July 26, 2005 > Firefighter Combat Challenge
Firefighter Combat Challenge
Annual Festival of the Arts in Fremont
by Susana Nuņez
Break out the suntan lotion and gather the family- it's time for the ultimate challenge! They may not be the official American Gladiators, but by the looks of their obstacle course, they could qualify. August 6 and 7 mark the second Firefighter Combat Challenge (FFCC) at the 22nd Annual Festival of the Arts in Fremont. The FFCC is a regional event in which firefighters from all over the country gather to vie for top honors. Competitors will face a series of five physically demanding tasks that reflect their job's duties. And not only must they compete in full turnout gear and oxygen tanks, but competitors are required to finish in less than two minutes!
The competition kicks off with a mad dash up a five-story tower, where participants must pull a hose up from ground level. They then run back down to the first floor and drive an anvil weight with a sledgehammer. Next, they go through a doorway and shoot water at a target before finally picking up a 175 pound dummy, dragging it across the finish line. Successful competitors at the FFCC will go on to compete in the national challenge with the possibility of entering worldwide competition. "The event is a great way to gain appreciation for what the firefighters do; and it's amazing to watch them," states Fremont Chamber of Commerce President and Chief Executive Director, Cindy Bonior, "It gave me, as an individual, a much greater appreciation. It's also an excellent demonstration for children, as it gives them a chance to not only see the challenge, but to talk to the firefighters and learn what their job's about." Fremont Firefighters and the Chamber of Commerce worked together to bring this fun-filled event to Fremont's Festival of the Arts, where it will be one of the main attractions among the many events at the festival.
In addition to supporting the event, the Chamber of Commerce is also publishing a calendar to honor Tri-City firefighters and to commemorate the FFCC. Unlike what many expect, the calendar will not put what some might call the firefighters' "best physical assets" on display; instead it will be a family-friendly calendar. The calendar illustrates firefighters alongside their trucks and companies and interacting with community kids. It also includes pictures from a barbeque hosted for kids at a local park, where firefighters showed up and taught them about fire safety. The calendar runs from October of 2005 to December of 2006.
The FFCC will offer attendees of the festival a first chance to purchase a calendar, which will be sold for $18. Proceeds will go partly toward funding future firefighter challenges and donated to the firefighters' regularly supported charity, the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation. Bonior expects that over $5000 will go to the foundation. "The calendar also has a listing of all the community events that we could find out about. The information alone, which includes events from Fremont, Newark and Union City, makes it a very comprehensive calendar and worth the purchase," she states.
Community supporters are encouraged to visit www.fremontfestival.net or www.fremontbusiness.com to buy calendars. Make sure to mark your soon-to-be-replaced calendars for the FFCC, as it will not only be a fun attraction, but will also offer the chance to be among the first to help support our firefighters.