Storm cancels ‘tug of war’
A thunderstorm that passed over Fort Frances and International Falls, MN, at precisely the hour the “Pulling for Peace” event was scheduled, rained out the annual friendly tug of war between the two countries yesterday.
“If it had been a couple hours earlier or a couple hours later, we would have been fine,” Fort Frances councillor Rick Wiedenhoeft noted this morning.
The rope had even begun to make it’s way from the Canadian side to the American side.
But as the dark clouds crept closer and strikes of lightning could be seen, it was clear it would unsafe to continue with the tug of war.
“We can’t risk somebody’s life,” Coun. Wiedenhoeft voiced, citing the danger of being near the lookout tower or in a boat in the middle of river during a thunderstorm.
The decision to cancel the event was made by Fort Frances Mayor Roy Avis and Rod Otterness, administrator for the City of International Falls.
The event won’t be rescheduled.
Instead, Mayor Avis and International Falls Mayor Shawn Mason have to decide how to proceed, but had not been able to connect prior to press time this morning.
The rules, as stated on the event’s website claim “in case of inclement weather (lightning), the event will not be held and the winner will be decided by a coin flip.”
But WDIO-TV in Duluth has reported that International Falls is letting Fort Frances keep the trophy for another year.
“Of course we’re very disappointed,” Coun. Wiedenhoeft expressed. “All the work, organization, preparation, donations, time and effort were all washed out in one hours worth of storms.
“It’s unfortunate, but you can’t control the weather,” he noted.
The storm brought lightning, high winds, and close to eight millimetres of rain within the hour.
Wiedenhoeft added a huge thank you to all the celebrities and “power pull” team members who came out ready to take part in the tug, as well as to Mike Gurski who organized the “power pull” and the Fort Frances Kiwanis Club who had already begun to prepare a BBQ dinner for all participants and spectators.