Despite flood damage, OK Corral holds 56th Annual Horse and Pony Pull
Last year’s floods decimated many towns and villages in, and around, the Driftless area, leaving a variety of flood damage both to personal and municipal property. Not spared from last falls flood impact was the small village of Ontario, Wisconsin, and specifically the OK Corral, an equine event venue located 20 miles South of Tomah on Hwy. 131.
Flooding last year leveled the horse arena that played host to numerous events such as barrel racing, poles, roping, and kids programs every Tuesday during the summer. Last Saturday’s 56th Horse and Pony Pull, was the first event held at the OK Corral after exhaustive efforts to restore the venue which began late last fall.
OK Corral owner Jamie Dewitt, who also has served on the Ontario Village Board of Trustees for the past 15 years, and is a member of the Ontario Volunteer Fire Department, said that “Ontario has been flooded about four times over the last ten years”, referring to Ontario as a “tight little community”, and added, “Sometimes you have to take a couple steps back to take one big step forward.”
Having been through flooding before, Dewitt said of the community, “We know how to get it done”, referencing all the work needed to get the village back on its feet and operating. Dewitt stressed that the village is working hard to rebuild business and keep things viable. He noted that Ontario relies heavily on tourism from canoeing and kayaking on the Kickapoo River.
The OK Corral is one of many rental businesses that offer the service that sees between 600 to 800 canoes/kayaks on weekend days. “The canoe renters all work together to get it done. It’s tourism for the summer, and the village needs that. We try to grow every year from that. With the floods its hard, but we make it.”
With help from family and friends, the horse arena was ready for Saturday’s pull. Dewitt himself used $10,000 out of money raised from his hog operation to fund the rebuilding of OK Corral, effectively ensuring the decades long event that sees people from across Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan, and Illinois attending.
Dewitt said the annual pull has become a tradition, not only for the residents of Ontario, but for equine lovers in general. In addition to the annual pull, OK Corral hosts barrel racing, pulls, and Tiny Tot events every Tuesday evening thru the summer.
To help cover costs of the event, the OK Corral depends on registration fees, sponsors, and their popular chicken BBQ and refreshments offered during the pull.
Wagenson Auction Service LLC of New Lisbon, served as the events Master of Ceremonies.
For more information on the OK Corral Horse and Pony Pull, visit https://www.facebook.com/Ontario-OK-Corral-584104935437473/
Editor’s Note: While the list of donors is quite extensive, DriftlessNow.com felt it necessary to give credit to all that helped a long-standing event that draws tourism to a village hit so hard by flooding. Not to minimize the damage experienced by other areas in the Driftless region.
Arena Sponsors: Wildcat Bar and Grill, Kevin Dewitt Logging, Johnson Construction, Brush Creek Sales, Buff’s Quality Hoof Trimming, OK Corral Canoe Rental, Dewitt Transport, Riverside Trucking, Mike Dewitt Logging, Wayne Wallace Logging.
Frank Dewitt Transport- Ontario, Mabel’s on Main- Cashton, Degenhardt Tire Inc- Norwalk and West Salem, Drifty’s Canoe Rental- Ontario, Lamb Hardwood Lumber- Ontario, Wildcat Bar & Grill- Ontario, Countryside Auto- Ontario, Bank of Cashton, Long Shot Saloon- Norwalk, Dinger’s Ag & Auto Repair- Norwalk, Sleepy Hollow Auto Sale- Viroqua, Sterba Insurance- Hillsboro, Martin Milk Service- Wilton, Rockton Bar, Kickapoo Yacht Club, Clucker’s Repair, Kickapoo Wild Adventure- Norwalk, Dorset Valley Restaurant- Wilton, Travis Schaub Mobile Repair & Welding- Ontario, George Wilbur Attorney- La Farge, Driftless Marathon- Hillsboro, Phil & Deb’s Town Tap- La Farge, Hillsboro Equipment, Mauston Equipment, Slama’s Lawn and Sport, Flock’s Heating & Air Conditioning- Cashton, Titanic Canoe Rental- Ontario, Wilson Wrenching- Ontario, Country Discount Store- Ontario, String Swing Display Fixture- Ontario, Riverside Trucking- Norwalk, Mark Carlson Trucking- Melvina, M & S Sales- Hillsboro, Peterson Pharmacy- Hillsboro, Wilton Hardware Hank- Wilton, Family Affair Hairstyling- Wilton, Main Street Market- Wilton, Central Express- Cashton, Peaceful Valley Harness Shop- Cashton, Miller’s Dented Discount Groceries- Cashton, Kendall Trucking Excavating & Plumbing- Kendall, Mlsna Dairy Supply- Cashton, CBS Designs- Cashton, Kickapoo Auto Service- Ontario, Mitby’s TV & Appliance- Cashton, Hitchin’ Post Sports Bar- Wilton, Bank of Ontario, WCCU- Cashton, Central Tax & Accounting- Hillsboro, 71 Express- Norwalk, Award Winning Truck Wash- Oakdale, Cook Creek Woodwork- Cashton, Hillsboro Floral, OK Corral, Mike Dewitt Logging, Equi-lete Minerals(Jeff Krueger)- La Farge, Hundt Implement- Cashton, Western Wisconsin Realty Co.- Ontario, United Cooperative- Wilton, La Farge Truck Center, Cashton Farm Supply, Countryside Woodstop- Norwalk, Hillside Acres- Hillsboro, Muehlenkamp Excavating- Norwalk, Dana Foods- Hillsboro, Miller’s Farm Supply- Cashton, Simonson Real Estate & Auction Service- Cashton, Troyer Blacksmith & Feed Store- Cashton, Pasture Pride Cheese- Cashton, Kevin Dewitt Logging- Ontario, Dale Dewitt Logging- Ontario, Brandon Nooyen-Black Creek, Corey Mandelco-Spring Valley, Randy Tank- Gillett, Al Faliry-Ontario, Willie Tank-Gillett, Floyd Kitlinger-Hixton, Wendy Barts-Boyceville, Kelly Niebouder-Spring Valley, and Floyd Hixto
1st Place Halters Sponsors: 3000# Jack Bolden, 3200# Lester Hersherborger, Hwy. Memorial of Jim Doyle.
2nd Place Lead Ropes Sponsored by Peaceful Harness Shop- Cashton