The Altus Firefighters competed in the Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge World Championships in Myrtle Beach, S.C. this last weekend.
It was cold and cloudy in Myrtle Beach, but the rain held off on the final day for the relay tournament. They had three relay teams competing on the final day. The Old School Dr Pepper over 50 team consisting of three Altus Firefighters, Ralph Walker, Tommy Sadler, retired fire chief, Kenny Ward, plus Rick Portilloz from Sand Springs and Al Ertzner from Nebraska. They had the fastest time of the prelims, but was edged out in the finals in a close race by the defending World Champions by 0.87 seconds.
“We look forward to next year since the over 40 team will be over 50 getting us back to an Altus Dr Pepper team once again,” said Jimmy Rogers.
Altus Firefighters Team Dr Pepper over 40 relay team had some trouble and turned in a slow seeding run on Wednesday, and were rained out on Thursday. The first race in the tournament was against the five time defending World Champions from Clayton County (Atlanta). “It was a great race that was back and forth until the end with Altus losing a close one,” said Rogers. “It looked like the world championship run in 2007 when we raced them for the championship. It was close to the end with Clayton County edging us out at the end. We ran 1.8 seconds faster than our World Record run in 2004, and it was only good enough for 5th place.”
The Dr Pepper open team competed against the fastest teams In the world. They had a decent preliminary run, but were also rained out on Thursday. They won their first race and eventually lost to one of the top Canadian teams from Brampton, missing out on the Sweet Sixteen and finishing 21st in the field of 64.
“They were running short handed, so they had people running out of their natural positions. To finish that high is pretty impressive. I expect big things from them next year.”
Kenny Ward and Rick Portilloz ran the over 50 tandem and finished 3rd after finishing 2nd last year. It is always a good trip when you can go to the world championships and come home with medals, but we left wanting more. Their goal now is to get back to work, get stronger, and do better in all categories next year.
Altus team Dr Pepper is sponsored by James and Carla Thompson of Thompson Distributing.