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World Tug of War held in Rochester MN 1999 and 2004

By Ed Hruska

March 31, 2023

Held at the Olmsted County Fairgrounds numerous teams from nineteen different countries came together to complete. Those who watched marveled at the strength, teamwork and physical mechanics these athletes utilized to defeat their opponents. Grass areas where they competed looked as if garden tillers had gone through upon the competition of each match.

The event brought 1500 competitors to Rochester for a week. All meals and hotels were purchased by each team as a package. Ask Joe Powers – his catering business provided three meals a day for a week and loved dealing with these wonderful people from all across the World.

Team tents were provided for each country to call home during the competition. You can see the tents in the background of the photo below.  

Team Tent - Belgium

Yellow Cab

Team Tent - Canada

Rochester Jaycees

Team Tent – England

Whistle Binkie’s

Team Tent – Germany

Alvin E Benike Construction

Team Tent – Ireland

Rochester Athletic Club

Team Tent – Israel

Sports Commission

Team Tent – Italy

AAA Travel

Team Tent – Japan

Soldiers Field Best Western

Team Tent – Latvia

Satisfaction Reality

Team Tent – Netherlands

MLT Group

Team Tent – Northern Ireland

Canadian Honker

Team Tent - Scotland

B & C Piano Movers

Team Tent – South Africa

Rochester Honkers

Team Tent – South Korea


Team Tent – Spain

Kruse Lumber

Team Tent – Switzerland

Hampton Inn

Team Tent – Sweden

Stifel Nicolaus & Co. Inc.

Team Tent – US

Construction Partnership

Team Tent – Wales

Andy’s Liquor





























Listed above are the attending countries and the sponsors of the team tents. Following the event the sponsors got to keep the tents – we were grateful for their support of the event!

For the first time in Tug of War history a team from South Korea competed. Much of the effort was based on Rochester’s Sister City relationship with the country. Local volunteers raised money for their boots. 

Graham Park was alive with fun and energy for that week back in September of 2004. Days were long and not everything went perfectly – but there were a lifetime of stories and memories experienced. Many of us will never forget the time that the World came to Rochester Minnesota!