On a July evening 65 years ago with the war more or less over, three young farmers clubs got together with the idea of coming up with a family day out. The clubs involved were Tuxford, Retford and Walesby. It is thought this meeting took place at Mrs Mellors guest house, Tuxford.
It was there the ploughing match was conceived. Mr Bowness of Gamston was approached with regard to the use of his land. He said yes and the rules were formulated, times and dates were dealt with. The match was probably confined to three classes with a root crop section.
On November 17th 1945 the first ploughing match was held.
Things have changed since then as each year progressed more classes were added, this included shire horse and in later years vintage ploughing. 1961 saw the introduction of Reversible ploughing..
In the early days there were six clubs involved; Tuxford, Retford, Walesby, Walkeringham, Clayworth and Worksop but by the mid 50s Retford and Tuxford were the mainstays. In 1973 West Notts joined with North Notts for several years.
As the ploughing classes grew bigger from 3 in 1945 to 8 in 1994 so did the home produce from a root crop section to 10 classes of a variety of home produce handicrafts garden produce and children’s competitions.
Side shows over the years have included Tractor pulling, Clay shooting, Gokarting, Sheaf tossing a Dog show and many more.
The weather plays a big part in the success of the match. In 1947 a drought made conditions very hard and in 1959 the match was postponed because of drought, in 1962 and 1969 fog caused delays to the start of the match.
On September 11th 1994 the 50th ploughing match took place back on the original site by kind permission of the Bowness family, commemorative brass plaques were given to each ploughmen and a photograph taken at the very first match was recreated with similar tractors and the same competitors.
The ploughing match went well for the next few years but by 2000 it had run into difficulties. In 2001 it was cancelled due to foot & mouth, in 2002, 2003 & 2004 the ploughing match was run on a shoestring budget with no prize money given.
In spring 2005 a meeting took place at the King William inn at Scaftworth, winding up the ploughing match was considered, fortunately that option was not taken a new committee was formed joined soon after by some very enthusiastic new members.
By the end of 2007 North Notts Ploughing Match was once again solvent, had purchased its own marquee, had reintroduced prize money thanks to its sponsors and had raised over £400 for the Lincs/Notts Air Ambulance!