Over the Mother’s Day weekend, team Goodvin decided to just stay put. Let’s chill and stay local and we’ll come up with some plans for the next road trip. And then we look out our kitchen window. We’re still the “new family” on our block and getting acquainted with the happenings that Hills, IA, produces. Just about 20 yards away were the local volunteer firefighters rigging up a familiar jug on tight metal wire. I knew it was time to move our truck that was parked on the road. There was about to be a fight!
Mayweather-Pacquiao title bout on pay-per-view? That sounds like a cute little get together. An extremely high water pressured shoot-out between 15 towns in rural Johnson County? And I don’t have to hitch a ride to Vegas or skip eating for 5 days to pay for the TV coverage? And it’s literally in my own backyard? Well, hell yea! Now you’re talking my language and stirring up the collective curiosity of all involved with The Iowa Gallivant! Bring this bout on!
The fight started promptly at 1:00 in the afternoon and the day produced perfect conditions. Little to no wind, partly cloudy skies to keep the heat down and zero drops of rain to keep spectators away. We invited the visitors on to our grass with their lawn-chairs and coolers. Oak Street was soon filled with the sounds of cheering, laughter, playful taunting, and cans of beer and sodas cracking open. Onlookers from Hills came to watch their friends while fans and families from every town represented at the competition rooted on their firefighters. They came to Hills from all over the state- Riverdale, Shell Rock, Rowley, Elkader, Williamsburg, Hawkeye, Nashua, Tama, Vinton, Malcom, Ely, Redfield, La Porte City, and Solon. A close circuit of friends, colleagues, and friendly competitors. They came from all over the place but interacted with each other like a close family would. They spent the afternoon competing and planning their next rendezvous while kids played at the nearby park and the station pumped out hot dogs and walking tacos to all it’s visitors.
Nile Kinnick, Bob, Feller, Dan Gable, Kurt Warner, Lolo Jones, Zach Johnson…..What are famous athletes from the state of Iowa, Alex. I’ll take 50 ways to bread a pork tenderloin for $1000…..Team Goodvin met a family on this day that is searching for stardom in the sport they love. You may not see them on Sport Center, but they’re working on it. Making it to your future Wheaties box is a fierce husband and wife duo from Nashua, IA!
For a few hours Hills, IA, had a lively crowd from a sub-culture not too many people know about outside of this tight-knit network of firefighters. When we talk of tourism in Iowa, many of us instantly think of events such as the Iowa State Fair, Iowa-Iowa State-UNI football games, RAGBRAI, the Drake Relays, and others that bring in thousands of visitors a day. These Iowa spectacles, and others like them, are very important to our economy and generate publicity for the state we call home. However, the energetic group of Waterballers that invaded Hills are apart of a group that generates a revenue steam engine all itself. Our brave firefighters zig-zag their way through the state all spring and summer long with their friends and families. Many times hitting up multiple Waterball fights in one weekend and even more impressive in one day! They set up shop in our hotels, roll in with RV’s to our campsites, clear off the shelves of our local grocery/convenience stores, and belly up to the local pubs and order food at our restaurants. Hundreds of groups that associate themselves with their proud towns are supporting the growing Iowa tourism industry via our local fire departments week after week. And they’ve been doing it for many, many years. Watching NASCAR driver Landon Cassill take the lead from the grandstands in Newton, IA with a sea of spectators roaring as he passes is quite an awesome experience. Watching a fellowship of citizens that are willing to volunteer to save your family and not ask for a dime in return compete for state bragging rights can leave a person with a sense of pride that can’t be achieved anywhere else. Except in Small Town, Iowa-USA. Team Goodvin’s lawn will be ready next year for the annual tour of Waterball fights. And perhaps an all new patio lounge from our deck? See you next time!
Thanks for reading! -Team Goodvin