Who can beat Cam Booker's tug of war team?

The Sefton vegetable grower, whose team is aptly named Grown, is looking for competition in preparation for the annual Sefton Tug of War competition near Rangiora on Sunday, May 20. His team is the defending champion.

''Once upon a time it was an Olympic sport and we would like to eventually turn it into a national competition, but every year it's getting tougher and tougher to get teams entered,'' Mr Booker said.

Last year there were 30 teams, but in past years there have been more than 40 in what is believed to be New Zealand's largest annual tug of war event.


Teams of eight were encouraged to get their entries in for this year's event, to be held at Sefton School. More than $5200 in prizemoney is offered.

''If teams are a couple short, turn up anyway because there will be a few spares floating around,'' Mr Booker said.

The main prize, the Hellers Trophy Pull first prize, is limited to a combined team weight of 800kg, while the mixed team competition has unlimited weight but must include at least four women.

There is also a schools competition with a combined team weight limit of 650kg, ''so it doesn't have to be all from the first 15''.

He said teamwork and technique were keys to success.

''It's all about working together, all as one, which is not as straightforward as you think it would be.

''Technique is about the legs, so it's not just about size and because it's about total weight, you can't necessarily throw in the biggest, strongest guys.''

The Fastgrass Truck Pull will again feature, with teams of four pulling a ute, along with a gumboot-throwing competition.

A barbecue will be available, along with a coffee cart and the Anglers' Arms will provide a beer tent.

There would also be crazy bikes, bouncy castles, and ''Seftonian battlesports'' would provide some activities, ''so there's lots of stuff for the kids to do'', Mr Booker said.

There will be many spot prizes and the More FM crew will be attending with face painting and giveaways.

The Sefton Tug of War is Sefton School's major annual fundraiser. Entries are accepted on the day.

For more information go to Facebook or www.tugofwar.sefton.org.nz or phone Cam on 027 445-7876.

-By David Hill

Central Rural Life