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Kurtis Gregory trots away with State Fair prize


After a roar of thunderous applause from the audience, state Rep. Kurtis Gregory left the Missouri State Fair’s celebrity draft horse hitch show with the prize.

The event followed the Governor’s Ham Breakfast Thursday, with Gregory, Rep. Rick Francis, and Sens. Mike Bernskoetter, Lincoln Hough, and John Rizzo competing for the trophy. Gregory said the Department of Agriculture asked legislators involved in agriculture policy to join the competition. 

Gregory told his “tail” to The Missouri Times, praising his team of horses for putting on a good show despite the mounting pressure.

“It was a lot of fun — I’ve heard being a celebrity contestant is an enviable position,” Gregory said. “It feels great. Our team might not have been the absolute best, but it was fun to hear all the applause and the horses looked incredible.”

Rep. Kurtis Gregory and his family pose with his horse team at the Missouri State Fair. (PROVIDED/KURTIS GREGORY)

The competitors steered tandem horses around the Mathewson Exhibition Center during the “mane” event, competing to see who could garner the loudest cheers from the audience. Gregory put out the call on social media for friends, family, and supporters to come out and support him in the competition, and it paid off — Gregory and his team managed to “stirrup” enough applause from the arena to gallop away with the trophy. 

Gregory was paired up with a driver and horses who traveled across the country to compete; his team made the trek from Meadow Lake, Oregon, and had been traveling to various state fairs across the Midwest to jockey for prestige. 

Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe, who has been known to ride horses himself, gave Gregory advice before the competition. Attorney General Eric Schmitt simply advised him to “hang on tight.”

The Missouri State Fair is heading into its final weekend. Visitors still have time to stop by this year’s butter cow sculpture, check out an electric car at the Electric Cooperatives building, and pick up their favorite fair foods.