Firefighters are a competitive bunch, but this weekend the Brookshire's Combat Firefighter Challenge has individuals and teams pushing themselves to the limit as they vie to be the top dog in Tyler and earn a spot in the World Championships next month.

The combat challenge has firefighters performing tasks similar to those which are a part of their job in fighting fires. 

During the competition, firefighters carry a 42-pound fire hose up four flights of stairs, hoist a 40-pound roll of fire hose up to the top, run down the stairs, use a sledgehammer to move a 190-pound sled, run a serpentine course, pull a fully charged fire hose and hit a target before finishing by pulling a 180-pound dummy. 

"It isn't as easy as it looks, and we have some really good competition out here today and tomorrow. Yesterday, we had a guy run a 1:21, and that is just crazy," Tyler Firefighter and Organizer Brent Hail said Friday. 

Members of the Tyler Firefighter Combat Challenge "Over 40" Team are Hail, Jeff Barnett, Brandon Davis, Terry Hawkins and Randy Lee, while Jeremy Driver, Jeff Hudgens, Brian Boyd, Cody Fisher and Patrick Mayo make up Tyler's open class team.

Members of the Scott Firefighter Challenge Team, which puts on the competition across the nation, said there are 18 relay teams and 54 tandem teams in Tyler to compete. 

Cory McGee, 37, who is stationed at Whiteman Air Force Base, said he was pleased with his individual time of 1:21 on the course which is one of the fastest times in the competition's history. 

"This is my 12th year. This is my fastest time ever. I feel pretty good. The course is fast, and I am healthy and feel good this year," he said. 

Hail said the Tyler teams are placed for Saturday's competition, and it is now time to bring everything.

"We hope to have a good crowd tomorrow, and we will begin at 10 a.m. with the ceremonial portion, including the mayor speaking and a flyover," he said.

The event is free to the public and is in the parking lot by Sears at Broadway Square Mall. The competition is scheduled to conclude at about 2 p.m.


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