POLITICS
09/20/2011 04:56 EDT | Updated 11/20/2011 05:12 EST

Ontario party leaders gain traction, leave furrows in annual plowing match

CHUTE-A-BLONDEAU, Ont. - It was time for the politicians to get their hands dirty Tuesday, as the four main party leaders took part in an annual plowing match in eastern Ontario.

Premier Dalton McGuinty promised before the International Plowing Match in Chute-a-Blondeau that he'd plow "dead centre."

"You will note, I ask you to pay attention the PC tractor — it will veer sharply to the right," McGuinty predicted.

"The NDP tractor will pull stubbornly to the left. The Liberal tractor, dead ahead all the time, and actually we're bringing people with us so we're together when we move forward."

The Liberal leader worked the tractor forward on the marked path, then turned it around and drove back to its starting point. Hopping off, McGuinty joked that he didn't run anyone over, "even though I tried."

Apparently satisfied with his work, McGuinty celebrated briefly with his wife Terri, giving her a big hug.

Of all the leaders, McGuinty has the most plowing match experience under his belt, with Tuesday's event being his 15th match. His tractor, of course, was red.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath made a fashion statement with an orange scarf and a funky pair of boots that depicted scenes of horses. As she climbed aboard her orange tractor, she noted with relief that there was a tortoise and a hare on the controls, indicating slow and fast.

Once finished, a laughing Horwath described the experience as "really great" adding it was only her third time on a tractor and plowing a furrow.

"I think I hit a rock or something. I was having a hard time making it go but I just, you know, I kicked 'er down and kept going," she said.

Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak did his plowing with a blue tractor and Green Leader Mike Schreiner's tractor was, well, green.

For the peckish spectators, McGuinty handed out apples while Hudak gave out granola bars.