Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Wrapping up the Year: A Potpourri of Interesting Stuff

A couple of whimsical, quirky things to share:

For those of you who are into food science- and more specifically, counting calories:

The thermometer plummeted overnight. So, getting ready to ride is not unlike preparing for skiing. I went “heavy” on the foot protection this winter. Check out the neoprene socks:

And, if you’re interested in what residents of your state have to say in one sarcastic sentence:

In one of our most under-viewed, (34+K views) under-appreciated, but truly classic YouTube posting, watch again (or for the first time) the Proposal:

Happy New Year!


Sunday, December 21, 2014

World Records: Past, Present and Future

The soon-to-be delivered World Record Holder Patch
Since our inception in 1991, we’ve attempted to provide recognition to those athletes who have distinguished themselves through hard training and performance on the course.

Like many sports, we’ve created pigeon holes for age and sex, as well as the addition of a category for chief officers.

Regrettably, we’ve not maintained an archive since our inception of all the records and subordinate categories. Perhaps with your help, we can reach out to those record holders and retrospectively provide them with a token of our respect and appreciation. The patch that you see illustrated in this BlogSpot has been ordered and will be sent to all our Challenge athletes of record. If you were entitled to be so recognized, just contact our office and we’ll ensure that you likewise will be sent a package: a patch and a certificate suitable for framing.

Below are the listings of the World Records that were established at WCXXIII. We’ll be updating the record page on the website with the data in preparation for the 2015 Season launch.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

This Week at Combat Central

In April of this year we passed our 400th FCC Event
at the FDIC in Indianapolis, IN
Our after action activities continue unabated, with the following tasks yet to be completed before focusing on what's a head for 2015.
 • The enormous archive of video from Phoenix- to be edited, logged and uploaded on Vimeo
 • State and Provincial Champions identified and certificates generated
 • The trove of over 100,000 photos to be reviewed and posted to our Flickr account
 • Finalist Flags sorted for distribution
 • Certificates of Participation for all of 2104 Competitors
 • World Record Holder Certificates and Patches prepared for shipping

And, a new program that we will kick off after these tasks are complete: Letters of Recognition to be sent to a fire chief, mayor, city manager or any designee of your choosing. Details of this program will be forthcoming in a future Blog.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

It's Official: World Challenge XXIV- October 2015

You, my loyal BlogSpot readers are the very first to know: We're going to Montgomery Alabama the week of October 19, wrapping up on Saturday, the 25.

You heard it here first, from the only person authorized to speak on behalf the Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge® on the one and official website of the Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge®.

There will be tons of details to follow.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Lion’s Den Class of 2104

Class of 2014 Lion’s Den Inductees, Phoenix (Hard Rock Café) World Challenge XXIII
Welcome, welcome all. Typically, well over half of our inductees make the cut at the World Challenge. Here’s the list of those who made it this year: 2014 (through the US Nationals). Those who met the criteria during WCXXII will be inducted next year.


Justin Anderson
Zbigniew Banasiak
Jason Barker
Adrian Bent
Richard Burke
Jay Carter
Lance Conroy
Mike Cook
Jeremy Devitt
Carl Dickerson
Jean-Francois Doucet
Danny Folino
Mandy Gould
Darrick Graff
Anze Habjan
David Hashem
Tyler Hodges
Neil Hubley
Richard Hynes
Edward Jackman
Sean Jackman
Andrew Kencis
Ed Keuning
Radoslaw Komorek
Ruth Lancashire
Bruce Lewis
Tim Lisecky
Olov Ludwig
Wayne Maw
Richard Menard
Travis Nichols
Muriel Omnes
Brad Potter
Tom Rohrbach
Sean Romanek
Jamie Shingleton
David Spratt
Gregor Stanonik
Eric Studerus
Ben Suranko
Todd Vannatter
Andrew Verhoeven
Meghan White
Danny Young

Saturday, November 22, 2014

High Rise Hijinks

Photos courtesy of Jeff Leonard ©2014
 For the past couple of years we’ve been using the same highrise pack- and it shows. We’ve had some constructive criticism from our sponsors about the beatup condition- and we agreed.

The problem is that our current sponsor does not make a hose in the old diameter.

Jeff Leonard to the Rescue
Jeff sent me these photos of his practice pack and clearly, this is the solution.

And, for everyone to plainly see, he’s even included the dimensions.

The bundle is secured with a True North velcro’d cover- which we sell in our store.

5” hose is 8” when not charged
The great benefit is that it’s rubber coated, something that I’ve been wanting to do since we had the tropical storm back in 1999 in Kissimmee. About 4 pounds of water was absorbed by the fabric covered hose, evoking, as you can imagine, a lot of complaints.

When the next season kicks off, hopefully, we’ll have created a more flexible, durable and water-proofed version of the high-rise pack.

Our apologies to everyone who took offense to the suggested audible at the line of scrimmage for introducing a brand new set of high rise packs.

While Jeff’s high-rise pack looks like it’s been through a few workers, (and maybe it has), we’ll use Spray-Nine and a stiff brush to attempt to keep the props looking good for all the photo ops. We’d like the pack to last for years.

The bundle is just 2” shy of 4 feet.

The stacked height is between 5 and 6 inches
Fire hose is very expensive. However, if there is a demand for pre-fabricated hose packs, we’ll see what we can do by creating an inventory item for sale either from our website or the Combat Wear Zone.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

More on Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge Media

The Montgomery Fire Rescue Relay Team with World Record Plaque: Photo by Darrin Banfield
In the first step of the daunting task of processing the considerable archive of still and video content, we’ve posted the last race of Season 2014: Whiteman AFB vs. Montgomery (AL).

The intent is to organize all of the data in such a way that Competitors can quickly find their runs. This content will be posted to Vimeo. The stills will be added to our Flickr account that is accessible through our www.FFCC.TV account.

Here’s the link to the race.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Telecasting the Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge

Photo from WCXXIII by Darrin Banfield
In our first year, 1991, we were the subject of a CBS local (D.C.) news broadcast. Our event at the University of Maryland’s Fire Rescue Institute, captured on VHS would be leveraged to recruit DuPont.

The next year that we went national, we did a great short  (30 minute) feature for the former FETN-TV, a satellite distributed training station now defunct.

In 1993 and for almost 10 years we were on ESPN and ESPN2. When poker took over, we got bumped since “why give away the time when you can sell it” was the mantra of Disney, the parent company.

A few years later we did a three part stunt on what is now NBC Sports (formerly Versus, formerly Outdoor Network.

Last year we were on CBS Sports for a two-parter. Oh yeah, and we had a special on A&E, hosted by Terry Bradshaw that’s still the best overview of the Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge.

In between, we’ve tried a variety of video packaging. Rex and I worked very diligently on a five-minute summary of each event and we tried the live feed with cell phone transmission. The post-production stuff was very labor intense, taking almost the entire week to get uploaded. The cell phone transmission (sort of live) looked like the orgininal broadcast of the astronauts walking on the moon, or claymation.

On Fremont Street we captured everyone’s run on Flip 720i video and uploaded the clips to YouTube where you’ll still find them on our FFCCTV Channel. The stationary camera provided reasonable audio but terrible video.

In our relentless search for some kind of balance, we went to local packagers in Myrtle Beach; an outfit known as Reel Events. These guys were pros; unfortunately though, we’re dependent upon the local cable provider and all the technology in the world can be held hostage to the pipeline.

Last year, because we were going to be broadcasting on CBS Sports, we were told that we could not air the broadcast for free. We had a pretty good pipeline but not much of an audience.

This year’s effort was the most complicated of all. After having our permit for 2nd Street turned down, we had to move over a block and lost our connetion to the Hard Rock Cafe. We ended up, as you read earlier, hooked up to Kincaid’s Restaurant’s router. Then we moved out to the PIR.

I’ve received a lot of comments; praise and complaints. People would send angry messages that the signal went down all the while, others were at the same time, watching on their iPhones. It’s a mystery that we’re working on.

We’re trying to get smarter about how to best distribute content and live within a budget. Everything about TV is expensive. And, I’m not talking about the handy-cams that you can get for a song, but the multi-casters that allow uplinks from four or more cameras.

Right now, we’re looking at a better format than YouTube for posting all of the footage that we shot. You’ll note that in some cases they have muted the soundtrack due to “copyright” issues with some of the playlist. We have a license from ASCAP to play these songs. Unfortunately, there is no toll-free, 800 number to reach YouTube to let them know.

One of our viewers had suggested that we selected a provider other than the low bid. We’ve already addressed the issue of charging for content and there weren’t very many subscribers. So, keep in mind, what we’re providing is free to the viewers. Not free to produce by any means.

Until we get our own earth station, we’ll probably have to constrain oursleves to doing the World Challenge. It’s our intention to start working on this right now. The most important component in bringing you HD quality is a big pipeline. Twenty MBS would be great. We’re looking. Stay tuned!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Day Two: World Challenge XXIII: Cheated Death Again

Vendor Row: Zoomtown, Avondale, Arizona, Race Day: The crowds are in the stands. This is a partial view; there are more trailers behind me.

Dateline: Somewhere over Arizona. I’m looking at my battery life and will exceed the duration of the first leg (to RDU) by a wide margin. The SWA WiFi speed is dependent upon the number of passengers who are downloading movies. My MacBook Pro can usually outlast a flight to Europe; well, almost. So, getting down to the message, or messages- as my head is spinning with all the great stuff that happened this week in the greater Phoenix area:

First, a shout-out to the Montgomery (AL) Blue Team. Breaking the WR, not once but twice- a marvelous accomplishment. The highly guarded secret that Montgomery is in contention for hosting next year’s WCXXIV seems to be out of the bag. I will neither confirm, or deny that pulling off the Big Win will have anything to do with our decision.

For the faithful few who routinely read my Blog, I hope that your just reward was a ticket to the Sprint Cup race. I did catch the last 20 laps. If you’ve never been to NASCAR, this would have been one of the best for a lot of reasons, not the least of which the price of admission was covered by LiftMaster. 

I don’t know how many crashes (the main reason for attendance), but a collective sigh of relief went up that no one died. On either course. I say this in all sincerity because after 23 years, it’s an enviable safety record for us. Bringing me to a new rule for next season, the three strikes and you’re out rule. At the CAB meeting we discussed safety. Dropping the dummy has a high correlation with being in over your head. More on this later. 

Now, what about that photo? It’s the vendor lane at Zoomtown. Also, an answer to the question as to why we were not selling merchandise at the track. You see, all those huge sponsors pour millions of dollars into NASCAR’s coffers. We are not one of them. To put this in context, NASCAR is a very, very expensive sport. Cars that cost millions. Pit crews, etc. So, I think that everyone gets it- you have to pay to play. We sometimes have problems explaining why we do not permit competing entities to sell merchandise at our events. Because survival depends upon income from multiple sources, including merchandise sales, it’s just not fair, not to mention a very poor business practice. 

Over the balance of this year, I’ve got Blogs in the works to discuss all the high points of this past week, plus our off season plans, Livestreaming issues and answers, the Keiser Force Machine, Lion’s Den Admission criteria, next year’s schedule, and any other nominated topic that you’d like to see in print. I strongly recommend that you subscribe to this Blog; you’ll not be seeing me hanging out on Facebook. Sorry, it’s just a thing. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

First Day at the PIR (Phoenix International Raceway)

For those of you are following the action of World Challenge XXIII from your particular frozen tundra, welcome to Arizona in November. Temperatures are moderately warm and the relative humidity near zero.

We’re outside of the raceway and when the cars start their engines it sounds like a swarm of very angry bees. Fortunately, we’re a bit removed from our first location which would have made any attempts at communication near impossible.

As I’m writing this, the results of our racing have been posted and Hamilton has bested the Team Total time set by Missoula in the last century.

They’ll be heading home with the Challenge trophy and we’ll soon follow with a great celebration at city hall. We’ll post the date and time as soon as we know it. Jason Cannon of Scott and former Challenge Crew Member will be among the entourage, along with Greg Polka of RWC and Mr, John Granby, VP Lion.

A couple of snap shots here to give you a perspective of the enormity of our foot print. LiftMaster has graciously provided shelter and chairs- a necessity in an environment where there’s not a cloud to be seen anywhere. We have some other amenities that I will capture today as we move into the Tandem and Relay categories.

In toto, we had about four great hours of racing, with an awards show that followed in the shadow of our big red semi.

 For many of our competitors this was their first trip to Arizona. And for our foreign visitors, a first glance of America. They instantly recognize the terrain from all the Western movies.

Little do they realize that the rest of the country does not bear a resemblance.

The incredibly bear mountains are a striking backdrop for this year’s venue.

The logistics of getting to the site were amazingly easy, despite the fact that there was a wreck on the I-10. When the Berlin team was stuck on the freeway, they sent a text to Mike Weikamm back in Germany so he could translate and forward to one of our German referee-crew members. Think of the significance of that!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

An Extraordinary Day

The LiftMaster #1 Car and Firefighter Combat Challenge Competitors
Thursday’s activities were packed. First, we supported the ABC TV network’s Extreme Weight Loss show with access to our course for shooting an episode that will air next summer.

At 7AM, the crew arrived and began the setup with the assembly of one of the largest jib’s out there. Go-Pros and mobile cameras were everywhere- guaranteeing a rich viewing experience for their audience.

Cast member Josh Hanes, who has lost 120 pounds, ran one for record and bested his Monday 2:46 with a 2:25.99. Kudos to Clarence Parks who was the rabbit and extra, pacing Josh through a lot of B-roll shots and the final run.

In the afternoon of our longest day, the LiftMaster Sprint Cup NASCAR race car was unveiled on the course. The hood of the car bore the 19 names of the Prescott firefighters who lost their lives last year. The ceremony included a color guard of the Phoenix Fire Department, and bell-ringing, followed by the presenation of a $10,000 donation to the National Fallen Firefighter Foundation ( John Granby, VP Lion serves on the NFFF Corporate Advisory Board and is a course official.

Our competition continued into the night, with lighting provided by Sunbelt Rentals- along with two scissor lifts and cooling equipment. We’re greatly appreciative of what our newest sponsor brings to the Challenge.

This weekend, another sponsor, Typhoon Cooling will make their presence known at the Phoenix International Raceway. We’ll provide you with a behinds the scene of this marvelous addition to the course.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Tricky Thing About the Internet

When Ron Beckman and I did our Advance here in Phoenix in what now seems like last year (really, June), we had identified an Internet connection at the Hard Rock Café, on 2nd Street. The HRC will be the site of this year’s Lion’s Den Induction reception. A more gracious host is not to be found anywhere.

Then, we ran into permit problems and had to move over a street. The thought was that we’d have a 1000’ feet spool of Cat5e cable and be able to provide a live uplink for our YouTube broadcast. Well, we should have checked out the Google map because there’s just too many obstacles. So, we began our ground search for an alternative source of connectivity.

I had a conversation with the manager of the Phoenix Convention Center, Kevin Mattingly, who was most helpful. At the same time, Maria Prekeges was talking to the building management company across 3rd Street.

Kincaid’s restaurant ( offered free Wi-Fi, with the caveat that we couldn’t run the wire through the dining room. Mr. Mattingly came out to tell me that all Internet services are handled by a separate company and they would drop by.

In the meantime, we’re getting our broadcast tent set up and cameras positioned. It’s virtually impossible to do this until everything else is in position and we can’t have the street for as long as we would really like. With the assistance of the building service staff, we were able to use one of the conduits to fish a line from the roof top service closet through the ceiling and into Kincad’s service closet). Then, we dropped the line off of the roof and into the broadcast tent. So, the pressure is building.

Now, keep in mind, that the Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge live feed is free to anyone in the world with a web browser. And, Lion, our partner does help with the cost of bringing you the daily show. But, we also are sensitive to the fact that there are thousands of fans back home who expect broadcast quality HD.

Well, did you hear the story about how Marriott was fined $300,000 for invoking electronic counter measures whereby they would eliminate any of their hotel guests from using anything but their own in-house service for Wi-Fi? No? Well, standby.

So, the representatives from the convention center show up just about the time that we’re hooking up to Kincad’s restaurant. Now, it’s not the speediest connection as restaurants really just need to upload credit card information. But, it will carry SD TV (standard definition).

The sales reps and his staff of two politely inform me that they can provide us with an adequate uplink for the low, low price of, get this: $7600!

I said, “Gee,” motioning to the West side of the street, “Free.” And then, towards the Convention Center, “$7,600?” Humm; hard choice. I said, “I can offer maybe $2K, but, really?”

“Nope. That’s our price.”

I later find out that these were the co-conspirators in the Marriott fiasco. Last night the crew of 25 ate at Kincade’s.

The manager could not have been more facilitating and apologized that he couldn’t provide us with more speed.

When we move to the track for the Finals, I’ve been assured that we have 20MBS. That should rock.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

World Challenge XXIII- Day Two- Interim Report

The view on 3rd Street. Looking North towards the Sheraton Hotel Downtown
Yesterday’s races are posted you tube (link below). Already, new World Records are falling while old acquaintances are being refreshed. The weather continues to be incredible.

While in the 80°s, humidity is incredibly low. We have swamp coolers in the ready tent, but hardly need them.

There are hundreds of competitors here from New Zealand, Portugal, Poland, Germany, France, Slovenia and of course, Canada.

Lots of new inductees to the Lion’s Den; they’ll get their just rewards at World Challenge XXIV.

I’m getting lots of questions about where we’re headed next year; we’ll have an answer for everyone quite soon, I’m certain.
I want to remind everyone that we’re switching the training session with Perry from 2:00PM (1400) to 1000hrs (10:00) at the Sheraton Hotel.

We’re continuing to film all the races and are posting them as fast as we can. Here’s the link for yesterday:

We want to thank Lion for helping to underwrite the production costs; through no fault of theirs, our Internet connection just doesn’t have the band width to upload real time.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Day One: World Challenge XXIII

View of the Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge course on
3rd Street, Downtown Phoenix from the Sheraton
Things kicked off this morning on 3rd Street with an incredible change in the 100°F weather of last week. The sky was azure blue and the wind wafted gently down the canyon. Some last minute issues with the change in venue from 2nd Street put a kink in going live with our YouTube broadcast. But, not to fear; we captured it all and it’s being uploaded for your viewing pleasure.

I’ll attempt to give you a recap of the major happenings of the day. First a big shout out for Firefighters for Christ. These guys did a lot of the heavy lifting in resetting the course. We also had helpers from the Glendale Fire Academy- the “night school” version. Guys who are getting their FF certification, good for 20+ states.

Then, we had some more guys who were bartering their registation in return for multiple runs. We love you guys too.

Jim DeGrandpre did the competitor commentary while Mike Riley did play-by-play. Mike Word got in this afternoon and is doing sound checks, preparing for taking over tomorrow. We need to save his voice, so we’ll give him some respites during the week.

Josh, the cast member from Extreme Weight Loss, after warching a lot of races was ready to give it a run. He was targeting for a time under 5 minutes and posted a time well under 3.

First days are typically light ones and we wrapped up around 3 or so. Daniel’s working on the results which will be posted later today.

The store opens tomorrow and will only be operational through Thursday as we will not be allowed to sell merchandise on NASCAR property.

Friday, we will by necessity, make a swap with Perry going on at 10:00 and the CAB meeting taking place at 2PM at the Sheraton Meeting Room.

Friday, October 31, 2014

The Last Word..

World Challenge XXIII In Phoenix, Arizona!

As World Challenge XXIII in Phoenix is next week, we've been working around the clock to get all of the final details ready to go!

Below we have included some important information that we highly encourage everyone attending Worlds to look through.  There is a lot of new and crucial information here.

All of this will also be posted and updated on Dr. Paul's Blog, which can be found here.

1) Tickets for the Phoenix Suns
Representatives for the Suns will have a sales desk located at the Challenge site, 9AM-11AM Monday-Thursday, offering discounted tickets to competitors. Deep discounts are available; there will be 3 games during the week we’re in town, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday night.

2) Registration Barter
We have an opportunity for a limited number of competitors to help out on the course in exchange for registration fees. Email with your availability.

3) Open Relay Category
The Open Class will race on Sunday; there will be a plaque for the winning team. In accordance with our procedure for establishing what is, and is not an “Organic Team” challenges must be brought by bona fide competitors at the time of the competition. On each of the Wild Card Elimination Days, a triumvirate comprised of members of the Challenge Advisory Board Executive Committee will rule on protests. Protests must be timely; i.e., any time before a race, or after a race before the next race, identify your challenge to the Director of Operations, Ron Beckman, or the Clerk of the Course, Daniel Pace. A timely decision will be made.

4) CAB Meeting
At 10 AM, Friday at the Sheraton. We have a room reserved. One hour duration. Topic: the Two-drop rule. Dropping the dummy twice constitutes a DNF. Rationale: safety. After observing more than 30,000 races, those individuals who repeatedly drop the dummy are at risk to continue. This summer, we transported an obviously spent competitor who should have been pulled off the course- well before the 6:00 mark. He had no idea where he was. We need to protect these highly motivated, but ill-prepared people from themselves.

5) Perry Castellano sponsored by Keiser
At the Sheraton, from 1-3 pm, Perry, currently head strength and conditioning coach for the Minnesota Twins and former firefighter-paramedic from Pasadena, will conduct a hands-on power training session: “How to spend quality time in your workouts, with better results.” Our sport is all about Power. Reduce the likelihood of injuries and learn when you need to stop training. 

6) Bus Schedule
LiftMaster has generously sponsored shuttles between the Phoenix International Raceway and Downtown on Saturday and Sunday mornings.  During Wildcard registration we will be getting a list of everyone who expects to use the bus. The busses will depart promptly, so please be on time, or you will have to find your own transportation.  On both days, the shuttles will pick-up competitors at the Hard Rock Cafe in the morning, and drop off at the Raceway; and in the afternoon the pick-up will be from the Raceway and drop off back downtown at the Hard Rock Cafe.  Saturday's pick-up will leave at 7 AM, and Sunday's pick-up will head out at 6 AM.

7) Finalist Flags
Finalist flags will be available for competitors to pick up at Worlds.

8) March On at Finals
All competitors, even if you don’t make it to the final day, are invited to take part in the march on at the Phoenix International Raceway!

Looking forward to seeing you at World Challenge XXIII next week!

As always, check for more information and updates in the World Challenge section of our website!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Tickets for the Sprint Cup Championship, Phoenix International Raceway (PIR)

LiftMaster has generously provided free tickets (in a limited quantity) for the Sunday race. If you are interested in receiving a ticket and using the ticket yourself, please send us an email at the address below. Sorry, only one ticket per Challenge Competitor. Be sure that your email contains your name. 

The email:

Contact (at) FFCC.TV

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Sweet Home Alabama

For those of you who have had the fortunate experience of coming to the great city and state capital of  Montgomery, Alabama you’ll know what I’m talking about. No place throws a Scott Firefighter Challenge like Chief Milford Jordan and his team in the Montgomery Fire Rescue organization. 

For starters, every one of their fire stations and headquarters staff had a team in the relay. And the course-re-cockers came from the academy- all in PT gear and not an unfit member among them. 

This was the new Scott Safety zone manager Bart Copeland’s first Challenge and he couldn’t say enough about how proud he was to be a part of the Scott organization. 

Friday night, under the more than the new sponsor Sunbelt Rentals’ample lights, the individual categories took the field and the highly supportive and enthusiastic crowd hung in there till the end. And what a great end it was. Challenge legends Cory McGee (1:23), Russell “Kraz” Kraznesky (1:25), Darren “Hiller” Hillman (1:26), 2010 World Champion Trevor Fera (1:29) and David Bowman (1:30) posted stellar scores. Kraz now owns World Records for both the over 40 and 45 categories. 

Free breakfast graciously hosted by the City on Saturday morning for all was a great way to start the day. The march-on was impressive with 150 firefighters filling out the bull ring. Mayor Todd Strange gave the crowd a rousing “Southern Hospitality!” welcome and whipped the crowd up to a frenzy over the prospects of hosting a World Challenge next year in Montgomery. Without a cloud in the sky and temperatures in the high 70°s, we had the makings of an all-around world-class event. 

For the first time, we had six CrossFit teams compete in helmets and gloves for a single elimination tournament. It was clear that these people had come to play; they knew the rules and posted some pretty impressive times- especially considering that some of the women were barely 100 pounds soaking wet. 

I can’t think of another venue where city officials and the collective host fire department have embraced the ethos of the Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge, more completely or convincingly. Thanks to everyone in Montgomery for their extraordinaty encouragement of firefighter fitness and public safety!

Monday, October 6, 2014

World Challenge XXIII - Heads Up- October 6

Some late-breaking news for all Competitors headed to Phoenix. Please read this entire memo as there have been some scheduling and venue changes.

1. Competition Course – S. 3rd Street at E. Jefferson - Monday Nov 3 – Thursday Nov 6 Despite assurances to the contrary, we will not be on 2nd Street because of the blocked access to the daily parking lot. We are now on S. 3rd Street at E. Jefferson, a difference without a real distinction. It’s “just around the corner” from the original location and Hard Rock Café, one of our downtown hosts along with Phoenix Fire Department. Permits are being filed to close this street and all who are in the know believe we have sealed the deal.

2. Off Day Activities – Friday, Nov 7 Friday is the move day; we’re taking the entire course out to the race track. In the meantime, we have scheduled a workshop/seminar, featuring Perry Castellano, strength and conditioning coach, Minnesota Twins and former Pasadena firefighter. You will not want to miss out on Perry’s dynamic, hands-on presenation. Venue will be announced in our next news blast.

3. Race categories All race and award categories remain the same, plus the addition of the “Open” Relay- cobble together any team you wish and we will recognize the overall winner with a plaque presented by Lion. You can race in two categories, but we don’t recommend it. If you’re in the quarterly finals, you could be running back-to-back.

4. Lion’s Den Reception – Friday, Nov 7 Since we are no longer constrained by a Friday race day, the Lion’s Den induction ceremony will take place in the late afternoon; i.e. ≈4PM (1600hrs). We are finalizing an indoor location so that we can project the “Best of Michael DeGrandpre” (from his ever-popular Flickr account) and the announcement of those who will make it into the last day. Check the website to ensure that your name is listed if you believe that you made the cut this year.

5. Finals: Saturday, Nov 8 & Sunday, Nov 9 – at Phoenix International Raceway The good news here is that we will be outiside of the credentialed area, meaning that we are now unrestrained in our start and finish times. So, tandems can convey to Sunday morning, and we will not have to start at 0800hrs, nor finish to fit into any constrained window dictated by the NASCAR race. Also, there will be no restriction on the use of the parking lot by your POV (or rental car). Sunday, however, the lot will not be available. Bus service is still being arranged. We’re still awaiting word about how the tickets to the Sprint Cup will be handled.

6. Rule Reminder Competitors are not allowed to touch or adjust any of the props, other than moving the highrise pack forward or aft. If you observe any prop out of place or order, immediately bring it to the attention of the course official on your lane. All hammers are going to be “incubated” to ensure that they are all exactly the same temperature. A three-hammer rotation will be enforced. No touching the hammers.

7. CBS Sports: Bonus Airing The Scott World Challenge XXII from Las Vegas will be broadcast on Oct 25 at 1000EDT.

8. The “Names” Tee Shirt We’re brining back the classic “Class of 2014” Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge® tee shirt, with all the names of the finalists for this year. We will have the complete list up in reasonable time to ensure timely printing and delivery. This means that we have a pretty short fuse to get this done. The drop dead date will be established by our printing company and posted on hot news, along with a web page listing everyone. All foreign nationals are urged to send us your names now by clicking here xxx. There will be a limited run, with a first come-first served paradigm for sales. There will NOT be enough for everyone. We will NOT be allowed to sell merchandise at the track. So all sales must be concluded by C.O.B. (close of business) at the downtown Phoenix location Thursday.

 9. Bio Information Mike Word is emphatic: fill out your bio or he’ll be making up false stories about your predilections. I suggest that you don’t want to give him license to call you a communist or worse. Most importantly, make sure that we have the phonetic spelling of your name. We enjoy getting it right the first time.

10. Live Feed We will be broadcasting all of the action. Around the world. For free. There will not be a TV show this year because we are under contract to CBS, and Fox owns the commercial broadcast rights to the NASCAR race which conflict with our CBS deal. So, tell grandma when to tune in; we’ll publish the daily run orders so there will be a reasonable approximation as to what time you’ll be on camera. Again, Maria Prekeges will be doing the interviews, assuming that you want to be seen on camera.

11. Patches, Certificates and Flags It’s taken longer than usual to secure sponsorship, but the 2014 Finalist Flags will be distributed at WCXXIII. Daniel has the list and we’ll be distributing them at Check In.

12. Drug Testing The mere mention of testing sends some people scurrying. It’s really not that hard. Here’s the easiest solution: an iPhone app: NSF. Virtually everything that you need to know about acceptable supplements is at your disposal. If the product is approved by MLB or the NFL, you’re assured that there’s nothing in it that is banned. Keep in mind, a banned substance can be legally prescribed for a medical condition- and still be banned.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Secret Service woes show hiring should be based on qualifications

Here’s an article from the link: y Douglas MacKinnon | Tribune Staff Published: October 4, 2014 Thanks to Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” oppressive white males — at least momentarily before we are shouted down — are allowed to touch upon the ultra-politically correct subject of hiring based on diversity as opposed to qualifications. As the incompetence of Julia Pierson, who just resigned in disgrace as head of the U.S. Secret Service, became more evident, Brzezinski dared to wonder if political correctness instead of qualifications inserted Pierson into that position and then kept her there in the face of mounting controversies. Brzezinski told her male panelists she was openly speculating on the subject because they might be “afraid to touch” it. Good guess. I don’t know a male anywhere who is not completely in favor of equal rights for men and women. It is the liberal definition of “equal” that has some men not only scratching their heads but, depending upon the profession, concerned for their lives or well-being. I have two male friends who are police officers, two male cousins who are firefighters and several male friends who serve in combat units in the military. Every single one is strongly in favor of equal rights for men and women. The one and only request that they have is that because of the dangers and physical demands of their jobs, they believe the women hired or enlisted should be required to pass the exact same physical fitness tests they are required to take. Nothing more, but certainly nothing less. Male firefighters I have spoken with honestly worry that if some of the women in their firehouses aren’t strong enough to carry the hose or lift a ladder, how will they be able to carry them or a civilian out of a burning building? The same concern regarding the lack of strength is on the mind of a number of male police officers and male members of our military. They just won’t voice it aloud for fear of retribution from the left. Political correctness is often the enemy of common sense and truth. But when it strays across the line to create safety and protection issues, maybe it’s time to revisit certain hiring practices. As reported by CNN, The Washington Post and other news outlets, the male intruder who made it all the way into the White House knocked down a female Uniform Division Secret Service agent on his way into the mansion. Naturally, political correctness demanded that the female agent’s gender be defended immediately, so some in the media quickly added that “gender had nothing to do” with the husky male getting by the female agent. Some reported that the female agent got back up and “tackled the suspect.” Nice, except that is not what happened. As was later accurately reported, the suspect was in fact “tackled” by an off-duty male agent from the Presidential Protection Division and not the female agent he overpowered. The editors at The Washington Post were apparently so bothered that this male suspect knocked down a female agent that it even censored its own reporting. When the Post first reported the incident, it pointed out the suspect overpowered a “female” agent. Soon thereafter, it struck the word “female” from its own reporting. On this topic, back in 2005 when a powerful male inmate overpowered a 51-year-old slight female deputy in an Atlanta courthouse, took her service weapon and proceeded to use it to execute a judge and three other people, much of the media bent over backward to avoid reporting the fact that the overpowered deputy was a woman. Why? That fact was relevant. As stated, every man I know believes in actual equal rights between men and women. At least when it comes to the hiring or enlistment practices for our police and fire departments and the military, shouldn’t the physical fitness requirements also be equal? If Mika Brzezinski is still employed and has not been ostracized by her fellow liberals for sacrilege against the Nanny State for asking a logical question, maybe we can run it past her.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

World Challenge XXIII- Heads Up

1. Location
For the first time in our 23+ year history, for the Finals, we will be racing in two locations. The first location, for the Wild Card Eliminations is on 2nd Street in Downtown Phoenix. We have filed for a permit to close the street between Washington and Jefferson for all of the Wild Card eliminations, November 3 through 6.

2. Hotels
We have posted several hotel properties that are providing discounted lodging over the week of 2-10 November. Keep in mind that this is “high season” and between the Cardinals, Coyotes, and the Sprint Cup Championships, lodging will be tight. We are continuing to explore other properties and will make additions as they are confirmed with contracts. Some of the hotels are a short ride away by light rail, with a walking requirement of only a block. 

3. The Big Move
After the close of eliminations on Thursday, we will be packing up and moving to the PIR (Phoenix International Raceway) aka “ZoomTown” in Avondale. We would appreciate some help; a dozen volunteers (no more) to load everything into the trucks for the move. If you’re interested and available, send a note to Ron Beckman by clicking here

4. Helpers
Each day, we’ll start off with the “Valley Throwdown” a competition within in the competition where local fire departments will race on the course, most for the first time. In return for their assistance in resetting the course, they’ll get a first hand view of the Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge®. If you want to be a course volunteer or know someone who does, send contact information by clicking here

5. Perry Castellano
We have a very special program for Friday; for the first time there will be a much-needed break in the competition while we’re setting up out at the NASCAR track. Perry Castellano is our featured guest speaker this year. He’s a former firefighter from Pasadena who is now the Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Minnesota Twins Major League Baseball team. Perry attended my Certified Fitness Coordinator (CFC) 40-hour course back in early 1990 in San Diego. Since then, he’s earned his undergraduate and master’s degree and was named Strength Coach of the Year by MLB. There will be a special page on our website describing Perry’s accomplishments and his presentation. You will absolutely not want to miss his presentation: “Getting Faster with Less Work; the dangers of over-training.” 

6. Final Days (Saturday & Sunday)
The 55,000 spectators will virtually trip over the Challenge as they enter the park. We’re inside the gate this time. This does present some logistical concerns. First, buses will be provided to transport the athletes to Avondale. So, we will have rallying points and a yet-to-be developed schedule from downtown. There are a number of yet-to-be resolved details that will be posted here on the Official Website of the Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge®. What we do know is that we’ll be moving the tandems into Saturday, along with the opening ceremony as Sunday’s window is about four hours; we need to be done before the race starts. I’ve heard from all of you that you want venues with lots of spectators. Be careful of what you wish for. It does complicate things- like parking, rooms, buses, and friends and family. We’re sensitive to these matters. But, in the last year we’ve done a TV show on CBS Sports, two NASCAR events and the Cotton Bowl. 

7. Lion’s Den Induction Dinner
This year’s Lion’s Den will be held Friday evening, on closed 2nd Street, adjacent to the Hard Rock Café. The buffet will start at 1800hrs, (6PM for your officers). 

8. Finalist Flags
These are in process; an unusual delay this year, but we’ll be distributing them to everyone who earned them. 

9. Award Categories
Our protocol states that we need 8 to create a category. We subscribe to the theory that if medals are to have value, you need to earn them by beating someone. Last year, we fell short in the women’s, over 40 and over 50 categories. And then there’s the concern about hybrids, such as team Europe that gave everyone a scare. So, we’re going to create an “Open” or Exhibition category; i.e., in the Department Relay, you must be an organic team; i.e., from the same department. In the “Unlimted” category, you can be whatever you want to be. Someone asked if they could race in the relay category solo. We said, “why would you want to?” Running back to back is not going to be a lot of fun. But, hey, give it a shot. We’re still working on all the permutations. These things tend to have some kind of a life of their own. But, the winner of the Department Relay is the Winner. Period. 

10. Registration
We’ll be opening registration this month. Standard fees apply. There is no charge for those who make it into the last two days. 

11. TV
Fox Sports owns the rights for any video content shot at the Speedway. Since we have a contract with CBS Sports, that is going to create a conflict, so we won't be able to film a show as we did last year. We are exploring Live Feed Transmisison, however, and if we go down that road, it will be free for all viewers.

11. Questions?
This posting is one of several to follow as I’m certain that we’ve not thought of everything. But, if you’ve got a question, we’d like to hear it. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The wasteful fraud of sorting for youth meritocracy

I’m a fan of Seth Godin; here’s an essay that he wrote that I believe we can all relate to:

"Sorry, you didn't make the team. We did the cuts today."
"We did play auditions all day yesterday, and so many people turned out, there just wasn't a role for you. We picked people who were more talented."
"You're on the bench until your skills improve. We want to win."
Ask the well-meaning coaches and teachers running the tryouts and choosing who gets to play, ask them who gets on stage and who gets fast tracked, and they'll explain that life is a meritocracy, and it's essential to teach kids that they're about to enter a world where people get picked based on performance.
Or, they might point out that their job is to win, to put on a great show, to entertain the parents with the best performance they can create.
This, all of this, is sort of dangerous, unhelpful and nonsensical.
As millions head back for another year of school, I'm hoping that parents (and students) can call this out.
When you're six years old and you try out for the hockey team, only two things are going to get you picked ahead of the others: either you're older (it's true, check this out) or you were born with size or speed or some other advantage that wasn't your choice.
And the junior high musical? It's pretty clear that kids are chosen based on appearance or natural singing talent, two things that weren't up to them.
Soccer and football exist in school not because there's a trophy shortage, not because the school benefits from winning. They exist, I think, to create a learning experience. But when we bench people because they're not naturally good, what's the lesson?
If you get ahead for years and years because you got dealt good cards, it's not particularly likely that you will learn that in the real world, achievement is based as much on attitude and effort as it is on natural advantages. In the real world, Nobel prizes and Broadway roles and the senior VP job go to people who have figured out how to care, how to show up, how to be open to new experiences. Our culture is built around connection and charisma and learning and the ability to not quit in precisely the right moments. 
But that's not easy to sort for in school, so we take a shortcut and resort to trivial measures instead.
What if we celebrated the students who regularly try the hardest, help each other the most and lead? What if we fast tracked those students, and made it clear to anyone else willing to adopt those attitudes that they could be celebrated too?
What if you got cast, tracked or made the cut because you were resilient, hard working and willing to set yourself up for a cycle of continuous improvement? Isn't that more important than rewarding the kid who never passes but still scores a lot of goals?
Before you feature a trumpet prodigy at the jazz band concert, perhaps you could feature the kid who just won't quit. No need to tell him he's a great trumpet player--the fact is, none of these kids are Maynard Ferguson--just tell him the truth. Tell him that every single person who has made a career of playing the trumpet (every single one of them) did it with effort and passion, not with lips that naturally vibrate.
We're not spending nearly enough time asking each other: What is School For?
Since I first published Stop Stealing Dreams to the web, it's been shared millions of times. My hope is that as we go back to school, you'll forward this video and this manifesto (screen edition) to every parent and teacher you know. (Here's a printable edition if you want to print it out and hand copies out).
Let's talk about school and figure out what we're trying to create.

Friday, July 18, 2014

World Challenge XXIII Lodging Part III

We have now identified and negotiated with about a dozen hotels. Contracts are being drawn up and we will begin the process of posting the reservation information as we get them. There will be a wide range of prices and amenities. Also, just a little further away by way of the light rail will be some great values.

Patience, my friends. We’re pushing this rope as fast as we can.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

World Challenge XXIII- Lodging Part II

This is the part where I tell you what I’m going to tell you. And I’m doing so because it’s complicated. To review, for the first time in our more than two decades, we’re going to have a two venue event.

The first part will be downtown Phoenix and then we’ll take all the assets to the Zoomtown Raceway in Avondale.

We have been actively engaged in recruiting downtown hotels, doing our best in negotiating most favorable rates.

In the next couple of days we’ll have all the contact information posted right here on the official website of the Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge.

Prices will include budget prices and great values in some upscale flagship hotels.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Lodging: World Challenge XXIII- Part One

Thursday, July 10, 2014 
8:44:50 AM EDT 

The very reason for our coming to Phoenix presents a challenge that we are mitigating through boots on the ground; specifically, finding affordable and convenient rooms during NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Championship at the Phoenix Raceway. Our presence here in Phoenix is being driven by finding the best solution for everyone. 

We will have exposure to the largest crowd ever. But, lodging opportunities are diminished since NASCAR teams have long-term contracts for hotels that are closest to the track. These contracts have been in place for years; so, the critical consideration is to snatch up the remaining rooms before NASCAR fans start their search. 

What makes this event unique is the opportunity to be a sports competition within an international phenomena, with a day off on Friday so that we can move the course to the track. While complicated, this is worth the effort for the exposure for our sponsors as well as our elite athletes. 

Our numbers are predictable, but staggered. Some will attach a few extra days before or after the event. Some, knowing that they will not likely make it into the final days do not plan to be here for the weekend. Others, because of financial constraints want to spend the minimum amount, and will want to show up at the last possible moment for the Wild Card Eliminations. 

Challenge competitors with severely limited resources look for the lowest prices that they can find and are prepared to drive further if necessary. Others want to be in the host hotel, regardless of costs, since convenience is paramount. 

So, giving consideration to all of these factors, we are striving for solutions to everyone’s personal or team parameters. 

We may require up to 300 or more rooms. There is no one hotel that can meet all the requirements enumerated above. So, we’re attempting to nail down a number of options, with contact information immediately available so that you can start making your travel plans. There will likely be a dozen hotels that will have rooms to suit your needs.

It is imperative that you lock in your lodging just as soon as we have identified the toll-free numbers and reservation codes. It is our intention to have this information available within the week. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

My week with Jeanie (and Cheri)

Debbie Davis and Jeanie Allen at P.J. Clarke’s in DC on the 4th
If you’re new to the Challenge, you might not have yet had the privilege of meeting the Swamp Taters, the tandem team composed of Jeanie Allen and Cheri Ardoin. Jeanie is battling clear cell sarcoma, a lethal form of cancer that seemingly strikes physically fit people. 

She’s now part of a clinical trial at NIH (the medical Mecca of the world, the National Institutes of Health) in Bethesda, Maryland. While this is a hump for Jeanie from her home state of Idaho, it’s a pretty short car ride from our house. And for this, we are truly thankful to be her concierge. The protocol is rigorous; Jeanie was on an I.V. Pump for the better part of a week. She named the device “George.”

When Cheri showed up, the whole mood in the SW Wing moved up a few beats because no one can be around Cheri and not be happy- or amused. 

So, the two of them conspired to produce a video of the day in the life of Jeanie, trapped in the secure campus (and I do mean secure) of NIH.

So, check it out.

You’ll be glad you did. (The sound track is copyrighted, which may explain why the video will not play on some smart devices; view it through your browser.)

We got a special treat from the manager of P.J. Clarke’s at the corner of 16th and K streets on the Fourth. He treated us to a roof-top view of the fireworks on the mall. 

All-in-all a great 4th of July with good food and wonderful friends. 


Monday, June 30, 2014

Only Game in Town, Part IV

Despite the fact that the event has not yet gone to "Green" it's being held up only by the Certificate of Insurance (COI) details.

There are at least three hotels within walking distance of the venue in Ontario. Sorry that this it taking a bit longer than we thought, but considering the hoops that we had to jump through, we're moving at the speed of light.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Update On World Challenge XXIII

Just to ensure that there’s no confusion, the dates are November 3-9. We will be doing an advance visit to Phoenix during the second week in July.

We typically do not turn on the event (making it “Green”) until after the U.S. Nationals. But, we want to ensure everyone that this event is “On.”

We’re going to attempt something that we’ve never done before; four days of Wild Card Eliminations, then a day off, followed by a move to the NASCAR Track for the last two days on Saturday and Sunday.

There are a LOT of logistics and Ron and I will be addressing these with our site inspection.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Minutes of the Challenge Advisory Board- Executive Committee’s meeting

A Skype Teleconference was held on the 29th of May
In attendance:
Mike Mederios 
Adam Brock
Jeff Leonard
Mike Weikamm
Cheri Ardion
John Pennington
Items Discussed in order of recollection:

1. Budget & Scott: We cannot camouflage the fact that our sponsorship dollars have been substantially cut. In all cases, we have attempted to lessen the impact by offering options to keep our key personnel on board. Everyone has the freedom to decide their own future with the Challenge, based upon the value that they place on their time. We do this to survive since we cannot have any expenses uncovered. This is not some dire warning of peril, but the practical reality of living within our means. We executed a three-year agreement and will continue to bring the Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge to cities across the US and Canada. Said another way, operating the Challenge has become expensive. Big trucks represent big bucks. Airfares are skyrocketing and very few teams now have the financial backing from their departments that they once did. Virtually all of our military teams have had travel funds cut. We are ramping up our efforts to recruit new sponsors- as everyone knows, a daunting task. I think that most firefighters understand that the economy continues to limp along and when stations are being shut down and firefighters laid off, discretionary spending on activities such as the Challenge do not rise to the same level of importance of operations. 

2. Reorganized Rules: Daniel spent a considerable amount of time reorganizing the rules by Sentence and Paragraph format. The one change that has evoked a response is the subject of Hammers: We will consider modifying the hammer rule: i.e., no touching the hammer. Jeff Leonard suggested that up to five hammers be put in the rotation and Cheri proposed that we color code the hammers to preserve the rotation. I will run this past Ron. I still believe that we need to disallow Competitors to pick up any hammer other than the one to be used. I proposed that we find some type of a cup or receiver in which to place the hammer head to standardize the position of the hammer for both distance from the sled and angle (which is the same thing). 

3. LA World Firefighter Games: We are determined to make this work. To this end, we’re working on securing some sponsorship to fill-in the gap left by the insolvency of the Games. The PR benefit is extraordinary as we can be “The Only Game in Town.” We are, as of this writing going to Ontario, CA. With over 2000 registrants, and not knowing how many of these people are still coming, we will be advertising heavily to see how many days we will need to accommodate what might be the largest Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge ever. 

4. Hybrid Teams: Several options were discussed; we all realized that this is complicated and will require more study. We’ll come back with some approaches that might work. 

5. Phoenix Logistics: LiftMaster is the Host for WCXIII. We are attempting something that has never been done before; four days of Wild Cards followed by a move to the track. We can pack up the show in about 3 hours. This come at the end of a log day. However, we do have a staff that is double that of our typical regional. And, we will call for assistance for a limited, but skilled group who have experience in Road Crew logistics. An advance trip will take place within the next couple of weeks whereupon we will be able to speak much more intelligently about the whole scenario. We do have a seminar planned for Friday, sponsored by Keiser. 

6. Pro-Am, Firefighter Fantasy Camp, Cross-Fit - FCC event: We believe that the only thing that this needs is marketing. Cheri had successfully used this gambit for the event that she held at Lake Charles. We need to write up a marketing plan for rolling this out on a trial basis at selected locales. 

7. 2014 Scheduling Matters. Anyone in the event business can attest that “it’s a jungle out there.” If you think that this is easy, you need to think again. We’re at the max of what we can reasonably expect to raise by way of appearance fees. Even at $25K, that’s a lot of bread. LiftMaster will be ending all of their contracts this year and will make a determination if their NASCAR program has been cost effective. I believe that state fairs are a more cost effective model. But, we’ll need to see what transpires at the conclusion of their analysis. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


The complexities of putting on a Challenge vary, from locale to locale. Considering the short ramp up for moving from the LA Convention Center to Ontario, a mere 36 miles from Downtown LA, it’s not all that bad.

However, there’s that pesky paperwork to get done. Like the contract with the Visitor’s Bureau (who is graciously picking up the tab for the local expenses) and another contract for the actual venue.

Certificates of Insurance (COI) have to be issued to guarantee coverage in the amounts stipulated by the real estate company. And so forth.

But, we believe that we’re ready and the green light is lit. Which brings me to Seattle and the yeoman’s work of B/C James Hilliard. We’re inking a 3-year deal with the Downtown Business Association for the weekend before Ontario.

So, Colorado Springs gets punted to next year and we’re in for the Pacific Northwest for the next 3 years!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Only Game in Town, PART 2

It’s official. We have a venue in Ontario, CA, thanks to Michael Krouse, President and CEO of  the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. Next, on our growing list of tasks is the exact location, hotels and the number of days that will be required to accommodate the already-coming athletes - an unknown number. As we view this, scores, or perhaps hundreds who were going to play in the Games and have non-refundable tickets would like to have something to show for their money and effort. We will make every effort to firm up days and lodging by next Friday.

Also, we recognize that many athletes may not have planned to bring their bunker gear. We’re working on a solution for this eventuality.

We have requested of the organizer of the World Games a copy of the database so that we an notify everyone that the Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge will be stepping it up to accommodate everyone who is interested in experiencing “The Toughest Two Minutes in Sports.”

This BlogSpot will be the authorative source for all information about the Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge, and will be updated with the latest information as we know it.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Only Game in Town

Our plans to be a part of the World Firefighter’s Games started nearly a year ago. After carefully considering the logistics and costs associated with pulling off this event, we negotiated a contract that we beleved would best protect us and our competitors.

Our traditional Traffic Light System (Red, Yellow and Green) has for the most part served us well. Red is the discussion phase, Yellow - a downpayment has been made and Green when progress payments have been made suggesting that the host is a good credit risk and we should make travel plans and book tickets.

The LA event never made it to Green. But, we understand that many athletes have purchased non-refundable tickets. We’d like to see no one getting harmed from this unfortunate experience. For this reason, we’re diligently working on a solution that would bring the Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge to the LA area.

Our efforts are complicated by the fact that no one’s answering the telephone. By that, we mean that the parties who were engaged in bringing the games to LA have not been returning phone calls.

If anyone has a bright idea on venues or sponsorship, please give us a call or drop us an email. Hopefully, we can provide the Best and Only Game in Town. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Seen at FDIC

FatIvan® is the perfect solution for propping doors open. Put your name on it! 
One of the cool things about FDIC is walking the floor and looking at new stuff. This one takes up very little space to explain and the application is immediately apparent to any firefighter.

What’s very neat is the magnets that hold this in place. A major improvement from the bent nail in
a piece of white pine.

Want one? send an email to

Tell Nick you saw it on the Firefighter Combat Challenge blog spot. They would make a great prize, no?

Saturday, April 26, 2014

New Baton Material

For the past several years we’ve been using PVC pipe with caps and a radiator hose clamp for the baton. After a visit to Trusty Cook’s factory, (described in an earlier Blog) a better solution emerged: Polyurethane. This is the same material that is used to make the dead-blow shot mallets. Unlike PVC, it will not break when dropped. Plus, the color runs through the entire thickness so they require no maintenance. They are virtually indestructible.

The prototypes were used at the FDIC event and several suggestions were made for improvement and incorporated into the current design. With a square design, the radiator hose clamp is removed. This is good because the stainless steel tail was sharp and could cut the ungloved hand or turnout coats. The square design will not roll. The overall length is the same ≈12” (30cm). The weight is 9 ounces.

When we see an opportunity to improve the Firefighter Combat Challenge, we do so, especially when there are no negatives and only improvements in safety. It would be foolish to wait until next year when the clear benefits to everyone could be made immediately.

We are ordering up a supply and will sell these for $20 in the store as soon as they are made available.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Don’t Leave Home Without It

Advocates for increasing bicycle use in metropolitan areas resist the notion that helmets are an essential part of the riding ensemble. Meaning, that if we tell people that they must have a helmet (which is a law here in Montgomery County, MD) then that infers that cycling is dangerous.

The helmet was broken in four places- exactly what it’s supposed to do
I have intimate and personal knowledge of the effects of collisions with both concrete and asphalt. This weekend marked the third helmet that was totaled from a crash. One was a top of the line Bell Star, full coverage motorcycle helmet. The point of impact was the back of the helmet, thereby marking the end of my illustrious career as a cross-country motorcycle rider.

Bicycles have considerably less velocity. But, a crash can still kill. Late Saturday afternoon, I was only about 1.5 miles from home when the front tire fell into an unseen groove. In less than a second at ≈20 mph, I was on the ground. The photos tell the rest of the story. Fractured ribs and clavicle will take about 6 to 8 weeks to mend.

I hate to think what might have been the outcome without the Specialized helmet. I don’t know what your protocol is for blunt force trauma, but ice packs are probably the most effect immediate treatment.

Another view of one of the major cracks of the Specialized helmet

My son commented that I now look like a cage fighter- or perhaps I went a few rounds with Mike Tyson

The displaced clavicle is pretty evident; hurts the most, but heals the fastest