Sigma Kappa, Phi Delta Theta win Tug

Lindsay Sainlar

Sigma Kappa sorority members were covered in mud and sweat as they huddled around their Tug team. Forgotten signs laid on the ground as they cried and rejoiced for their long awaited victory dance.

It was the annual Tug grudge match, marking the end of the Greek Week feud around campus. Various sororities and fraternities came out Friday afternoon to the Agriculture Research and Education Complex dressed in their fatigues and boots.

With bleachers constructed in dirt mounds and onlookers sitting atop tractor beds, hundreds of people watched selected members from their fraternities or sororities try and pull a victory for their organization.

“It’s the biggest event of Greek Week,” Paducah sophomore Nic Truman said. “People practice for months.”

Shelbyville senior Margaret Mathis said she wouldn’t leave the field without a first place victory for Sigma Kappa.

She got what she came for.

Sigma Kappa placed first in the girls division against Kappa Delta sorority, with Phi Mu sorority and Alpha Delta Pi sorority taking third and fourth place.

“We worked so hard, no team deserved it more than we did,” Brandenburg freshman Bridgette Brown, a Sigma Kappa member, said.

She said Sigma Kappa wanted to win for their seniors who had yet to win Tug in their years at Western.

It wasn’t just the women who came out for the competition. Phi Delta Theta fraternity defeated Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity for the championship title in a three-minute back-and-forth battle. They upset both the reigning champion Farmhouse fraternity and previous champion Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity.

Each Tug team had five minutes to dig foot holes in the mud and three minutes once the clock started to pull the rope on their side to win. After three minutes, if no one had won, the team who pulled the most rope walked away the victor.

Three minutes of intense pulling and muscle strain can be wearing on some.

“It hurts to lift a coke can,” said Sigma Nu member Taylor LaGrange, a sophomore from Brentwood, Tenn.

His teammate, Josh Richter, a freshman from Evansville, Ind., felt the same way.

“I’m worn out, I can’t feel my arms,” he said.

The competition was different for the men and women. According to Charley Pride, student activities and organizations coordinator, to accommodate physical strength and stature, the women’s rope was 100 feet long and two inches wide in diameter, while the men’s rope was 150 feet long and two and a half inches in diameter. The men also had to pull six feet, while the women had to pull three feet to secure a victory.

Pride said some fraternities and sororities got their teams together the week before, while some started practicing in January.

According to Pride, survival of the fittest isn’t always the case when it comes to Tug. He said the teams that work together have an advantage over those who don’t.

“You have to have offense and defense,” said Caitlin Gillespie, a sophomore from Terre Haute, Ind.

She said during practice some sororities and fraternities pull against trucks or each other. However, where and when these practices occur and most strategies they formulate are top secret, Gillespie said.

It was the Farmhouse strategy that erupted the most cheers from the crowd. Lying almost parallel to the ground, Farmhouse tuggers released an intermittent pattern of leg thrusts and grunting, with sweat pouring from their faces as they tried to pull the knot past the six-foot marker against AGR in the pull for third place.

Phi Mu used a different strategy. According to Harrodsburg junior Ami Coffey, when Phi Mu started practicing a couple of months ago, they were asked not to wear lotion to ensure they would form calluses on their hands to gain a better grip on the rope.

For some Tug is more than an excuse to have fun.

Louisville sophomore Kelly Watson said Tug is serious.

“This is what I think people in sororities wait for,” Watson said. “They love it, it’s something they work so hard for … it’s a pride thing.”

Reach Lindsay Sainlar at [email protected]