Many state fairs across the nation key in on agriculture, traditions and competition.

Some animals didn't make it out to the New York State Fair, but one animal-inspired staple is a back — draft horse competitions.

"I've been coming here since I was a little kid to see the draft horses. And these are some of the top draft horses in the country," said Melinda Feeney, an equine enthusiast from LaFayette.

In a regular year, the Toyota building would be packed to the brim with fans and participants. For those who’ve never been, it’s not quite what you may looking for.

"Most people think horse events are related to race, racing, but these are drafts," said Melinda's husband, Harry.

“It's not a race around the ring," Melinda echoes. "It's just to see what they look like how powerful they are, who's the new, who moves the best picks their feet up the best.”

But for many families, like the Feeneys, from Central New York and throughout the world, draft horse competitions are about pride, tradition and certainly love over money.

"These horses are really a big commitment, because obviously they eat a lot," Melinda laughed. "They're very large to deal with, six of these."

With all of the pomp and circumstance, judging, some prizes and celebrating a fair staple, it’s truly about coming together.

“They've been doing this for three, four generations," Melinda said. "People come from Massachusetts. They come from all over the country.”

The Draft Horse Club competitions had to be held in a more private and controlled environment last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But competitions returning to the fairgrounds continue into Saturday with some of the best hitches on the continent.