‘Peace Pull’ unlikely this year

Heather Latter

It doesn’t appear that the “Peace Pull,” the international tug-of-war between Fort Frances and International Falls, will happen this year.
“The ‘Peace Pull’ has been cancelled for this year,” Coun. June Caul said during Monday night’s council meeting.
“It’s been difficult for the group to get together,” she noted.
“There’s other circumstances happening, personal circumstances, that it was decided to just leave it and not do it this year.”
Coun. Caul said in an interview that it was thought about a month ago that the “Peace Pull” might be cancelled, but then they came up with a few ideas.
However, some of the councillors were dealing with family issues and other commitments, so they weren’t able to organize it the way they had hoped.
Faye Whitbeck, president of the International Falls Chamber, did confirm that neither the Falls Chamber nor the city would be planning the “Peace Pull” this year.
“We decided to table it until next year,” she remarked.
But Whitbeck also said there were rumours in International Falls that someone else might be looking into taking over the organizing.
The Times was unable to confirm this as of press time.
Both Coun. Caul and Whitbeck indicated the “Peace Pull” is a unique event given the 1,200-foot rope that is strung across the river between the two countries.
“It really is a community event,” Whitbeck said.
“It’s disappointing to cancel it because I thought it was going to be organized,” noted Coun. Caul, who only joined the committee recently.
“It’s a great event so we’re going to have to work at it, get an earlier start, so hopefully we’ll get it going again next year.”
Whitbeck said the City of International Falls and the Falls Chamber also hope to be involved in planning the 2016 “Peace Pull.”
The “Peace Pull,” also known as “Pulling for Peace,” began in 2006 as a way to celebrate International Peaceful Borders Day.
“Obviously, we are all stakeholders in the cause of peace,” notes the event website.
“However, we believe that those living on international borders around the world are more intimately conscious on a day-to-day basis of the importance of peaceful borders.”
The friendly tug-of war has happened on July 2 for a number of years since then.
Team Canada took the wins in both the inaugural year and the year after, but Team USA came back to capture the title in 2010.
Team Canada then reclaimed the trophy the following year.
In 2012, the event was cancelled at the last moment when a storm suddenly blew in.
Both sides were eager to pull again in 2013, with Team USA taking the win.
But the pull was cancelled again last year due to the flooding of the Rainy River that would have made proceeding with the tug-of-war unsafe.