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Tug-of-War gives West team a win

Date Posted: 2004-10-14

The west took the win for a second straight year, and it came ever so easy.

The Naha Festival and its world famous tug of war attracts tens of thousands, and this year the gods smiled on the Nishi team as it pulled the 40 ton straw rope four meters in a lightning fast six minutes, 26 seconds.

The Sunday afternoon tug of war attracted 280,000 revelers, many of whom took sides for the actual rope pull. The event came after a 90-minute parade featuring the seven teams from the east side, and seven from the west, down Kokusai Street.

Officials say it was the largest crowd ever to attend—and participate—in the annual event.

The west team won last year, but it took them a full 30 minutes to accomplish. Two years ago the east and west teams battled 40 minutes, but the tug of war ended in a draw.

This year, officials say the west had the numerical advantage. Another win next year will guarantee a good harvest, while a rebound by the Higashi team would mean a great harvest for fishermen. All participants who cut a piece of the rope for a souvenir are guaranteed good fortune, the legends say.

“It was a very exciting experience,” an Australian lady said. “The big rope makes you use your strongest power, then need to rest after five minutes. It’s so much fun.”

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