Tug of War 2009 - Press Info
Saturday, November 7, at the Crack of Noon
WHAT: Tug of War over Annapolis Harbor (also known as the Gulf of Eastport). Between 20 and 30 tuggers per tug on each side pull a specially designed rope that extends from Second Street in Eastport, across the water to Susan B. Campbell Park in downtown Annapolis. There will be five or more individual tugs followed by a street party on the Eastport side featuring music, food, and beverages.
WHEN: Saturday, November 7, starting at the crack of noon
WHERE: Eastport side assembles at Second Street, near the Chart House; Annapolis side assembles at Susan B. Campbell Park (City Dock) in downtown Annapolis.
WHO: The event is organized by the Maritime Republic of Eastport and it is run totally by volunteers. Local businesses sponsor teams or the event itself. Everyone is invited to tug. It is a family friendly event.
WHY: Fun with a purpose. Tug proceeds this year benefit these local charities:
- SPCA of Anne Arundel County
- Civil Air Patrol
- Eastport Elementary School’s Reading is Fundamental Program
- Colonial Nursery School Community Playground
- Light House Shelter
More than $100,000 has been raised by the MRE in past Tugs of War and other events. The Tug is MRE's largest yearly fundraiser.
PHOTOS: Photos of past events are on this website. Higher resolution photos may be obtained from Elvia Thompson,
BACKGROUND: The always revolting Maritime Republic of Eastport makes an annual call to its adversaries across the water, the residents and businesses of Annapolis, to take arms and meet at Susan B. Campbell Park -- City Dock -- on the first Saturday in November (more or less) for the Annual Slaughter Across the Water. The MRE, of course, awaiting its opponents from the vantage point at the Spa Creek end of Second Street in Eastport. How did this wacky event start?
It all started 12 years ago when the MRE founding father Sam Shropshire and a few others decided that if the MRE had seceded from Annapolis there ought to be a "friendly" rivalry to mark the occasion and to do good in the community at the same time. How they came up with the idea of teams pulling across the harbor against adversaries they can't see might have had something to do with the the fact that that they were in a local watering hole at the time. But we digress. Fun with a purpose was born -- at least in this incarnation. To make a very long story very short, luckily, the founding fathers included a physicist who figured out how many people had to be on either side to be able to pull a rope 1700 feet long out of the water and in their direction and therefore how strong the rope needed to be. Also luckily, the founding fathers included a really good salesman who convinced Yale Cordage to build the rope at cost. And even more luckily, the founding fathers convinced everyone that this was a great idea. Eastport rallied around the battle and a great tradition was born.
So, once a year, local and national attention focuses on the Annapolis Harbor, or, as we like to call it, the Gulf of Eastport, for a competition unlike any in the world – the Slaughter Across the Water, the longest tug of war over a body of water in the world. The Tug is staged between the Maritime Republic of Eastport (MRE) and Downtown Annapolis, featuring a 1700’ rope, over 450 tuggers, and more than a thousand spectators.
Composed of a maximum of 33 tuggers, each team strives to bring home the trophy and the title, each tugger doing his or her own part to bring the fame and fortune to the appropriate side.
Eastport has been the dominant force most years, but there have been shut-outs on both sides. The winners earn a year's worth of bragging rights and the ensuing riches. Okay, there may not be any riches, but the bragging rights tend to be pretty strong and have led, in the past, to the renaming of Annapolis Harbor, the bridge and, in fact, the entire town of Annapolis (the Gulf of Eastport, the Bridge of our Glorious Victory, and Westport, respectively). So there.