The battle over the only tug-of-war across the Mississippi River may be over, in a good way.

The Tug Fest groups in LeClaire and Port Byron announced Monday said that an agreement has been reached to offer a new set-up for this August’s event.

“We are excited to let you know that after much back and forth with our friends across the river, we have reached an agreement that will address the concerns of both sides,” Tug Fest Iowa posted on Facebook.

Tuggers for the 2022 LeClaire team take part in Tug Fest Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022 (photo by Eric Olsen).

“The river pull that you have come to know and love will be held with a slight twist. With the generous help of Legacy Corporation, a barge will be anchored in the river to aid in evening out the current tension on the rope,” they said, noting the East Moline-based company.

“We have much discussion ahead of us to work out all of the rule changes that this will lead to but we are pleased that we are finally moving forward,” the LeClaire group said. “Again, we thank you for your support and patience while we got things worked out.”

Legacy Corporation specializes in site grading and excavating, underground utility installations, land clearing, tree grinding and environmental flood control structures. 

They will be putting a barge in the river that will not move and will hold the rope up out of the current,” Tug Fest Illinois posted on Facebook. “This will answer the question if the current plays a part in who wins!!”

The Tug Fest in LeClaire, Aug. 13, 2021.

Tug Fest has been a Quad Cities tradition since 1987, and is scheduled for Aug. 10-12, 2023.

On Feb. 1, 2023, the LeClaire Tug Fest Board and Committee announced that negotiations to update the only tug-of-war competition to span the Mississippi River reached an impasse.

Both sides of the festival have noticed a marked drop in attendance over the last several years. Iowa’s take on this is that the vastly different currents on each side of the Mississippi River make it impossible to have a fair and even competition, according to LeClaire’s side. Illinois disagreed, saying that the current does not matter and does not affect the outcome of the pulls in any way.

Tug Fest in LeClaire was looking at a land-based event just on the Iowa side.

Tug Fest Iowa’s annual Bags Tournament Fundraiser is this Saturday, March 25, 2023 at the LeClaire Rec Center, 429 N. 3rd St. Sign up starts at 11 a.m. and bags fly at noon. Bring your own partner ($20 per person); there will be raffles and a 50/50 drawing.