Carnival Games

Tug of war

Manila tug of war rope is the only type allowed by the Tug of War International Federation (TWIF), which organizes and establishes the rules for world championship games.


The TWIF rules for international competition say tug of war rope should be from 10 to 12.5 centimeters in circumference (about 1 1/2" diameter), at least 33.5 meters (about 110 feet) long (there are eight pullers on each team), and have plain whipped ends. Loops, knots, or other holdings are not allowed – and wrapping the rope around the hands or any other part of the body is considered creating a “loop” (there’s an exception for the anchor, or end puller, but even then the wrap is not tied, spliced, or otherwise locked - so it can be released quickly).


Never make a loop by wrapping the rope around the hand to get a better grip

Especially, but not exclusively, when using a tug of war rope with a smooth or slippery surface, there is a temptation to wrap it around ones hand to get a better grip. In addition to being against the rules, which state the rope should be held using a natural grip, with both palms facing upward and the fingers wrapped around the rope, looping the rope around ones hand is extremely dangerous. Imagine being dragged along the ground because you can't release the rope. Even worse -

On October 12, 2007 two high school students had their hands partially amputated during a tug of war game because they had the rope wrapped around their hands. For more information, click here.

Never use any type of rope other than natural manila

While all synthetics fall short of Manila for tug of war rope, nylon is probably the worst choice: A stretched nylon rope can recoil like a rubber band if released causing serious injury or worse.

Natural manila fiber absorbs sweat, so the surface doesn’t get slippery when it’s in use. Unmanila (tan polypropylene, the least absorbent fiber) doesn’t, so it can become slippery, even though it has a ‘twisted rope’ surface and looks similar to the real thing.

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