The Highlander Tug of War is a Great Pull at the Games

As the Glengarry Highland Games prepares to celebrate its 70th year on August 4th and 5th, the many planning committees are working to make it an outstanding show for everyone who attends. Added to the traditional Games events of piping, drumming, dancing and heavyweights are several events that have grown to be much anticipated attractions of the Games.

One of these that has attracted a strong following over the past 10 years is the Tug of War. The tug of war was a feature of many of the early Games but fell out of favour until North and South Glengarry teams began their rivalry pull before the Friday night Tattoos. In 2008, a demonstration Tug of War was held between the SD&G Highlanders and the Cameron Highlanders from Ottawa. Since then the Highland Regiment Tug of War has rapidly grown to last year’s record number of 12 teams competing before an enthusiastic Games crowd.

"The Highlanders Tug-o-War Challenge Cup is the only sporting event created and designed specifically for units of the Canadian Army Reserve. There is no other sporting event of its kind in Canada that is available for Canadian Army Reserve units. Physically demanding team sports have long been appreciated by militaries around the world as a means to develop their fighting force. They are key to building strong, dedicated unit bonds and esprit de corps that is critical to military success. 

Tug-o-War is ideally suited for Army Reserve units as it requires few resources, no prior experience, and requires no more than a section of soldiers (the basic building block of capability within the Army) for a team, where success is more a function of unit cohesion and leadership than raw physical strength and body mass. It’s a technical sport that demands the full cooperation and rhythm of soldiers working together in exact harmony...perfect for small unit leadership development.

Combined with the public competition venue presented by the Glengarry Highland Games, The Highlanders Tug-o-War Challenge Cup has a significant contribution on unit morale, leadership development, self-discipline, teamwork, loyalty, and commitment while establishing and building strong community ties,” states Bud Walsh, Director of the Highland Challenge Event.

This year the following teams have confirmed their participation. There may be more confirm in the weeks ahead as there is still a month to go. Returning to the competition are:

  1. The Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa (last year’s winners)
  2. The Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry Highlanders
  3. The Toronto Scottish Regiment
  4. The Lorne Scots
  5. The Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders of Canada
  6. The Lake Superior Scottish Regiment
  7. The Essex & Kent Scottish Regiment

New teams who will be trying for an upset include:

  1. The Brockville Rifles
  2. 42nd Field Regiment (The Lanark & Renfrew Scottish), Royal Canadian Artillery

The Camerons are currently on a winning streak of five wins in a row from 2012 through to 2016.  Of the past ten competitions, The Camerons have won all but three!  The home-town Glens are always a favourite and have placed in the final round almost every year. This year will likely be no different. That said, The Toronto Scottish look to be strong contenders this year and have taken on expert  coaching and instructional periods on technique.  Combined with their size, they'll prove to be a tough team for the Camerons and Glens to beat.

The Argylls and E&K Scots have been steady performers for some time now, and the Lorne Scots have been here twice before and each time they improve their technique and power. It is expect ed that all these teams will provide tough competition. The Lake Superior Scottish travel the greatest distance...18 hours on the road from Thunder Bay. That distance has never been a weak point for the team as they always show up ready for a tough fight on the rope.

The two new teams, Brockville and 42 Field Regiment, are a welcome expansion to the competition. They will be the wild cards in this year's show. 

“It's great to see the interest in the competition spread across the Army Reserve. Sports programs like The Highlanders Tug-o-War Challenge Cup, through the demands of training and competition, contribute to the operational readiness and overall effectiveness of the Canadian Armed Forces...and it's great to see the Glengarry Highland Games be a part of that contribution,” adds Walsh as he prepares for what should be another exciting Tug of War event.

The Highlanders Tug of War takes place on Saturday August 5th starting at 10:00 am on the east side of the infield with the final pull at 5:30 pm just before the massed bands.

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