Team coach Paul Manaugh, above, shouts directions while Chad McAlister and his crew from Western Fire Company No. 3 blast the waterball in second-round competition during the Regatta Fesitval Waterball Fight on Tuesday night. Madison Fair Play Company No. 1 defeated the Clifty Company No. 6 for the title. (Staff photos by Ken Ritchie/kritchie@madisoncourier.com)
Team coach Paul Manaugh, above, shouts directions while Chad McAlister and his crew from Western Fire Company No. 3 blast the waterball in second-round competition during the Regatta Fesitval Waterball Fight on Tuesday night. Madison Fair Play Company No. 1 defeated the Clifty Company No. 6 for the title. (Staff photos by Ken Ritchie/kritchie@madisoncourier.com)
Fair Play Fire Company No. 1 won its third consecutive Regatta Festival waterball competition Tuesday, defeating Clifty Volunteer Fire Company No. 6.

The final two heats were spirited matches between the two departments. Fair Play came in as the favorite with the best overall times in previous rounds of the competition.

Six fire departments from Madison and Milton, Ky., participated in the annual competition in front of the Jefferson County Courthouse.

Light rain at the beginning of the competition didn't scare off crowds from cheering on their favorite volunteer teem. The crowd did begin to thin out as dark rain clouds began to roll in around 7:30 p.m. 

First Play won the final round of the competition with a time of 2:46 over Clifty's 1:27 mark. The Deputy Volunteer Fire Department took third place.

During the heats, teams are awarded seconds for the amount of time they can force the ball into the opponent's territory. The team which accumulates the most time after two three-minute rounds moves on.

The five-person teams included a lead nozzle person, back-up nozzle person, two people to control the hoses and one coach.

Fair Play's Burke Jones was the man up front controlling the nozzle and spinning the ball. He used a steady rhythm to bring Fair Play back to the winner's circle. Once Fair Play had the ball in Clifty's territory during the final bouts, Jones used a rotating technique to block the other team from returning the waterball.

Tony Wilson of First Play said the key to winning is to get the ball spinning.

"Our strategy was to put our vets up front and to get to spinning the ball," Wilson said. 

"Hit it hard, hit it fast and get it spinning."