The prize giving was held in the courtyard in front of the oratorio at 7 p.m. that evening. A small tired crowd gathered. The municipal council members stood on the steps leading to the “Proloco”, the municipal offices. The councilors made a speech about the importance of maintaining the tradition, and how important it was not to use modern aids like cellular phones and lasers. No doubt satellite navigation can help too. Even the new powerful light concentrating LED lens torches make a huge difference. Don Vincenzo offered a prayer to the Good Lady and then the runners up were announced. The team that won had only six members. Incredible. And they were indeed the second from the Rocca di Cambio. No political decisions this time! With the late night behind us and a long baptism lunch just over nobody stayed to celebrate. The winners received a certificate and the floating trophy.
The Gare del Solco is under threat. Although there is spirited group of passionate young people in the village, some of whom return from the surrounding cities to do the ploughing, the village is small with only eight hundred full time inhabitants. The sections to be ploughed have been shortened as some areas are now within the park boundaries. It is threatened by the use of technology to the point that it may just become a virtual exercise. Lastly, and most incredibly, it is an undertaking that would never pass industrial safety standards anywhere. Using tractors around untrained people, some of who are drinking good wine is a crazy idea. Even more dangerous at night. Worse still in dry fields with open candles and gas lanterns on unsteady tripods being carried over rough ground. According to verbal records nobody has been injured yet in the Gare del Solco other than the obvious tiredness mixed with hangovers I saw the next day.
It will be wonderful to go retro and do it with cattle drawn ploughs and candle light. The only modern concession I would allow is for women to participate. I hope they continue the tradition. I wonder what modern plagues we may exorcise with this tradition?