The Altus Firefighters “Team Dr Pepper” competed in the Firefighter Combat Challenge regional competition in Arlington, Texas over the weekend.
It proved to be the toughest regional in terms of competition, as well as course difficulty. There were over 120 firefighters from eight states competing in the two day event in the parking lot of the Texas Rangers baseball stadium. The individuals races were on Saturday, and six Altus firefighters competed on day one. David Monroe, Blake Hasty, Michael Grayson, Chase Duncan, Jake Babcock, and Blake Dwyer all ran the individual event. The course was the most difficult it has been all year, and times were much slower than they have been. Everyone ran slower times, with the exception of Jake Babcock. He ran a personal record 1:41.78 and narrowly missed making the Lion’s Den, which is earned with a time faster than 1:40.
“I was proud of the effort from all of the guys that ran,” said Jimmy Rogers, Team Captain. “The sleds were really slow, and the rough surface made the hose drag brutal. The fatigue would set in and that made the dummy drags really slow.” That said, Babcock posted his fastest time ever, finishing 12th out of 112 competitors, just missing his first top ten finish. “Jake ran a great race and I thought he was going to earn his Lion’s Den Jacket,” said Rogers. “Finishing ahead of several Lions Den members shows the difficulty of the course, and how well he did. I expect him to make it at Nationals.”
The tandem competition involves two competitors, with each doing half of the course. It always loaded because the firefighters don’t have to be from the same department. The top individual competitors will often team up and post extremely fast times. Altus Team Dr Pepper was well represented on the podium. Jimmy Rogers, and his partner from Little Rock fire won first place in the over 50, posting the fastest time nationally this season. In the open Babcock finished 2nd, and Blake Hasty finished 3rd by less than a second, to knock off some of the top competitors in the open division. “It was really impressive to see the young guys take two of the three spots on the podium in the toughest division,” said Rogers.
The over 50 relay team won the over 40 relay tournament, and the open relay team lost a close race, narrowly missing the final four and a chance at a medal. They finished 5th in the stacked open division.
“Thanks to all of our sponsors and supporters, especially James and Carla Thompson from Vernon Dr Pepper,” sad Rogers. “This wouldn’t be possible without everyone!”
In all, it was a very successful weekend. There are plenty of goals not met yet, but the guys will have a month to prepare for nationals in Farmers Branch, Texas.