Lake Charles, other firefighters compete in combat challenge

Lake Charles, other firefighters compete in combat challenge

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Firefighters from across the country gathered in Lake Charles Saturday to put their skills to the test.

"The course will whoop you if you don't stay on top of the course," said Oliver Wells, firefighter from Montgomery, Ala.

Saturday's competition was the first time Wells competed in the challenge. His team is last year's world champions.

"I saw the team and I figured it would be something I could benefit from and I could be an asset to and that's what drove me to come out and try out for the team," said Wells.

The Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge is called the toughest two minutes in sports.

"I cross-fit. I do races. I do all kinds of things but this is the most physical thing you can do. It was on ESPN for about 15 years," said Cheri Ardoin, industrial firefighter for Axiall.

The challenge is known to push competitors to their limits but Ardoin said it is nothing less than what an average firefighter faces on any given day.

"It is the rigors of what a firefighter does in his everyday duties," she said.

Teams compete in a relay style for the challenge.

First, they lug 45 pounds of water hose up six flights of stairs only to pull another 45 pounds of water hose up the same distance with a rope.

"Then you run down the stairs. There is a 160 pound I-beam that you have to chop with an eight pound hammer. You have to move it five feet. That's kind of like chopping into the roof of a house. You run the cones. That's kind of like running around hydrants. You have to drag three sections of charged water hose and knock down a target with the water," Ardoin explained.

Firefighters then have to drag a 175 pound dummy more than 100 feet down the parking lot.

Carl Dickerson, a Nelson Station Volunteer Firefighter, said despite the physical challenges it's something he looks forward to year after year.

"Coming out here and being with the other firefighters, it's great camaraderie. Good people come out here and we have a lot of fun. It brings a lot of people together," he said.

Winning teams from Saturday's regional competition will advance to the national competition this fall.

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