(From general news sources of the day and issues of The Draft Horse Journal.)
I confess, the best single issue of this magazine that Jeannine and I ever cobbled together, was Autumn 1984. Our lead article was about Harry Heck, then from Abingdon, Illinois. Harry was to hitching drafters what Knute Rockne was to football, or Franklin Roosevelt was to running for president. In other words ... the best.
At that time, Harry was 68 years of age and draft horses had been a big part of his life all the way ... as in, from childhood. The last time Harry saw his father alive was at the 1964 National Belgian Show where his dad came up and drove one of Harry's gelding teams while Harry drove the other pair. That is not the worst kind of memory of him by any means. He was a perfectionist in every aspect of his life.
Harry was far more than a great horseman ... he was also a great farmer and I think the best way to "remember" this giant in the draft horse world is with several of the photos we ran of him and his Belgian hitches.
There were several other draft horse giants in that issue, including a two-page spread from Arnold Hexom, notifying one and all of his pending complete dispersal of his Percheron, Morgan and Hackney horses at his farm, located at the northwest edge of Waverly.
Another local who was most helpful to me personally was Everett Hildebrandt. So I was blessed with two excellent mentors ... and they both lived right here in Waverly. Neither one was shy and both were helpful to us and this magazine in many ways.
Like Harry Heck, Everett was a perfectionist. His farm was just a half mile away ... so I had plenty of instruction between the two of them. For that issue, we asked Everett to come over, harness our Percheron mares and set up some photos to educate our readers in the finer art of adjusting harness. It made for a nice, informative feature.
We will also run a few shots of other teamsters of that era. It was a picture-taking bonanza ... so I'll close with that, and hope you enjoy these old photos from Autumn of 25 years ago.