Five Arlington firefighters competed against more than 100 others Friday afternoon to bolt up flights of stairs, drag fire hoses, slam with sledgehammers and drag 175-pound dummies all for the sake of camaraderie.
Firefighters from all over the U.S. and Canada competed in a Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge before the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic. The Arlington Fire Department and AT&T Stadium hosted the event where “Olympic-class athletes” raced to show how quick they are, said Fire Chief Don Crowson.
Arlington firefighters ages 27 to 37 competed, including, Zach Robinson of Station 7, Zach Simons of Station 8, Adam Evans of Station 14, and Matt Wazac and Jonathan Pavnica of Station 6.
Evans, 37, competed in a one-on-one race with Fire Chief Jimmy Rogers of Altus, Okla., and lost by one second.
“I’ve been doing this for 15 years. I am definitely not one of the best, but I’ve made some lifelong friends,” Evans said. “I do it for the camaraderie and the brotherhood.”
Evans wore full bunker gear as he grabbed a 42-pound fire hose pack, threw it over his shoulder and ran to the fifth floor of a tower. He then threw the hose pack into a basket and leaned over a railing to pull a 42-pound weight up the five flights and into a basket, he said.
Evans then ran back down and used a sledgehammer to move a 160-pound steel beam 5 feet, ran through a course of cones, dragged a fire hose 75 feet and shot a target with water. The last challenge was to grab and drag 175-pound “Rescue Randy” 106 feet to the finish line.
“It’s five tasks that we would actually do, but I would say this would be your absolute worse-case scenario on a fire to do these five things back to back,” Evans said. “They call it the ‘toughest two minutes in sports.’ ”
Firefighter Brad Potter, 39, of Alberta competed with his team to finish the five-task challenge in a minute and 27 seconds. Potter said his team competed in the finals last year.
The finals will be held in Las Vegas in December and broadcast on ESPN. The challenge is sponsored by Scott Safety, which manufactures respiratory protection products, monitoring and sensor equipment and other products, according to its website.
William Gates of the Air Force Academy won the individual challenge with a time of one minute, 35 seconds. Horry County Fire Rescue out of South Carolina won the group challenge at one minute, 18 seconds.