The West Coast’s volunteer firefighters put on a spectacular show on Sunday afternoon at the Pacific Rim Whale Festival’s annual Spout Ball Challenge.
The popular annual event matches the Ucluelet Volunteer Fire Brigade up against the Tofino Volunteer Fire Department with teams of two battling on a basketball court using their firehoses to push a strung buoy towards the opposing team’s backboard.
Ucluelet won this year’s best-of-seven showdown 4-2, earning the competition’s crown for the second straight year.
“This is an awesome event,” Ucluelet Fire Chief Ted Eeftink told the Westerly News after the win. “We’re pretty excited about keeping this beautiful trophy that we have down here. It keeps the morale up with the guys and it’s really great to have the two communities working together…It brings the community out and these volunteers are really committed to having a great event during Whale Fest.”
Ucluelet local Faye Missar was delighted to watch the event alongside her son Jude.
“We wanted to see some firemen on firemen action, some big hoses spraying water everywhere and support my husband and Jude’s daddy [Jonathan Clayton] a volunteer firefighter on the Ucluelet Fire Brigade,” she said. “We had a great time.”
Travis Allen, a former Ucluelet local who now lives in Courtenay, was happy to be back to the West Coast for Whale Fest. and to take in the competition.
“I had an awesome time at the Spout Ball,” he said. “It’s a great, fun, local event that you don’t get to see anywhere else.”
The Spout Ball event was immediately followed by the Pacific Rim Whale Festival’s Chowder Chow Down competition.