‘Tug’ to honour end of War of 1812

Duane Hicks

If the War of 1812 were fought today, who would win: Canada or the United States of America?
That question will be answered here July 2—if all goes to plan with the annual “Peace Pull” international tug-of-war.
Because this year marks the 200th anniversary of the end of the War of 1812, organizers have invited the Canadian Forces reserves and the Minnesota National Guard to grab the big rope and face off, Fort Frances Coun. Rick Wiedenhoeft told community leaders during a cross-border brainstorming session last Wednesday at the AmericInn in International Falls.
Coun. Wiedenhoeft said he has a good response from Lt.-Col. Geoffrey Abthorpe of the Canadian Forces, and also received a positive ones from Maj. Gen. Richard Nash of the Minnesota National Guard.
“And apparently, the idea of this thing has even reached Washington and Ottawa,” he noted.
“We want to make this thing as big as possible, and having the two armies do the pull would be very significant for the anniversary of the War of 1812,” Coun. Wiedenhoeft reasoned.
“We’re looking forward to that, and hopefully that works out.”
This year’s “Peace Pull” will be held Wednesday, July 2 starting at 5 p.m.
After introductions of dignitaries and the two national anthems, the action will get underway.
The event will be comprised of three “tugs.”
Instead of a “celebrity” pull, there will be a “community” pull, with dignitaries taking part (this means politicians and other guests will be pulling with the community members).
The second “tug” will be the armed forces face-off while the third one will be a “power” pull—featuring the strongest men and women each side has to offer (44 tuggers per side).
The winner of this pull will take home the trophy, with the mayor of the losing side travelling across the river to present it.
There is a contingency plan in place in case the “Peace Pull” has to be postponed due to poor weather.
In case of bad weather, it will be delayed for a half-hour.
If the weather has improved after that, radio stations on either side will be notified.
If the weather has not gotten better, organizers will wait an hour. And if it has not improved by then, they will wait another half-hour.
If the weather still hasn’t cleared up an hour-and-a-half after the original start time, the whole event will be called off.
This is the eighth year for the tug of war, with Fort Frances holding a 3-2 edge (the pull had to be cancelled twice due to the weather).