It’s a battle for braggin’ rights today between two tiny Mississippi River communities in Iowa and Illinois. The 18th annual Great River Tug Fest is underway, rain or shine. Charlotte Morrison, spokeswoman for the Quad City Convention and Visitors Bureau, says it’s been an ongoing challenge between LeClaire, Iowa, and Port Byron, Illinois. River traffic is halted and they stretch a 24-hundred foot long rope across the waterway and have a series of tug-of-war contests. The rope weighs 680 pounds — dry — and Morrison jokes nobody wants to know what it weighs wet. She says it’s not only burly, muscle-bound men taking part in the tug-off, but women and kids too. Numerous teams and age groups take part in the tugfest and the overall score decides which side of the river wins the tournament. Port Byron has held the trophy for the most years but LeClaire hopes to reclaim it this weekend. She says the event is expected to draw 20,000 spectators. For more information, surf to “www.tugfest.org”.
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