Milford played host to nearly 100 of the toughest firefighter in the country last weekend to kickoff the 2010 SCOTT Firefighter Combat Challenge.
Three Clermont County men competed with Miami Township’s Ross Pawlak placing 16th overall.
Milford’s competition was sponsored by the Miami Township Professional firefighter Union AFF3768 in partnership with the Miami Township Fire/EMS Department, Milford Community Fire Department and the Milford-Miami Township Chamber of Commerce.
The event, billed as the "toughest two minutes in sports," puts firefighter in full gear then sends them through an obstacle course that stops the heartiest of men and women in their tracks. The firefighter must carry a 42 pound hose up five flights of stairs where they pull another 42 pound hose up as it hangs from a rope. On the way back down the tower they must hit every step before moving a 160 pound steel sled
with a nine pound rubberized sledgehammer to simulate a force entry into a building. From there they run a serpentine course between fire hydrants before dragging another fire hose through a doorway and hitting a target with water. The final grueling challenge is dragging a 175 pound "Rescue Randy" mannequin 100 feet across the finish line.
The competition is open to both men and women, although only one woman, former Marine officer Carrie McAtee competed last weekend in Milford. She finished the course in 4:38.91.
What began as a job interview in 1976 has evolved into a fierce competition among firefighter nationwide. The first competition was held in 1991 and it has grown every year since. In addition to providing inspiration for good fitness among the firefighter, the competition also gives them a chance to show the public just how demanding their job is.
A large crowd of spectators lined the sides of the course in the Target parking lot in Milford Saturday afternoon despite a brisk wind. Saturday's event focused on individual performance and provided exciting competition.
The announcers made it clear that the competition can be dangerous for anyone with even minor health issues and each firefighter was carefully monitored throughout the competition.
Union Township's Scott Childs proved just how grueling the challenge can be when his race was ended just 50 feet from the finish line. Safety crews determined Childs was unable to catch his breath and needed to bow out.
Two Miami Township firefighter competed Saturday with Ross Pawlak taking 16th place with a time of 2:08.04 and Tom Porter taking 43rd with a personal record time of 2:53.89.
Sunday's competition featured team competition. Miami Township's relay team made it into the top 16.
Those who made the qualifying time will move on to the national championships featured on ESPN at Myrtle Beach, S.C. this November.