...But Scrappy Junior Men Steal the Show
OURAY – The rain started falling just moments before the Ouray Fourth of July water fights began. But the crowds didn’t mind; they had come here expecting to get wet. And, to cheer for their favorite teams in a sport that remains thrilling, and brutal, no matter how many times you’ve seen it happen.
In the Women’s division, Eva Stovicek and Sara Martinez, who enjoyed the uphill advantage, rapidly dispatched Nicole Edder and Jordan Herndon in a skirmish that lasted only about two minutes.
Next up, Ouray siblings Steven Duce and Eva Duce – both water fight veterans – washed husband/wife team Richie and Cricket Weber of Ridgway down Main Street in the Co-Ed conflict.
The Junior Men’s match proved the lengthiest, and by far most exciting, contest of the day. On the heels of his Co-Ed victory, Steven Duce paired with Jaxon Gaita of Ouray to win a hard-fought 12-minute brawl against Ridgway duo Corbyn Robinson and Harley Rider. Although Duce and Gaita were the downhill team, they benefitted from Duce’s years of water fighting experience; this was his fourth straight contest in the Junior division.
Eva Duce, fresh from doing battle with her brother, had a street-level view of the struggle.
“It was one of the best fights in years, if not ever,” she raved. “At the end of the fight, in the last two minutes or so, they were as close together as the rules allow. They were just knocking the crap out of each other. Both teams were so tough and hung in there for so long.”
Finally, a sustained barrage of water knocked Robinson’s helmet loose, and the judges quickly halted the battle for safety reasons, declaring Duce and Gaita the victors. They had bruises to show for it days afterwards.
The highly anticipated Senior Men’s division fight once again pitted Ouray against Ridgway. And once again, Ouray came out victorious. From their uphill position, reigning champs Chris Scott and Jude Martinez shellacked “Little Richie” Weber and Cole Campbell in a fiercely fought five-minute contest.
“Richie and Cole were getting drenched, but they didn’t give up,” eyewitness Eva said. “They took one of the biggest poundings, but they didn’t give up. They were mad when the hose got turned off.”
It was Scott and Martinez’s fourth straight Senior Men’s division victory. Before that, the team had twice won in the Junior Men’s division. Their combined experience was clearly a decisive factor in this year’s victory. Weber had fought only once before, in the Junior Men’s division last year, and Campbell was new to the sport.
Scott, with Martinez and earlier partners, has now racked up 11 consecutive water fight victories.