CLINTON — With an afternoon filled with a variety of entertainment options, it wasn’t easy for Fourth of July Festival-goers to choose a favorite but one area that ranked among the top of the list was the annual water fight along Riverview Drive.
Clinton fireman Josh Winter said he wasn’t sure how long the water fight tradition has been around but said many departments around the Clinton area honor the summer time activity.
”This has been around forever,” Winter said. “They’ve been doing it here at the festival for about three years but water fights in general have always been something fire departments do every summer.”
In order to generate interest in Friday’s water fight, the Clinton Fire Department sent invitations to all the surrounding fire departments including Maquoketa, Miles, Camanche, Riverdale, Illinois and LeClaire, who all entered one or more three-man teams in the tournament.
With a nozzleman at the front of the line, two three-person teams would power up their firehoses, blasting an empty, aluminum keg dangling from a wire suspended above the street, hoping to overpower the other team and reach the finish line. The first to do so, or whomever had the upper hand after two minutes, would win the round and move on to the next challenger.
One man who is no stranger to a water fight, or a water fight victory, is retired Camanche firefighter Verne Deters. For more than 20 years, Deters participated in area water fights, putting up some impressive numbers with his go-to team before hanging up the nozzle a little more than seven years ago. But on Friday he shocked the competitors when he suited up and took on the challenge.
”I used to do this all the time when I was younger but I haven’t touched a hose in about seven or eight years,” he said. “I retired from the Camanche Fire Department about seven years ago but I still go down there and hang out with the guys and through some persuasion they convinced me to do it.”