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
A League of Their Own
ESP Mighty Mom’s
Trash Truck Mafia
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.