Big Trail & Tug 2018 Recap

The Muddy Path To Victory

Despite earlier threats of heavy rains brought by Hurricane Florence, ESP held its Big Trail and Tug event on Sunday, September 16 at Camp Hooray. In fact, the light showers created the perfect terrain for the organization’s fourth annual tug-of-war competition and family adventure run.

Volunteers and ESP cast and crew arrived at Camp Hooray in Jefferson, GA, at 8:45 a.m. The hours before 11:30 a.m. were a flurry of activity; blowing up bouncy houses, grilling burgers and hot dogs and setting up obstacles. By the time participants arrived, the energy was palpable and competitors were ready to romp through the mud for a win.

The day-long event kicked off with runner and tug team registration, where community leaders and supporters updated their fundraising pledges of $25-$500. After a great lunch of grill fare donated by the Kesterson family, a crowd gathered by the cafeteria of Camp Hooray.

The Family Adventure Run featured 6 obstacles; all caked with mud and rain and accompanied by volunteers to help runners along their path. From “Noodle Forest” to “Hay Mountain”, each checkpoint of the marathon celebrated athletes of all ages and ability. After crossing the finish line everyone received an Extra Special medal of honor and a well-needed dowsing by volunteer firefighters.

However, hosing off would only work for so long. The main event that everyone had been waiting for–the incentive for raising $500–the tug-of-war competition featured fourteen teams and a sea of supporters by the lake.

Crowds gathered by the mud pits and watched as each team faced off. The teams were split into two weight classes: the “lightweights” at 180 lbs. And under, and the “lugs” at over 180 lbs.

The result of these pairings was interesting. For example, the “Drama Llamas”, consisting of the competition’s youngest tuggers complete with matching tutus and determined attitudes, went up against men and women twice their size. Unsurprisingly, girl power won.

Another highlight of the competition was the “Battle of the Bankers”, where the Oconee State Bank faced off against BankSouth in an intense rivalry.

Finally, to cool off a belly flop competition was held at the tail end of the competition. Fans cheered on in the splash zone as people threw themselves headfirst into the mudpit to see who made the best splash. At the end, one lucky ESP dad walked away with a gift card in tow.

While each team fought bravely, only two teams could win the overall tug contest. For the lightweights, the lightweight class victors for the tug-of-war competition were the 3Tsports team, a Jefferson-based nonprofit organization. For the “lug” class (teams of a weight class over 180 lbs.) the Greensboro, GA, branch of  BankSouth took home the gold.

However, ESP thanks all of the teams for their hard work and enthusiasm:

Whitlow Creek Wonder Women
Tug You Very Much
Kailey’s Beliebers
A League of Their Own
ESP Mighty Mom’s
Dacula Sparkles
Dacula Dreamers
Drama Llamas
Esp@Uga
Trash Truck Mafia
3T Sports
Bank South
Restore Pros
Oconee State Bank


With the support of the community, ESP is able to pursue its mission of providing resources and opportunities to special needs individuals. The collective efforts of volunteers and competitors made Big Trail & Tug 2018 possible and generated funds that directly contribute to ESP after school programs and services. Donations are still being accepted, and fundraising has not stopped for our teams! For more information, click here.

About The Author

Haley Lacuesta

Haley is a fourth year International Affairs & Public Relations double major at the University of Georgia. She is a Marketing & Communications intern at ESP.

Related Blogs

Posted by Haley Lacuesta | October 4, 2018
10 Ways to Dress Down for Down Syndrome
Every year, around 6,000 babies in the United States are born with Down syndrome according to the Center of Disease Control. It is one of the most common chromosomal disorders...
Posted by Haley Lacuesta | September 11, 2018
The Ultimate Guide To Big Trail & Tug 2018
There are just six days and counting until the 2018 Big Trail & Tug; an event that the ESP community has been patiently waiting for over a year. After a...
Posted by Katelynn Thomas | April 2, 2018
Why Ashley Jumped
Why Ashley Jumped Many amazing individuals in the community register to participate in Big Jump to help send children of all abilities to ESP summer camp. Last year, one of...