Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Challenge on the Mall

Our first appearance on the US Capitol Mall took place in April of 1994. In the mind of the US Department of the Interior, this is sacred ground. The number of hoops through which one must jump are significant. Forms have to be filled out and submitted in triplicate. Preference is given to ethnic types of displays and activities, and we sure didn’t meet that criteria. With the assistance of the Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI) we were able to cut through a lot of the red tape and arrange for a $5000 bond. We had to hire a couple of US Park Police officers for reasons that we couldn’t quite figure out until later.

This was the first year that Scott Safety joined the tour and their contributions included supplying the bleachers and the scaffolding through their then affiliate Safway Scaffolding company- a part of the Figgie International group.

Every competitor who participated in this event remembers with fondness the hose drag on the grass. No one would ever have believed that pulling hose in tall grass could be so difficult. Many opined that this is one of the most difficult tasks that they’ve ever encountered. I can recall seeing several guys nearly horizontal in their attempts to stretch the line to the gate.

But, the incredible backdrop of the Washington Monument to our event was well worth all the effort. The photo array in this month’s Flickr account is testimony to that grand and glorious day. The Challenge looks pretty sparse- completely understandable since we had no truck for transportation of our equipment until Hackney stepped up and sponsored the Support Vehicle. Prior to that everything was done by North American Van Lines. Coordinating arrival times in the pre-cell phone days was a daunting task.

Look over the photos and send along your thoughts- especially if you were there. We’d love to hear from you. By the way, the purpose for the Park Police was to issue tickets to the firefighters. That’s like hiring your wife’s divorce attorney!

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