Tug-of-war devises weather contingency plan
The “Pulling for Peace” organizing committee announced Tuesday it had completed a weather emergency contingency plan for future international tugs-of-war should a storm arise suddenly as one did at 5 p.m. on July 2 along the U.S./Canada border.
The storm hit just before the 2012 tug was to begin.
Mayor Avis and former International Falls Mayor Shawn Mason met to determine how to handle the cancellation and decided the travelling trophy, which details the winners back to 2006 when the event started, would be inscribed “2012 Cancelled Due to Weather.”
At the urging of the two mayors, “Pulling for Peace” organizers then prepared a weather emergency contingency plan.
“The 2013 rules provide for a delay of one hour in the event of a weather emergency,” said International Falls Coun. Cynthia Jaksa, chair of the “Pulling for Peace” organizing committee.
“This year, a one-hour delay would have been enough to have allowed us to proceed,” she noted.
The contingency plan asks participants and spectators to monitor local radio broadcasts one hour after the scheduled start of 5 p.m. if there is a weather delay.
“If we can’t conduct the event safely at 6 p.m., we will advise everyone to check back at 7 p.m.,” Jaksa explained.
“If we can’t proceed safely at seven, then we will cancel the event.”
Jaksa added the possibility of rescheduling to a different day was discussed by the committee, but determined not to be feasible because of logistical issues involving navigation and aeronautical disruptions.
“Pulling for Peace” conducts the international tug-of-war as part of “International Peaceful Borders Day” on July 2 each year.
This year, it was proclaimed an official day in Canada by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
“All I can tell the prime minister is we really tried,” said Jaksa.
“While diplomatic relations were peaceful on July 2, the weather was not.”
Canadian and U.S. teams of pullers had met on each side of the Rainy River to compete in the annual event when a violent storm forced its cancellation.
The 2013 “Pulling for Peace” international tug-of-war is scheduled for July 2 at 5 p.m.
More information is available at www.pullingforpeace.com