Photos from the Great Naha Tug-of-War, Sunday, Oct. 8, an annual event staged in Naha, Okinawa.

People grab for the pulling ropes in preparation for the big heave-ho Sunday afternoon at the Great Naha Tug-of-War.

An Okinawan boy carries a flag during the tug-of-war.

Sgt. Judd Smith, of Camp Hansen, pulls on the 43-ton, 660-foot Great Naha Tug-of-War rope Sunday. Participants tugged to the beat of a whistle and yells of “Haeiya,” which means heave-ho. The east side won after about 15 minutes of pulling on the 43-ton, 660-foot rope.

One of the cheerleaders, who stood on top of the rope and coordinated the pulling, gives participants high fives after their side won Sunday.

Tug-of-war cheerleaders, dressed in traditional Okinawan festival costume, prepare the crowd for the contest.

After the tug-of-war contest was over there was a mad frenzy to cut a piece of the rope for a souvenir, which is considered good luck. Participants closed in on the rope with knives and scissors.

Performers at the Naha Great Tug-of-War Sunday played music with a conch shell.

The “king” of Naha’s east side is carried over the tug-of-war rope to present his challenge to the west side and commence the contest. The east side won after about 15 minutes of heaving.

Women in the crowd at the Naha Great Tug-of-War couldn't wait until after the contest to get their lucky piece of rope from the 660-foot tug-of-war rope.

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