DURANGO, Colo. – The Durango Business Improvement District (BID) has released the official “rules” for the 2nd Annual “Tug-of-Weather,” Durango’s answer to Groundhog Day. The Tug-of-Weather is set for Thursday, Mar. 1, 2012, with festivities to begin at 4:30 p.m. in Downtown Durango on E. Second Ave. in front of Steamworks Brewing Co. (801 E. Second Ave.).
“Across the U.S., there are many Groundhog Day celebrations to determine if there will be an extended winter or an early spring,” said Bob Kunkel, BID executive director. “But here the local ground squirrels are still hibernating in February, and even March. So, in Durango we have the Tug-of-Weather – an athletic event held in good fun.”
The main event, the “battle of the seasons,” will pit winter sports enthusiasts (i.e. ski bums) against the boys (and girls) of summer (i.e. river rats), competing in a best two-out-of-three 100-ft. rope “tug of war” to determine whether spring is right around the corner or if the mountain town is in for six more weeks of winter.
Durango Mountain Resort (Durango’s local ski mountain) is organizing the winter team with Mild to Wild Rafting and Jeep Tours assembling the summer team. At the inaugural “Tug” in 2011, the winter team won two out of the three pulls, and celebrated the forecast of more snow – which did indeed occur.
The “battle of the seasons” tug will begin at approximately 5:30 p.m., though prior to that, starting at 4:30 p.m., community teams of six each are invited to compete in 50-ft. rope pulls. Youth teams (age 15 and older) are also invited to join in. Community teams can sign up in advance via email to Pam Glasco, BID community relations coordinator, at email@example.com, or register at the event. Participation is free.
As no Durango festivity is complete without beer, the 2012 Tug-of-Weather will feature Steamworks brews for spectators. (Durango cherishes its reputation as “the Napa Valley of craft beer” and is said to produce more craft beer per capita than any community in Colorado.)
In addition to the BID, event sponsors include the City of Durango, Durango Herald, Four Corners Broadcasting and the Durango Area Tourism Office, with support of Steamworks, Durango Mountain Resort, Mild to Wild and the Durango Chamber of Commerce.
“Last year’s event generated a lot of attention for Durango,” said Kunkel, who conceived the concept following a challenge for a Groundhog Day-type event posed by Durango Herald Publisher Richard Ballantine. “This is a town known for its outdoor sports enthusiasts. They’ve got more invested in the weather than PunxsutawneyPhil.”
The official Durango Tug-of-Weather is a best two-out-of-three competition. Should each team win one pull, the winner of a coin flip may chose a side for the final pull for the win. For those preparing to participate in the community or official Tug-of-Weather, the rules are:
1. No “locking up” the rope. No knots or loops shall be made in the rope, nor may the rope cross over itself at any time.
2. Proper holding of the rope. Every puller shall hold the rope with palms of both hands facing up. The rope must pass between the body and the upper part of the arm.
3. Anchor person’s grip. The rope must pass under the arm and only once across the back of the anchor.
4. No “enhanced” footwear allowed.
5. The start. When the Judge has received the ready signal from both team captains, he shall give the following commands:
a. “Pick up the Rope”
b. “Take up the Slack”
c. “Steady the Rope”
6. No letting go of the rope.
7. Puller injury. An injured puller may drop out of a pull but cannot be replaced by another puller for that pull. Should the injured puller not return for subsequent pulls, the opposing team will drop one puller to even the number of pullers on both sides.
8. No sitting. Deliberately sitting on ground in not allowed. If a puller slips or falls, they must return immediately to a standing pulling position.
9. No touching the ground with any part of the body other than the feet.
10. No “climbing the rope.” Pullers cannot pass the rope through their hands.
11. Winning a Pull. A pull is won when one of the white markers on the rope crosses the center line on the ground.
12. Signaling a Win. The Judge will blow the whistle and point in the direction of the team winning the pull.
To learn more about the Durango Tug-of-Weather, contact Pam Glasco at 970.375.5067 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Durango Tug-of-Weather is organized by the Durango Business Improvement District, which was formed in 1997 with a goal and mission to support businesses within the District by assisting with special event marketing, providing research on topics of concern to the District (facilities, special events, best practices), planning and development of new facilities, and providing capital budget for equipment that enhances business in the District. Funding is generated by a 2 mill levy on property owners within the district, with additional marketing dollars contributed by the City of Durango and Durango Area Tourism Office. For further information, visit www.downtowndurango.org.