City of Tonawanda takes the win in annual tug-of-war contest
“This was definitely a quick one. We had a good start once we got going, and we just didn’t stop,” said Tonawanda Coach, Dave Nedell.
The Canal Fest tug-of-war competition took place at Niawanda Park next to the bandshell, promptly at 6:30 p.m. Fifteen workers and employees from each city, gathered on both sides of the rope as they gazed at their opposing team with intensity. Team members consisted of mostly firefighters and police officers to give the two cities the ultimate strength they needed.
“I knew it was gonna be a bigger challenge when I saw a few new guys on their team. They were pretty big,” said North Tonawanda Mayor Robert Ortt.
NT had held on to their title for two years, but it was quickly relinquished by the extremely determined Tonawanda team. The city said they did their share of research to win this year’s contest.
“We looked online and talked to people who have done it. There’s basically a pulling technique,” said Nedell.
“Once the momentum goes one way, it’s hard to reverse it,” said Ortt. “I gotta tip my hat to them though; they’ve been gracious losers the past couple of years. This time they came to win.”
Mayor Ortt said the tradition pre-dates Canal Fest, at an event called “Tonawanda Day”; where an annual competition was held to end the cities friendly rivalry.
“The cities have been doing it for fifty years. They had a tug-of-war every year and when they started the Canal Fest, they brought this with it,” he said. “It’s all in good fun.”
As for Mayor Polizzi having the pleasure of being wheel barreled across the Renaissance Bridge by Mayor Ortt, “It will definitely be interesting because I probably weigh twice as much as him.”
“I will push him over the bridge at a leisurely pace,” said Ortt. “It won’t happen again so he has to enjoy it now.”