Chicagoland Residents, Law Enforcement Officials Participate in Plane Pull at O’Hare


Participants Test ‘Tug-of-War’ Skills by Pulling 180,000-Pound Plane

CHICAGO, Ill. – Teams of local law enforcement agencies and the general public will participate in a larger than life tug-of-war challenge at 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 27. They will face off with a UPS Airbus A300 aircraft weighing more than 180,000 pounds at O’Hare International Airport, for the benefit of Special Olympics Illinois. The Law Enforcement Torch Run Plane Pull includes teams from law enforcement agencies, fire departments, private companies, high schools, colleges, fraternal groups and teams of friends and family. The opening ceremony is at 8:30 a.m.  A Plane Pull Team Schedule is available online for information on when teams are scheduled to compete.

“It’s great to see people supporting Special Olympics programs in Illinois and we’re excited to see them test their strength against a 90-ton airplane,” said Matt Johnson, Special Olympics Illinois Director of Special Events-Torch Run. “In addition to those participating in the Plane Pull, we encourage family and friends to join in the spirit by supporting their loved ones and Special Olympics programs by making a donation to Special Olympics Illinois by visiting”

Registration is now open online at

Check-in begins at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 27, at the Lynxs Cargo Area at O’Hare International Airport and team captains can turn in their donations and pick up their T-shirts and other materials.

Teams will be divided into three different divisions – Open Division is ideal for companies, school teams, church groups, clubs, friends and families, Public Safety Division is for law enforcement officers, firefighters, EMTs, DNR, DOC and military personnel and the brand new Hotel Division created by popular demand. Each team of 20 will attempt to pull the plane a distance of 12 feet, with the top finisher from each division facing off for one final pull to determine the Grand Champion team. To participate, each team is asked to raise a minimum of $1,000 ($50 per person) for Special Olympics Illinois. Teams raising more will be eligible for incentive prizes at the $2,500, $4,000 and $6,000 levels.

“On behalf of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Department of Aviation, I want to thank the Law Enforcement Torch Run committee and Special Olympics Illinois for holding this spectacular event at O’Hare International Airport for the fifth consecutive year,” said Chicago Department of Aviation Commissioner Rosemarie S. Andolino. “We are very proud to continue to support Special Olympics Illinois in its mission to provide year-round sports training and competition to children and adults with intellectual disabilities.”

UPS is Presenting Sponsor of the 2014 Law Enforcement Torch Run Plane Pull. Other sponsors are Chicago Department of Aviation, City of Chicago, HMS Host, Durham School Services, TD Ameritrade, Amplivox and Vacationland.  Because Special Olympics athletes compete free of charge, all money raised by the Plane Pull will directly assist in their training and competition. 

The Law Enforcement Torch Run is the single largest year-round fundraising vehicle benefiting Special Olympics Illinois. The annual intrastate relay and its various fundraising projects have two goals: to raise money and to gain awareness for the athletes who participate in Special Olympics Illinois. The Law Enforcement Torch Run has raised nearly $31 million over 28 years while increasing awareness of Special Olympics Illinois athletes and their accomplishments.


Special Olympics Illinois is a not-for-profit organization offering year-round training and competition in 19 sports for nearly 21,500 athletes with intellectual disabilities and more than 18,500 Young Athletes ages 2-7 with and without intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics changes lives by empowering people with intellectual disabilities to realize their full potential in sports and in life. Special Olympics programs enhance physical fitness, motor skills, self-confidence, social skills and encourage family and community support.  If you are interested in learning more about Special Olympics Illinois, volunteering or providing financial support to help make Special Olympics programs possible, contact your local Special Olympics agency, call 800-394-0562 or visit our website at


Alexandra McMillin, Special Olympics Illinois, 630-942-5621
Michele Evans, Special Olympics Illinois, 309-660-8497
Gregg Cunningham, Chicago Department of Aviation, 773-686-3700
All media must RSVP in advance by contacting Gregg Cunningham