Twenty-two tug of war teams turned out at the Verizon Center Grand Hall on Wednesday afternoon to help kick-off the 2019 United Way campaign.

With a large turnout from Mankato and North Mankato groups last year, organizers went to a bracket format for the event this year, which is aimed at helping the United Way reach its goal of raising 2-million 50-thousand dollars.

CEO Barb Kaus says the funds will help support 53 programs in Blue Earth, Le Suer, Nicollet and Waseca County.

“It’s very fulfilling, the heart is overflowing with gratitude for all of the giving hearts we have within our region. They keep giving no matter what the cause is, they keep helping people of need.”

2019 Campaign Chair Shane Van Engen says he feels the community will step-up and help the United Way meet its goal.

“We’re just a philanthropic community, I’ve talked to a number of business owners already and they’re all in. And our pacesetters, we have over 100 pacesetters already, so we’re already ahead of last year by 20, 30-percent already and we’re only one week in. So the actual campaign kicked-off on August 1 and today is August 8. So, I feel good where we’re at and I really do think the community will rally around.”

This years Tug of War champion was the MSU Rugby team. Second place went to the North Mankato City Managers.

The Mankato Police Department takes on the North Mankato Police Department.

North Mankato City Officials and Mankato City Officials battle it out. Mankato won the tug of war.

2nd Place- North Mankato City Managers

1st Place- MSU Rugby team