Where would Berwick Gala Days be without Horse and Ox Pulls? And where would Horse and Ox Pulls be without the contribution and legacy of Lorimer Daniels? Lorimer participated in Gala Days first Horse Pull in 1947 and began a career as the most popular annual performer and promoter of the event.
He and his wife, Mary, raised ten boys on their farm in Viewmont, on the North Mountain. As one of Lorimer's grandsons put it, "He could do anything with horses. He could heal them, pull them, show them, ride them, race them, and - above all - he could work them."
Lorimer once said to a newspaper reporter that, in the beginning, "Horse pulling was a way to pick up a few extra dollars" but that, later on, "with the price of fuel and the expense of keeping the horses, you're lucky if you break even. There's not much money in pulling, but it's the sport of it that keeps us interested".
As Lorimer said about a horse-pull or ox-pull event, "It is a time of competition but at the same time it is the opportunity to see old friends and renew acquaintances". Not that the renewed acquaintance was without some apprehension on the part of those old friends. Lorimer was, in the words of one of his sons, "the most dreaded competitor and the most respected at the same time. The teamsters all knew when we pulled in to unload that they were going to have to make every move count if they planned to win because that was the only thing on father's mind that day. Yet he always had some good advice for teamsters willing to listen and pay attention, for he had perfected horse-pulling, and ox-pulling, too, to a science, a science that very few have ever - or ever will - match, for he lived for pulling competitions."
A reporter who joined him one day at the South Shore Exhibition noted that "Mr. Daniels knows horses and what makes a good one as well as a good pair. He said sometimes you can get two great horses who are strong and willing to pull but they can't work together. This can sometimes be changed if a person has the time to work with them and if they get to know exactly what their handler wants." She observed that, while watching his fellow-competitors, "He never took his eyes off the ring. As each team entered the ring at the elimination pull, Mr. Daniels was quick to point out their good points as well as their bad. He explained the way in which the driver tries to get his team to haul the weight the required distance and just how smart these animals are by watching their actions in the ring."
Lorimer created a dynasty as his and Mary's boys, and later their grandchildren, became competitive. If, as occasionally occurred, Lorimer did not win an event, another member of the family would. Lorimer, for example, was the first Nova Scotian to ever participate in the International Horse Pulls and, although he never won this event, two of his sons have. The family is also responsible for the creation of an annual Horse Pull which has raised thousands of dollars in support of the Nova Scotia Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Keeping himself and his teams "looking good" and in "great shape" garnered Lorimer - and "King", "Prince", "Dick", "Bob", and a host of other horses and oxen - hundreds of trophies and awards at competitions, including Nova Scotia, Maritime, and Atlantic titles and, in 1963, the World Ox Pull Championship.
As Mary has said, when asked why Lorimer competed year after year, "He loved it."
Inducted June 2005