Academy to hold firefighter combat challenge

U.S. Air Force Academy firefighter Patrick Kraft shows off his hose technique Aug. 11, 2006, during the 2006 Firefighter Combat Challenge regional competition in Westminster, Colo.Kraft will compete with Team USAFA in 2009 after strong finishes in World Firefighter Combat Challenges in 2006, 2007 and 2008. The 2009 challenge is open to the public and will be held at the Air Force Academy. (U.S. Air Force photo/John Van Winkle)

U.S. Air Force Academy firefighter Patrick Kraft shows off his hose technique Aug. 11, 2006, during the 2006 Firefighter Combat Challenge regional competition in Westminster, Colo.Kraft will compete with Team USAFA in 2009 after strong finishes in World Firefighter Combat Challenges in 2006, 2007 and 2008. The 2009 challenge is open to the public and will be held at the Air Force Academy. (U.S. Air Force photo/John Van Winkle)

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- The Air Force Academy is scheduled to hold a Firefighter Combat Challenge regional competition at Falcon Stadium, June 26 at 3 p.m. and June 27 at 10 a.m. 

The public is invited to attend the competition. 

The Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge brings together hundreds of firefighters from around the country to compete in ESPN has called the "toughest two minutes in sports." 

The five-event obstacle course tests firefighters' fitness levels and agility.
Several teams from the Air Force Academy Fire Department will compete. For the past decade, the Academy Fire Department is a consistent finalist at the world firefighter combat challenge, recording top 20 and top-10. 

The Academy Fire Department is also fielding several new teams this year, Team USAFA, Team USAFA Relay, USAFA over-40 Relay, USAFA's Terrible Tandem, USAFA GIs, USAFA Anchors and the all-female team, USAFA Femme Bots. The womens' team also includes talent from Colorado Springs, consisting of Academy firefighters Elaine Perkins, Andrea Caraway and Jessica Morehouse, as well as Stacy Billapondo from the Colorado Springs Fire Department. Billapondo is the number one-ranked female firefighter in the nation. 

Other bases represented include Peterson Air Force Base, Colo.; F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo.; Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio; and a team from the Department of Defense Firefighting Academy at Goodfellow AFB, Texas. Civilian fire departments represented include the Colorado Springs Fire Department, Monument's Donald Westcott Fire Department, as well as teams from Boulder; Westminster; Lubbock, Texas; Rapid City, S.D. and Sheridan, Wyo. 

The firefighter combat challenge requires firefighters to wear full bunker gear and a Scott Air-Pak SCBA while completing a rigorous course comprised of five events: a five-story stair climb with a 45-pound hose, a hose hoist, forcible entry/Keiser Force Machine, a hose advance and victim rescue. Each event represents a job task specific to firefighting and tests each firefighter's resilience and agility. 

Firefighters can compete as individuals, in teams of five, or in relay teams of two or five people. But all are running against the clock. If an individual firefighter or a single relay team finishes the course in under two minutes, he or she advances to the nationals. If a team of five firefighters has a combined time of less than seven minutes from their three best times, that team advances to the nationals. 

Children can also get in on the act. In addition to the firefighter combat challenge, On Target Challenge will bring the Kid's Firefighter Combat Challenge to Falcon Stadium.
This event affords children ages 4-12 the opportunity to live out their dreams of being a firefighter on a scaled-down version of the FCC course.