Several people were injured on this side of the border Saturday afternoon during the Backus Community Center’s “community pull” tug-of-war between Fort Frances and International Falls, which ran in conjunction with the seventh-annual International Boundary Waters Dragon Boat Festival.
Residents on both sides of the upper Rainy River were pulling a rope across the river when the part on the Canadian side lunged forward with enough force to move a truck the rope was attached to as an anchor.
The ensuing violent jerk of the rope sent participants sprawling across the pavement.
“When the tension got on the rope, it rubbed up against [a street post] sign and there was enough pressure to bend the road sign at nearly almost a 45-degree angle,” dragon boat club president Greg Thorstad recounted.
“When that post let loose, it was basically like cracking a whip,” he remarked.
“So it put a whip in the rope which caused what happened.”
At least two people were taken to hospital by ambulance while others suffered rope burns and lacerations.
Due to the rest of the dragon boat festival being cancelled as a result of the tug-of-war mishap, the championship races did not take place.