Iowa Wins 2013 Tug Fest - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Iowa Wins 2013 Tug Fest

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For decades, hundreds have competed in the annual Tug Fest between LeClaire, Ia and Port Byron, Il. The festival is centered around a tug-of-war competition spanning the Mississippi River from LeClaire to Port Byron.

Teams from Iowa and Illinois tested their strength and endurance Saturday afternoon as they pulled a two-thousand foot rope -- trying to get more of it on their side.

Participants competed in three-minute shifts over the course of the war which lasted about 2.5 hours.

Last year Illinois won - making the total number of wins since the event began 16 for Illinois and ten for Iowa.

But this year, Iowa came back big with a win.

Participants and Spectators alike say the event is always fun – one Tug Master even calling it his Christmas. But competitors say there's certainly an element of seriousness when it comes to the safety of the competitors.

Tug-of-war accidents have made several headlines in the past – including this February when two California teens severed their fingers while playing the game during their high school lunchtime. Similar incidents have occurred in Minnesota and Colorado.

The Tug Fest tuggers told us they have never experience any accidents as serious as those, but minor cuts and bruises aren't unfamiliar.

They said the best way to avoid an accident is to practice. Some tuggers said the key to staying safe is in the technique – having proper back posture and footing, and wrapping your bare hands around the rope rather than having the rope wrapped around your hands.

Some tuggers also used a gasoline/pine mixture on their hands to help them stick to the rope and keep them from slipping.

One of the tug masters also added the LeClaire tugpit added a new steal pole this year to anchor the tuggers. He said the new pole would help ensure everyone's safety. He said organizers put down softer dirt this year than in years past.