Firefighters from the Murfreesboro Fire and Rescue Department celebrate Aug. 11, 2013, after placing fifth in the Scott Combat Challenge regional competition in Lexington, Ky. This was the first time the crew competed. (Photo submitted)
Crews from the Murfreesboro Fire and Rescue Department placed fifth overall Sunday during their first time ever competing in the Scott Combat Challenge regional competition in Lexington, Ky.
Twenty teams from all over the eastern region, including Michigan, Canada, and Oklahoma, faced off in tasks such as climbing a five-story tower, hoisting, chopping, dragging hoses, and rescuing a life-sized, 175-pound opponent against the clock.
Under the direction of Capt. Bob Decker, who served as coach of the Fire Department team, Capt. Brian Lowe and firefighters Ray Robinson, Matthew Young, Josh Parsons, Chad Davis, and Kevin Leonard, who served as an alternate, participated in the male team relay.
"Young started it off by ascending the tower and completing the hose pull," Lowe said. "Parsons descended the steps (hitting every step) and then handed the baton to me. I hammered the Keiser sled the required distance and then handed the baton back to Parsons.
"Parsons made his way through the serpentine to pass the baton to Robinson, who had the job of advancing a hose line and spraying water. Once Robinson pulled the hose line and hit his target, he passed the baton to Davis for the final leg, 100 feet of dragging 'Rescue Randy.'"
The Fire Department team ran its seeding round against a fire brigade team from Michigan.
It did not take long for the Palisades Fire Brigade team to defeat the Murfreesboro crew. After a 2 second penalty, the Fire Department earned a time of 1 minute 42 seconds and a 15th seed.
In the first round, the Murfreesboro firefighters were matched against the hometown favorite, Lexington Fire, but were able to complete a mistake-free run for the first single elimination run. They managed to pull out a victory with a time of 1:29 and moved on to the next round.
In the "Sweet Sixteen," the team was matched against a tough team from Evansville, Ind., which had already taken home several individual awards.
"Evansville secured a first round by posting a time of 1:17 in the seeding run, which earned them a two seed," Lowe said. "We eliminated them with a run of 1:27 and moved on to the Elite 8."
Hailing from Montgomery County, Ky., Team Tony Clayton put a stop to the Murfreesboro team's "out of the gate" dream season by crossing the finish line just a half a second ahead.
Though they fell short of victory, Decker said they were not disheartened.
"We did exactly what we came here to do," he said. "We knew from the get-go that this was our first time to compete. We weren't naive, thinking we would win our first time. We wanted to learn and at least be competitive."
Decker went on to say, "We did just that ... we learned a lot and were very competitive."
Even the announcers were stunned at how much the Murfreesboro team held its own, he added.
Murfreesboro Fire Chief Cumbey Gaines said he was "very proud" of the firefighters.
"To place as high as they did at that level of competition considering this was their first time, proves that this department can compete among the best in national events," he said, "and that you are only limited by your desire and determination."