WALDOBORO, Maine — Logger Mike Sproul leads his 2,400-pound team of steer into the woods, passing by a skidder parked on the edge of a field. The heavy machinery could twitch more logs in less time — but it has never won him any ribbons. So today Bright and Star, a pair of three-year-old Red Durhams, get to go to work.
Sproul’s family settled in here in the 1700s. He’s the seventh generation to work the family’s 220-acre farm. A distant relative served as a bodyguard to George Washington during the Revolutionary War.
Sproul says working and training the steer is just a hobby. (They’ll be called oxen when they reach age 4.) This winter he used them about twice a week. He figures that’s just enough to stay in shape for the eight or nine pulling contests they’ll compete in at fairs later this year.