Big toys at final day of Oxford Fair


Casey Kovacs of Gotham grooms her cow, London, before a showing.

Gary Mosher leads driving It’s Not Over as the horses make their way down the backstretch. Mosher would eventually finish second behind Deli-craze driven by David Ingraham (left).Keith Higgins of Durham competes in the backhoe competition yesterday at the Oxford Fair.

OXFORD — The final day of the 175th annual Oxford Fair on Saturday was Family Fun Day, and there were indeed fun activities for the whole family.

Some of the day’s events included a pig scramble, harness racing, numerous 4-H showings of livestock and a loader backhoe competition.

So while the kids were chasing pigs and petting cows, the adults were free to play with a big toy — a CAT 420F2 IT backhoe, donated by Milton CAT for the competition.


The bright yellow piece of equipment was surrounded by traffic cones. 

A T-shaped pin embedded in the hole at the top of the corner cone, about 1 foot long and 8 inches wide, needed to be picked up by the backhoe’s bucket and placed into the hole of the corner cone opposite from it.

Another required task during the competition was to pick up a tire, a board, a chain and a square steel frame. All items needed to be moved from one side of the cone enclosure to the other. Whoever moved the items in the least amount of time was the winner.

If competitors knocked a traffic cone over with the backhoe’s giant swinging bucket, it was a five-second penalty. If they dropped the pin and could not pick it up, or could not complete the tasks, they were disqualified.

The prize was $100, which was enough for Ryan Merrill and Tim Bartlett of Poland to sign up and try their skills.

“I run equipment for a living, but I’ve never competed with it before,” said Merrill, who works with Bartlett on a farm, whose finish time was 3:52. 

Then there was Keith Higgins of Durham, who operates heavy equipment for a living, including a backhoe, and is no novice at competing. It was evident from the effortless way he picked up the items using the massive bucket with the precision of tweezers.

Winning with a time of 3:23, Higgins said modestly, “I felt like I did okay.”

Owen Berrymen enjoys a ride with his father Christopher and Danylle Carson.Sophia Davis from Farmington embraces her lamb Roman Dash. While she has been on the farm all her life, this is her first year showing lambs.Sophia Davis from Farmington embraces her lamb Roman Dash. While she has been on the farm all her life, this is her first year showing lambs.