By DAVID HILL
Who can beat Cam Booker’s tug of war team? The Sefton vegetable grower, whose team is aptly named Grown, is looking for competition ahead of the annual Sefton Tug of War competition on May 20. His team is the defending champion.
“Once upon a time it was an Olympic sport and we would like to eventually turn it into a national competition, but every year it’s getting tougher and tougher to get teams entered,” Cam says.
Last year there were 30 teams, but in past years there have been more than 40 in what is believed to be New Zealand’s largest annual tug of war event.
Teams of eight are encouraged to get their entries in for this year’s event, to be held at Sefton School, with more than $5200 in prize money up for grabs.
“If teams are a couple short, turn up anyway because there will be a few spares floating around,” Cam says.
The main prize, the Hellers Trophy Pull First Prize, is limited to a combined team weight of 800kg, while the mixed team competition has unlimited weight but must include at least four women.
There is also a schools competition with a combined team weight limit of 650kg, “so it doesn’t have to be all from the first 15”.
He says teamwork and technique are keys to success. “It’s all about working together, all as one, which is not as straightforward as you think it would be.
“Technique is about the legs, so it’s not just about size and because it’s about total weight, you can’t necessarily throw in the biggest, strongest guys.”
While entries will be accepted on the day, Cam says if teams can enter a week before, it allows organisers time to arrange screen-printing of team names.
The Fastgrass Truck Pull will again feature, with teams of four pulling a ute, along with a gumboot-throwing competition, with entries accepted on the day.
A barbecue will be available on the day, along with a coffee cart and the Anglers’ Arms will provide a beer tent.
There will also be crazy bikes, bouncy castles, and Seftonian battlesports will provide some activities, “so there’s lots of stuff for the kids to do”, Cam says.
There will be many spot prizes and the More FM crew will be attending with facepainting and giveaways.