LOUISVILLE — The concept was simple enough for a Waterball tournament held Saturday afternoon in Louisville as part of this year’s Northern New York Volunteer Firemen’s Association annual convention.
Winning the game, however, took a team effort and a lot of straight shooting.
Wearing standard turnout gear, including firefighter helmet, pants, and boots or sneakers, teams of four — a nozzle person and three backups — were given 100 feet of high-pressure hose. Once water started pumping through, they and their competitors aimed that spray of water toward a yellow ball that was strung on a wire above their heads. The hose pressure was set at 90 pounds, and their goal was to use the stream of water to push the ball down to their opponent’s end clamp, 45 feet from the center where they started. Games consisted of the best of three rounds.
Among the competing teams was the West Carthage Volunteer Fire Department.
“We’ve won before, we’ve lost before,” said Chief Peter Crump.
Of the four team members, he said the nozzle man was the key.
“He’s in control of everything,” Chief Crump said.
He said it was important to keep the stream of water focused on the ball. He said, once a team had to backtrack because their opponents were advancing, they were hosed, so to speak.
Firematic drills are no longer a part of the convention, but events like Waterball tournaments make worthy replacements. Chief Crump said events like Waterball are good for those volunteers who may not have been comfortable competing in the fast-paced firematic drills.
“A lot of people participate. You can play, no matter what,” he said.
Teams that participated in the Louisville competition were entered in a drawing for $1,000 sponsored by Route 37 Auto Body and Towing. Trophies were also awarded for first, second and third place.
The Waterball tournament was one of a number events scheduled as part of this year’s 123rd annual Northern New York Volunteer Firemen’s Association convention, which was hosted by the Louisville Volunteer Fire Department.
Their schedule included a golf tournament and past presidents dinner on Thursday, and the annual meeting, luncheon, Fireman of the Year announcement, memorial service, and a presentation by Chief Thomas Merrill on Friday.
Saturday’s activities included the annual parade, youth training, chicken barbecue, Waterball tournament and Firefighter Challenge.
The event coincided with the annual Louisville Summer Bash, which meant more activities for the crowd. Those events included an ice cream social, Classic Car Cruz-In and Lions Club annual Duck Race to kick things off on Friday.
Saturday’s schedule included a mud run, free games and rides for kids, inflatables from BD Entertainment, the St. Lawrence County Fire Chiefs Association Kids Safety House, rib cook-off, vendors, live entertainment and fireworks.
The Summer Bash rounds out on Sunday with a 9:15 a.m. church service at the Louisville Community Church in memory and honor of first responders, followed by a community picnic and Northern New York Lawnmowers Association races.
The gist of it
n WHAT: Firefighters from around the region formed teams to compete in a Waterball tournament Saturday in Louisville
n WHY: The event was part of the 123rd annual Northern New York Volunteer Firemen’s Association convention
n WHO: This year’s convention was hosted by the Louisville Volunteer Fire Department