And they yanked the arms right off the other teams, OK, not really, but Clear Stream Construction did yank the rope out of all of their opponents’ hands. That’s right, Clear Stream Construction won the sixth annual tug of war and set a Windjammer Days Festival record June 24, becoming the first team ever to win twice – and in consecutive years!
The Friends of Windjammer Days renamed the event the Stephan Branch Memorial Tug of War Across the Harbor. Stephan and Margaret Branch had hosted teams on their property on the east side from the beginning. Stephan, who died last year, was a supporter and fan of the event. This year, Margaret and their daughter Stephanie Branch began their years of hosting the tug. Stephanie presented the trophy, or in this case, returned the First Place trophy to company owner Chris Bertin and his fierce team.
The other four teams this year were Marden Construction, Crusher Claws (employees from various restaurants), Working Gals, and Waves Restaurant. Each team had 11 members and, except for Working Gals, each had nine men and two women.
Working Gals Captain Catherine said the team was made of “strong, independent local working girls.” The team gave a good fight, but in the end, Clear Stream had them beat in the strength department. After the pull, Catherine said “I’m glad we did it .. but those guys are intense!”
On the east side of the harbor, Darrell Gudroe was king of the slight incline – that is, he helped with logistics and freed the occasional rope snag. Whether the incline on the east side gave advantage to west side teams, no one can be certain because despite the supposed benefit of the lower ground, Clear Stream Construction managed to win twice from the east side. This included the final tug of the afternoon which sent half the team sprawling backwards toward Atlantic Avenue.
Emcee Doug Gimbel kept the crowd and the teams entertained with his brand of shtick and commentary no one else could pull off. He suggested people start getting their teams together for 2020, the year of Maine’s Bicentennial. “Get those teams set up and bulk up over the winter!” advised Gimbel.
The emcee thanked all the team members and business owners for taking time out of their work day to compete in the popular Windjammer Days event.
After the games, everyone went back to work. And Clear Stream left with the first place trophy for another year. How sweet it is.