Hydes defeats Defiance in water battle upset

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In the annual contest between Bristol’s four volunteer fire companies, members of the Defiance, Dreadnaught, Ever-Ready and Hydraulion Fire Companies met for battle on the field in front of Guiteras School on Sunday, June 29, with Hydes dethroning frequent champion Defiance.

While the Bristol Firemen’s Field Day is broken down into two categories, the dry events and the wet events, it is the water battle that brings out the competitive spirit of each team.

This year, despite the “milk and cookies” that company members remarked have fueled Defiance’s past success and billed them as the favorite, it was teamwork that brought Hydraulion to win this year’s battle by a knock-down.

“We just came together as a team,” said Nate Gallison after accepting the trophies for the team. “We’re the first one to knock the Defiance down.”

The water battle pits two teams of four men against one another. Each attempts to weaken the other team by directing 50 pounds per square inch of water pressure at each. Wins come by way of the most time on target, the ability to cause a team to lose control of their hose, or by knocking a team to the ground from the force of the water.

While each company got to demonstrate their teamwork and ability to perform some of the skills used when an actual call comes in, the real motivation was bragging rights — and the opportunity to heckle their fellow firefighters when things went awry.

When the water battle was underway, Hydes knocked Defiance to the ground in round one.

“It feels great to get the trophy back to the Hydes,” Mr. Gallison said, holding the coveted traveling trophy.

“It’s back,” fellow firefighter, Justin Aubin, said with pride.

While team Hydes reveled in its win, the team from the Dreadnaught Hook, Ladder and Hose Company collected two trophies for finishing first overall.

A.J. Medeiros, a lieutenant with the Dreads said that teamwork has brought the company repeated success in the Field Day events.

“We don’t practice for the event,” he said. “We work as a team.”

Fire Chief Robert Martin sees the annual event as a way for the volunteer firefighters and their families to enjoy their passion for their work in a fun activity.

“It’s about fun and camaraderie,” Chief Martin said. “It gives bragging rights for the year. But when the call comes for a fire, we’re all one.”

Town Administrator Tony Teixeira also enjoyed the display of professionalism demonstrated by the town's volunteer firefighters.

“It would not be the Fourth without these events,” Mr. Teixeira said.

In years past, the women also took part in the Field Day contests, and that is something Mr. Teixeira would like to see return.

“I’m trying to encourage the women’s events to come back,” he said.

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.