2012 S.C. Firefighter’s Challenge

‘The toughest 3 minutes in sports today’

CarolinaFireJournal - By Mike Coffey
By Mike Coffey Special to Carolina Fire
10/05/2012 -

On June 8, 2012, in conjunction with the South Carolina Firefighters Exposition in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, the 4th Annual South Carolina Firefighter’s Challenge took place with agencies represented from Columbia to Jasper County as well as the home teams of Horry County and Myrtle Beach. Sixty-five adult competitors and approximately 30 explorer youths demonstrated their skills in front of crowds of family and interested patrons in the parking lot of one of the event sponsors — Broadway at the Beach complex.

The concept came from the mind of Kevin Montgomery representing Union County (SC) Fire and Rescue as an event at the Union County Fairgrounds. According to Montgomery, average times for completing the event range from two and one-half to three minutes. This year’s winning individual time took 1:58.43 to complete the course with the winning team time in 1:19.50.

The adult competition begins with ascending six flights of stairs carrying a high-rise pack, upon arriving at the top of the platform, lay the pack down and begin hoisting a roll of two and one-half inch hose to the top of the tower connected by a rope, descend the stairs and stepping on each individual step, proceed to a Kaiser weight-driving sled and drive the weight to the end of the sled using a rubberized, weighted hammer, zigzagging through a cone course, dragging a charged one and three-quarter inch hose line 75 feet and finishing by dragging a rescue mannequin 100 feet to the finish line. This feat could be demonstrated individually, as a tandem with each competitor taking on half of the course or as a relay group with an individual completing a section of the course.

The explorer competition involved a personal protective equipment event where the individual competitor must don their gear and breathing from a self-contained breathing apparatus in a certain time, then a group timed event dealing with connecting hose to a pumper, a gated wye and deploying dry one and three-quarter inch line to a finish line where the whole crew meets and raises their hands to stop the time.

Matt Paparella, representing the Horry County Fire Explorer group with his last year of eligibility, explained that he became interested in the fire service as a way to go “behind the scenes” (so to speak) to see the firefighters as they spray water at fires and subsequently joined as a junior firefighter. Paparella has participated with the team for two years under the guidance of Chief Kenneth Beans, Captain Billy Strickland and Kathy Nieuwenhuis, the Public Education Liaison Officer for Horry County Fire and Rescue. The Horry County Explorer program is a two-year high school educational program, working in conjunction with the South Carolina Fire Academy to gain state certification in Firefighter I and II. Paparella stated his favorite part of the curriculum is live burns and was addicted after participating in his first burn. He has applications in and looking to turn this into a full-time career.

Explorer winning teams

In the PPE event with a winning time of 68.32 seconds

  • Camden (SC) Fire with team members Tyler Cox, Morgan Davis, Ben Mosely and Dusty Bussart
  • 2nd Place — Marlboro County Explorers
  • 3rd Place — Reidville Explorers
  • The Fastest Female awarded to Morgan Davis from Camden with a time of 65.5 seconds
  • The Fastest Male awarded to Tyler Cox of Camden with a time of 46.78 seconds

In the Hose Deploy event with a winning time of 1:42

  • Seneca (SC) Fire with team members Michael Shedd, Jared Livingstone, Attacus Holbrooks and Stephen McCoy
  • 2nd Place – Sumter (SC) Fire Explorers
  • 3rd Place – Camden Fire Explorers

Firefighter Challenge Winners

  • Individual winner with a time of 1:58.43 - Michael Mabe representing Horry County Fire Team #2
  • 2nd Place -— Mike Medeiros representing Horry County Fire
  • 3rd place — Tad Reuben representing Myrtle Beach Fire
  • Tandem team winner with a time of 1:27.29 — Horry County Fire Team #2
  • 2nd Place – Myrtle Beach Fire
  • 3rd Place – Horry County Fire Team #1
  • Relay team winner with a time of 1:19.50 – Horry County Fire
  • 2nd Place – Myrtle Beach Fire
  • 3rd Place – Jasper County (SC) Fire Team #1
  • The All-Female Team from Colombia Fire recognized for their appearance, along with the Female Best and Over 40 Best

Overall Team Placement

  • 1st Place – Horry County Fire with team members Michael Mabe, Aaron Windsor, Ken Norton, Shaun Simpson, David Powell and Mike Medeiros
  • 2nd Place – Myrtle Beach Fire
  • 3rd Place – Jasper County Fire

Congratulations to all the event participants and hope to relive the competition next year.

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