Tuesday, June 2, 2009


We have an incredibly visual sport. I’m not sure that I fully appreciated how visual until picking up a video camera this year and attempting to create video shorts from each event. We need more cameras to capture all the action. This has been a lot of fun putting these clips together for these first four events. I marvel at the technology that allows you to do on a laptop computer what used to take a $250k editing suite. We’re employing some very talented videographers and will continue to improve the quality and interest of each of the postings. We’re spending a lot of effort on this project because we believe that there’s an audience for what you do. Speaking of which, the opening remarks by Chief Rich Collins of the Osceola County Fire Department were the most inspiring ever. He’s now on YouTube and will be incorporated into our newly launched TV website: FFCC.TV. Everyone needs to hear Chief Collins and we’ll do our part.

Our next step is to begin the daunting task of capturing and cataloging all of the Firefighter Combat Challenge video at one location. We invite all of you very creative amateur video producers to put a short feature together and bring it to the rest of the Challenge competitors. Watch the Hot News for details on how you can add value to our sport.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Part 1: Firefighter Combat Challenge and TV

Part 1: Firefighter Combat Challenge and TV

In 1992, at our inaugural championship, FETN did a 30-minute special feature that was distributed to their satellite customers. In 1993 we were on ESPN and stayed there for 10 years with a one-hour show. For a variety of reasons discussed below, our show was not renewed and we have subsequently moved to Versus.

The purpose of this article is to provide the reader with an overview of how television works, how we fit into the equation and what are our plans for the future. As always, every Challenge competitor is solicited for his or her opinion and suggestions on how we can grow the sport. So, here goes.

TV comes in two flavors; network and cable/satellite. Advertisers pay for production costs and content is freely distributed with the hope that viewers will purchase their product. With cable, the subscriber pays for content with some channels also subsidized by commercials.

Sport on TV is an interesting model. Because some sports are so attractive to the masses, sponsors will provide lots of money to associate their product with those qualities that we hold so dear- strength, speed, etc. Professional sports attract varying levels of paid attendance. The rights-holders (team owners) can command large sums of money to control access to their events. They do this through ticket sales as well as broadcast rights. The Firefighter Combat Challenge does not have sufficient general, or even special market appeal to command a gate (the money you pay to get in). Until we are able to demand that people pay to see our act, we’re going to be severely limited in what we can do on TV.

Academic sports as differentiated from professional sports are actually the farm system for the majors; ergo they command a gate. Minor sports (wrestling, track, etc.) are able to sometimes collect a fee if sufficient friends and relatives come to watch the event and are held hostage. This simply analogy to other organized sports and the Firefighter Combat Challenge should help your understanding as to where we are when it comes to bargaining for visibility in an already cluttered field of entertainment. Said another way, while our Challenge competitors may have the fitness of world-class athletes, there are insufficient numbers of people in the general market to command an entrance fee.

If you saw the first Firefighter Combat Challenge appearance on ESPN, I doubt that you would have been impressed. We’d like to think that we’ve come a long way. But, the Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge is not in a category where the viewing public will pay to attend or even pay to watch it on VOD. So how can we change that? Well, as always, we’re open to your thoughts on what you think that the masses- not your family or friends would like to see. Keep in mind, TV is about audience appeal, and audiences vote with the remote at the speed of light. Don’t like this program?, no problem, there are hundreds of others to surf through.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Tandem Revisited

Before we start the 2009, now is a good time to revisit our Tandem program. Clearly, there’s a lot of traction as evidenced by the huge increase in numbers this past year. The Tandem was Jay Staeden’s creation. He posited the concept on one of our morning runs. We dropped the double run for a couple of reasons, the first being the amount of time it takes for a double run.

We strongly urge all new players to use the Tandem as their entrée to the Challenge. It’s a good way to get a gauge of where you are before alternatively making a fool of yourself, or getting in too deep. With what appears to be a need to get more women engaged, the tandem eliminates the problems of rounding up entire team. In fact, we can find a partner, much as a pick-up round of golf, if you don’t already have some one to partner with. Cory, Mike, Bill, Chuck, Jeannie have all had great comments and I invite their posting here.

Register through Google with a legitimate user name. Courteous exchanges are the norm here.

The first proposal, which has already been eclipsed by some of the CAB member suggestions was to break the Dummy Drag in half. So, have at it.