A team of Drumheller Firefighters from the Drumheller, Rosedale and East Coulee Hall are heading to the national championship Firefit competition at Spruce Meadows in September.
On June 17 and 18, Merv Smith, Duane Bolin, Keith Hodgson, Jeff Gerlinger, Jon Molzahn and Phil Thompson competed at the Southern Alberta Regional Firefit Competition at Spruce Meadows, and they represented Drumheller well.
In the team relay, over 50 age category, Smith, Bolin and Hodgson won gold with a time of 1:58. Thompson, Gerlinger and Molzahn won gold in the over 40 team relay with a time of 1:34.
In the two-person tech event, which includes swapping an Air Pack mid-event, Bolin and Smith won gold in their category with a time of 2:26. Gerlinger and Molzahn finished with a respectable time of 2:10.
In the individual events, Bolin won gold in the Chief category and the over 55 category. Thompson won gold in the over 50 category. Smith and Molzahn each had respectable times, and Gerlinger, in his first FireFit competition broke the two-minute mark with a quick 1:56.
The crew dedicated their performance to the memory of Charlene Vescarelli and her family, who have been part of the Drumheller Fire Department family for years.
These results allowed them to qualify for the national event, coming up in Spruce Medows on September 10 and 11.
“All six of us who went to this event will be going to nationals, and Kyle Smith may try to qualify,” said Bolin. “All five that competed individually qualified.”
He explains a competitor has to compete well at a regional competition to qualify, and Kyle may compete in Regina if possible before the Spruce Meadows event.
While Bolin and Smith are no strangers to the national competition, this will be a first-time event for some of the younger competitors, and they are looking forward to it. The competition will be fierce.
“You will get the top competitors from the regions and the provinces,” said Bolin. “Our thought was to get there and qualify, and work towards better times at nationals.”