies for sale at the bake sale at the Fountain fire station.

“My mom, Pat Leonard, started the bake sale,” Duane said. “Now, Cathy Sorensen leads it up.” Sorensen, with all seriousness, said she would like to someday see the horse pull. She spends the entire event a few hundred feet away overseeing the bake sale, raising money for the event and the community.

“All the proceeds go back into the event and the community,” Duane said. “We also have great food options including the Fountain Area Fire Department bratwurst stand, Gloria Ann’s Catering, Mason County Eastern food booth, and Lela’s Original Kettle Corn. We will have music from Al Villadsen.”

“We try to limit the vendors because we want to make sure that they are all able to make the event worth their while,” Duane said.

The Fountain Horse Pull attracts pullers from across the state and also from Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin and Indiana. The closest teams come from Ludington and Bear Lake.

Duane said the pullers are appreciative because the Fountain Horse Pull pays a fuel stipend.

“The fuel stipend was started a few years ago by Scott and Tina Varney, who own the Fountain Hardware Store,” Duane said. “They hold corn hole tournament earlier in the spring and then an ORV poker run. The word has spread around that we do this and the pullers say they really appreciate it.”

Local businesses also donate the trophies.

“We rotate the business that donate the trophies,” Duane said. “This year Jackson Quick Building is donating them.”

Pullers are also awarded cash prizes for first, second and third places.

“Our horse pullers are great people and make this a quality event,” Duane said. “We are just so thankful to everyone who comes out, whether they are a puller, a volunteer, or a spectator. This event is about our community and we love putting it on each year.”


This article is presented to you by Lake Michigan Senior Living, located on the bluffs of Lake Michigan in beautiful Summit Township.


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