Friday, February 13, 2015

Minute Details Make the Difference

The 2014 Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge® Road Crew
We greatly appreciate the incredible amount of work that goes into training for the Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge®.

Everyone who’s run the course more than once is obsessed with setting a new PR. It is our intent as the managers of this august, amateur sports event to provide every Competitor with exactly the same setup, run after run.

To the casual spectator, the little details go unnoticed. But, to the veteran, they have an expectation that all the props are working and exactly where they belong. From the moment that we take possession of the paved surface that will be the focal point for the next several days, we’re driven to optimize the playing field to the best advantage of all competitors.

This includes the orientation of East to West to eliminate shadows and the grade that’s a part of every parking lot- that water has to run off somewhere.

So, here’s a run down of the actual mechanics of how we manage the event- from the perspective of almost a quarter of a century of experience.

Each and every single square inch and prop on the racecourse of the Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge is the focal point of the setup and event crew- as much as is humanly possible. Rain or shine.

We are physically limited on how fast we can run the next set of competitors by the length of time it takes the referees to finish their scorecard for each competitor and walking that form back to the start area at the base of the tower. It averages out to 3:35. This is how we as a team, using a host of volunteers, can reset the course for 200 competitors over a 5-hour duration with very little problems - when we have enough of those volunteers to assist and adhere to the disciplined routines.  The 135-foot walk (270 feet both ways) over 100 times adds up. That’s closing in on 6 miles if you do the math.

Before and/or after every run, here are the critical tasks that are performed to ensure consistency. Here’s a run down of tasks:
• Checking that the handrails are secured- and stay that way
• The 1¾” attack lines are replaced by matching the tape on the hose to the marks on the course.
• Ensuring that the exact placement of the Lion hammer mat
• Turning the donut rolls 90-degrees so they do not strike the landing overhangs
• Securing the lower hand rails to the tower vertical uprights - (Cory McGee)
• Pulling down the bunker coat on the Rescue Randy
• Lubrication and cleaning of the Keiser props (50/50 denatured alcohol and water followed by DuPont Teflon) –
• Heating of the stainless steel Keiser trays to 110°- F
• Temperature controlled environment for warming the heads of the hammers (between 80-degrees F min. to 108-degrees F max.)
• Preloading of the shot-filled sledge hammers with one (1) solid strike to the end of the Keiser 160-pound I-beam
• Facing the preloaded hammer toward the mat, or outsides of the course respectively, red & blue so that competitors know which side has been treated
• Identification of exactly where the hammer rests at a predetermined and replicable angle (11-degrees from plumb)

We all take huge pride in what we do for each and every competitor.  All while attempting to maintain objectivity, fairness and equality as you would wish for any person acting in the capacity of officiating, which with a diverse and unique bunch of fire service best-of-the-best representatives, is all worthwhile, exciting and fun; and we all feel honored to serve.

The Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge® Road Crew
Ron Beckman, Ron Dove, Roger & Belinda Shuttlesworth, Kirk Tanner, Kofi Wallace, Eugene McPeek, Dietmar Pushar, Mike Word & Amy Word, Mike Riley, Daniel Pace, Michael DeGrandpre, Jim DeGrandpre, Todd & Melissa Shelton, Duane & Amanda Breman, Brent Davis, John Tillett, John Grandby

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