NEBRASKA CITY – Out of the glistening sprays of shattered water, street rainbows and powerful streams from fire hose nozzles came the champions of the AppleJack Water Barrel Fights 2021.

They had called themselves the Uglies when they first became friends in elementary school and kept the name Saturday in their 30-year reunion.


Partsch: “We are childhood friends and we all did the water barrel fights through Hayward Elementary School and Northside Elementary School when we were growing up. Steffen: “We’ve been training for this our whole lives.”

Partsch: “We’ve been friends since we were so small and Kristina lives in Seattle now and said she was coming for the weekend and we said ‘let’s do the water barrel fights, it’ll be a lot of fun’ and they said sure.”

The team of Tammy Partsch, Jenny Kearney, Kristina Steffen and Janna Binder prevailed over the Bethel Church team.

What’s next for the Uglies?
Binder: “I mean, we could dominate the world. Steffen: “World domination.”

The youth champions were the Bethel Barrel Brigade Team A with Cutler Adams, Kizen Adams, Braxton Epp and Landon Ferguson.

They prevailed over a Glenwood, Iowa, team of Ava and Ahna Grassau, Jenna Walters and Erin Pelley.

The water barrel fights are normally a fundraiser for the Museum of Firefighting, but this year the fire department is donating proceeds to benefit wounded Syracuse Fire Chief Eric Fass.