Monday, August 27, 2012

Rookie of the Year Criteria & New Award

To date we have not had a formal set of criteria for the Rookie of the Year. Subsequently, the Awards Committee has established that the term “Rookie” applies to an individual who runs the full Challenge course for the first time in that year- as opposed to participating as a tandem or relay team member in that year or any prior year.

The award is not based solely on the fastest time, but includes other factors including numbers of runs, percent of improvement, sportsmanship and dedication to the sport and the fire service. In other words, a person who exemplifies the spirit of the Challenge.

Beginning this season, we are proud to announce the Rookie of the Year Award will be known as the Lion- PJ Bean Rookie of the Year Award.

PJ Bean, 29, was a firefighter and paramedic in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, who tragically drowned in Memorial Creek in Madison, South Dakota in May of 2012. He was in Madison visiting family over the weekend and celebrating his brother's graduation from Dakota State University.

In 2011, Bean was a competitor in the Challenge on Team Tuscaloosa. Since his death, his teammates have memorialized Bean by placing stickers on their helmets, and renaming their team "Tuscaloosa Running for PJ."

Born in Mitchell, South Dakota, his family moved to Alaska when he was very young, where he studied at the University of Alaska, before moving to Alabama. His goal was to be a paramedic on the SWAT team, and he was recently accepted into the University of South Dakota, where he could earn a degree to get him closer to his SWAT paramedic goal. In August of 2012, he was to move to South Dakota.

Along with being awarded a life-saving medal in 2009, Bean was present and aided in responding to the devestating tornado that ravaged Tuscaloosa in April 2011.

The Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge is extremely proud to name our Rookie of the Year Award after PJ Bean, as a former member of our community. He was a brilliant example of a great firefighter, and a model for the qualities that make for a great Challenge competitor.

Friday, August 17, 2012

This Just In....

Lots of stuff to cover in this BlogSpot, so hang on.

1. US Nationals: short story, we tried mightily to make the USS Midway work. Two planning meetings, in San Diego with the engineering department and a date identified. A contract was created and it started through channels without any indication of any issues. Then, before the contract was executed, the Midway Foundation wanted to punt this to next year. The bottom line is it’s just too hard. Sounded good in theory, but in reality, not going to happen, ever. So, we’re scrambling. Walt White has been knocking on doors as has Cliff Walker and Bob Pfohl. I believe we’ll have a destination for you soon. Out of respect for our West Coast competitors, we want to put this on in California- somewhere. My apologies for this taking so long. Because it looked like it was a lock after our second meeting, we did not build out a contingency plan. Some things are just beyond your control. 

Windsor (aka Parker Construction) is working on Lyrics!
2. Canadian National Anthem: in our survey, one of our Canadians brought to our attention that we did not play their national anthem when a team came south of the border. Following the protocol of MLB, the National Anthem of the home team is played- only. For sure, we can’t do this at the World Championships when we have nine countries represented. But, it will be our policy to recognize any Canadian at a US event by playing O Canada! Last week, I offered Windsor the privilege of singing the lyrics at the opening ceremony. They said that they’d pass; but, they mentioned that the Fire Department had a recording of some of their firefighters singing the anthem. We’d like to get that in an M3! 

3. Survey Monkey: Speaking of which, I have a lot of content for upcoming Blogs from the robust nature of comments we’ve been getting from the survey. All of these comments are appreciated, even the criticisms. After all, that’s how we improve our customer service. Trying to communicate with the constituents of the Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge is like hitting a moving target. We try to disseminate timely information at the event. But that’s only good for who’s there. The Hot News is supposed to be that: Hot News. But do people read it? Don’t know. One thought was to send a short update to every email of record. Not that hard, assuming that people actually fill in the fields when they check in. We don’t want a repeat of a situation a few years back when a team showed up for the final day of racing, having assumed that they had a bye. Holy cow. 

4. Speaking of Checking In: We received some complaints in the Survey that “I’ve not received my participation certificate.” We’re pretty good, but we can’t divine mailing addressed on the basis of a name only. If you haven’t received your certificate, send us an email, with your mailing address- and we’ll get it out to you. I can’t stress enough the frustration of attempting to track down a firefighter without a cell phone number of email address. Pretend that you won the lottery and you want us to mail you the check. One more thing: we hate screwing up the pronunciation of people’s names. There’s a place to enter: “How do you pronounce your name?” Do the best job you can to spell your last name phonetically. Also, it won’t hurt to put something down about yourself. I jokingly said, we should default the field to “alleged sex offender” and if you enter nothing, that would be Mike’s comments- but it’s only alleged. 

Saturday, August 4, 2012

And Disaster Strikes Again

Are we snake bit or what? I described our deluge in Montgomery; that cost us a mixer and the Sennheiser wireless microphone- and a tent. In Sandusky, we had micro switches and relays in the Keiser and the timing system that had to be replaced. So, when we pulled into Fishers, we checked the weather and were pleased to see that there was no storm activity pending- at least until later Saturday afternoon. 

But disaster came from an unexpected quarter: a medivac helicopter that was to be on display at the venue- came in on a low pass just above the tree line and literally blew the course away. The accompanying photo graphically demonstrates the scope of the damage. The finish line, fabricated from schedule 40 aluminum tubing was broken in two places. The clocks crashed to the ground, ripping the connecting cables from their sockets. The main control cable was likewise ripped. 

The thresholds were flipped and their connects trashed. Chief Steve Orusa suggested  that we postponed the day’s races. But Chuck DeGrandpre, in his characteristic, can-do manner set our crack road crew in motion to begin the repair process. Clint Lamb, Roger Shuttlesworth and Bill Alexander each took on a project.  In a few short hours, we had the timing system functioning, the finish line was welded with the assistance of the Town of Fishers Public Works Department welder. 

I can’t say enough about the ability of our Road Crew to rebound after what seems to be an unceasing string of adversities. Now, with all this bad luck behind us, let’s hope for clear sailing for the balance of the season.