Tug-O-War is back! To be held after St. Louis Labor Day parade



Illinois and Missouri locals invited to compete to support $5 for the Fight

The sixth Labor Tug-O-War, to see who can beat the history making two-time champions Sprinkler Fitters Local 268, will be held in downtown St. Louis on Labor Day, Sept. 7, immediately following the annual parade, announced event chairman and Rockwood Labor Club President Marty McClimens, a member of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 562.

The union competition is joint project of the Rockwood and Tri-County Labor Clubs.

The Tug-O-War is open to all locals in Missouri and Southern Illinois. Steamfitters Local 439 and Bricklayers Local 8 are the only Illinois locals to have fielded teams. The invitation is open to more Illinois locals.

“The goal here is to have the two events — the parade and the tug — compliment one another and create an exciting time for everyone,” McClimens said.


Locals are encouraged to start putting their teams together now; keeping in mind there is a maximum weight limit of 1,500 pounds for a six-man team. There will be weigh-ins.

The tug will be held in Kaufman Park at 13th and Chestnut streets and starting at 11:30 a.m., barring any delays. The Labor Day parade kicks off at 9 a.m. and usually lasts two hours.


The day’s activities will include:

Kids Tug
KIDS FUN: It’s exciting when the youngsters get a chance to compete as well. There are two separate competitions for children under and over eight years of age. – Labor Tribune file photo

A double elimination contest with medals going to the four top teams and the winner taking home the travelling Greg Booth/Dee Sprayberry Memorial Crystal Trophy, named after the late IBEW Local 1 Business Manager Booth and late Operating Engineers Local 513 veteran Business Representative Sprayberry. The medals and trophy presentations will take place about 1:30 p.m.

A kids Tug-O-War halfway through the event, with candy for all participants.

Lots of fun and excitement for everyone as the crowds cheer their own champions.

“We know that several locals go back to their union hall or go to a park and have a picnic. We are hoping they will still enter a team and have their fans stay back to cheer them on,” McClimens said.

There will be plenty of food and drinks available courtesy of the various local unions that normally provide food and drinks for parade participants.


As was the case in the 2013 Tug-O-War, a portion of the funds raised will go to the $5 for the Fight Fund to help out-of-work union members in need of financial assistance.

Last year’s event raised $13,500 for the fund. The five previous Tugs raised $58,500 with donations going to Shriners Children’s Hospital, Rebuilding Together-St. Louis and $5 for the Fight.


As an important part of the fund raising effort, sponsorships are available. Contact McClimens at 314-920-1404 or email: mcclimens@local562.org.


Muscle up; here’s who you have to beat

Do you have the muscle to win?

That’s the challenge issued to all locals in both Missouri and Southern Illinois in the Sept. 7 Tug-O-War.

Here are the winners of previous Tugs – your competition, if you dare:

2007 – Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 562B (497 pounds).

2008 – Laborers Local 42’s (1,499 pounds).

2009 – Laborers Local 42 (1,490 pounds).

2010 – Sprinkler Fitters 268A (1,394 pounds) and Sprinkler Fitters 268B (1,486 pounds). In a dramatic turn of events the number 1 and 2 teams in the 2010 competition who were Sprinkler Fitters, did not pull against one another but joined hands in solidarity and declared their union the winner!

2013 – Sprinkler Fitters 268 A (1,401 pounds) & B (1,364 pounds) for a second time – by winning both 1st and 2nd place. As they did in 2010 when they won both 1st and 2nd places, they didn’t pull against one another but declared both teams the first place winner.

A total of 13 locals participated in the 2013 event. Let’s have more this year. It’s fun for everyone, participants and cheering onlookers alike.


  1. I am a co-director for the St Louis Worlds Fare Heritage Festival. We would love to have the tug-o-war at our event August 17-19, right before the right to work vote in November. I think this would be a great opportunity and very fitting. Please let me know who I could contact about this.



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