McPherson County Farmer Specializes In Hands-On History

By: Phil White Email
By: Phil White Email

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Saturday, November 3, 2012

There's no time to sleep in on Maynard Krehbiel's McPherson County farm on the first Saturday of November.

There's a lot of work to be done and it's going to take a lot of real horsepower to get it done.

Teams of draft horses from across Kansas -- with one-bottom plows and their owners in tow -- arrive at the Krehbiel farm early that morning to plow a 10-acre patch on Maynard's home place.

"It's a dying art and it's amazing how many young people are hanging in and still like to do it," Krehbiel says. "Basically, that's why we keep doing it every year."

Preserving that dying art of farming with draft horses, as well as preserving the heritage of many Kansans, has been drawing folks to the Krehbiel farm for about 20 years.

"It started out with just the sons and their friends and it kind of just kept getting bigger," Krehbiel says.

So big, in fact, everybody just knows when and where to be.

"It's the first Saturday in November. That's the way it's always been," Krehbiel says. "I don't make any phone calls. They know it's coming, so they just show up."

Some show up to exercise their draft horses.

Some show up to give younger generations a chance to see how it used to be done.

Everyone shows up for the fellowship.

"There's so much visiting going on," Maynard says. "The guys will go to that end (of the field) then they'll stop and visit. Then they'll get here and they'll stop and visit. We could do it by noon, but it usually takes the biggest part of the day."

Speaking of noon, that's when everything and everybody stops for a big pot luck lunch and more visiting.

While not much has changed since this tradition began a couple of decades ago, changes are coming to the Krehbiel farm. Maynard is retiring soon and moving off the farm.

"It's going to hurt," he says. "This will be the toughest thing to give up."

However, Maynard does not think this tradition is going anywhere.

"I think my son will keep it going," he says. "He's going to live here, so I think he'll keep it going."

In fact, Maynard plans to be right here on the next first Saturday of November.

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