Putting the cuffs on cancer

Aug. 20, 2013 @ 09:01 AM

A chorus of “Pull!” “Tug!” and “Go!” filled the air as community members cheered on firefighters and law enforcement during the 1st Annual Tug-of-War Competition on Saturday at the old Ellenboro School grounds.

Troopers with the North Carolina Highway Patrol in Rutherford County, in coordination with several area sponsors and volunteers, hosted the inaugural ‘Putting the Cuffs on Cancer’ Relay for Life tug-of-war event to help raise funds for the American Cancer Society.

“This is the first year we’ve done this, and it is really awesome to see the support from our public safety personnel and firefighters,” said Maria Hunicutt, who helped the Rutherford County Trooper Relay Team organize the event. “It is great to see the camaraderie and volunteers here raising money.”

The event began at 9 a.m. and continued until 2 p.m., featuring seven teams of firefighters and law enforcement competing in lightweight and heavyweight divisions.

Participating teams in the double elimination tug-of-war competition included Ellenboro, Bostic, Sandy Mush, SDOCliffside fire departments, the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office and the North Carolina Highway Patrol. and

“Having law enforcement and fire departments out here to support cancer, it’s a great cause,” said Bostic Fire Chief Randy Jolley. “I don’t know anyone who hasn’t been touched by cancer or know someone close to them who hasn’t.”

After several heats of competitive pulls, the tug-of-war finals pitted Bostic firefighters against Ellenboro firefighters, during which Bostic emerged victorious.

First Sergeant J.C. McClelland with the Highway Patrol presented Jolley and his fellow firefighters with a tug-of-war trophy of recognition.

“We came out here to support Relay for Life, and we will definitely be participating again next year — we will have to defend our title,” Jolley said.

Saturday’s event also included a variety of fun activities in between the tug-of-war pulls, including dancing, field games and kids’ tug-of-war.

“We really appreciate everyone coming out and the community’s support during this event,” said Trooper Jason Spence, a member of the Rutherford County Trooper Relay Team who spearheaded the tug-of-war competition.

After the tug-of-war championship and trophy presentation, spectators and participants had the opportunity to challenge their opponents to tug-of-war. One competitive challenge involved the wives of firefighters versus the wives of Highway Patrol, while another featured Bostic and Ellenboro in a rematch.

“This tug-of-war event has been a neat way to bring people together and for them to come out to support this great cause,” Hunicutt said.

All proceeds from the ‘Putting the Cuffs on Cancer’ Relay for Life tug-of-war event will go towards the Rutherford County Relay for Life event on Friday, Sept. 6 at Forest City-Dunbar Park, 6 p.m.-12 a.m.