Canada to keep ‘tug’ trophy until next year
Fort Frances will keep the tug of war trophy for another year—not because they defeated their opponents from International Falls, but because the Monday event was canceled due to a thunderstorm that passed over at precisely the hour the “Pulling for Peace” event was scheduled, raining out the annual friendly competition between the two countries.
“[We] decided it would be a draw, meaning it will remain the way it is until next year,” explained Fort Frances Mayor Roy Avis, citing the event will be planned for July 2, 2013.
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.”
“Although the rules do provide for a coin flip in the event of inclement weather, I was reluctant to allow our national honor to be decided by chance,” Mayor Avis stated in a press release.
“The Americans offered several suggestions and our staff researched precedent going back to the conclusion of the War of 1812, but I felt we needed decisive action and we needed it immediately,” he expressed.
With July 2 being dubbed “International Peaceful Borders Day” by Canadian Prime Minister Harper, his proclamation “. . . urged all citizens of both Canada and the United States to pause on this day to appreciate the blessings of good friends and good neighbors across peaceful borders and to honor this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities such as the International Tug of War held across the Rainy River in International Falls, Minn. and Fort Frances, Ontario.”
Worried that with no event occurring and no winner declared, national relations could be effected, the two mayors consulted as to how to proceed.
Officials stated the Americans were prepared to allow the Canadians to retain the traveling “World Peace Trophy” since the Canadians won last year and as a result the trophy remained in Canada.
It will be inscribed with the words “2012 Cancelled Due to Weather.”
“I congratulated Mayor Avis on his having obtained the Canadian Prime Minister’s declaration of Peaceful Borders Day,” noted International Falls Mayor Shawn Mason, acknowledging that she is still waiting for a return call from the White House which was asked to sign a similar resolution.
“I am happy with the resolution we negotiated with Fort Frances,” she added.
Prior to the 5 p.m. start of the tug of war on Monday, both sides of the border were anxiously waiting to get the event underway.
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,” Fort Frances councillor Rick 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.
“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.
“If it had been a couple hours earlier or a couple hours later, we would have been fine,” he noted.
“It’s unfortunate, but you can’t control the weather.”
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.