That Hose Race.
In another column we print a communication from John J. Shea, Foreman of Barnes Hose Company, of Burlington, Vt., in answer to the challenge of Bates Hose, of Denver, Col., to run another race for $10,000. The Barnes Company decline the challenge, for several good and substantial reasons—first, they haven’t $10,000 second, they don’t feel like traveling 4,000 miles to gratify their challengers ; third, they regard the conditions imposed in the challenge as unfair; fourth, they do not think the challenge was put forth in good faith. They offer, however, to run the Bates Company a friendly contest, in accordance with the Tournament rules, in the public streets of Burlington, any time the Bates Company chooses to come on. Mr. Shea intimates that the challenge sounds more like the challenge of professional runners than of a practical, working Hose Company.
It seems to us that disinterested persons must concede that the Barnes Company has the best of the controversy. At the National Tournament, they were the winners of the first prize—$500 in gold, the champion belt, and a handsome Hose Carriage, presented by the Silsby Manufacturing Company. The Bates Company, it is true, ran the distance in less time, but the judges decided that their pipe was not properly attached to the hose, and they were, consequently, ruled out. They, therefore, claim that they were defeated by a technicality, and, since their return home, their local papers have indulged in much abuse of the judges. Other Companies were ruled out on precisely the same ground, so it is evident that the rule regarding the pipe connection was enforced impartially. That rule was understood by all, for it had been discussed the previous evening, by all interested, at the meeting of the Illinois Association. It was then decided that a 1-8 inch washer might be used, and that the pipe must be “set up” as tightly as it could be turned by hand. The judges decided that the Bates’ pipe was not so “set up.”
Under this decision—which was generally accepted as fair and just—the Barnes Company was awarded the first prize. They are the victors in that race, having complied with all its conditions. It does not seem nceessary for them to chase about the country in response to every challenge that may be sent them, in order to maintain their title as “champions.” If they have secured laurels which are envied by others, it would seem to be in order for the dissatisfied ones to “ beard the lion in his den,” and valiantly wrest his honors from him upon his own threshold. Nor does it seem to be in good taste for the vanquished, in seeking a fresh trial, to impose conditions that were not presented in the first contest. It seem to us that, if the Bates Hose Company wish another trial of speed with the Barnes Company, they should go to the mountain, and not ^ask the mountain to come to them. The Bates Company unquestionably made the quickest time at the Tournament, and, no doubt, can make just as good time again. But the fact remains that they did not win the race, and are not, therefore, in a position to impose impossible conditions upon the Company that did win. We should be glad to see these Companies brought together for a friendly contest, but are clearly of the opinion that any such contest should be conducted in accordance with the same rules that governed the first race.