The last time the Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge competition for Montana was held in Missoula was back in 1998, and the host team is pulling out all the stops this weekend to make this a memorable event.

Coordinator for the event Justin Walsh of the Missoula City Fire Department said the competition is this Saturday and Sunday, September 7 and September 8 in front of Sean Kelly's Pub in downtown Missoula.

"We have the entire block closed off for the weekend," Walsh said. "This is basically the firefighter Olympics. It's a demonstration to the public of what we can, and should, be prepared for on any fire ground activity. We'll be carrying a hose load up four flights of stairs. We're hauling hose up over the top of that staircase and down again. We're simulating a forcible entry, or a ventilation hole, by hitting a heavy chunk of steel five feet. Then, we're dragging a 175 pound dummy 100 feet as fast as we can."

Walsh said there will be firefighters from all over the country in Missoula to compete this weekend.

"We have competitors coming from Minnesota, Nevada, Washington, Wyoming, and several teams from the state of Montana," Walsh said. "We're looking to have 100 competitors in Missoula this weekend, and they'll be racing as individuals, in tandem and in relays."

Walsh said the competition will begin with opening ceremonies on Saturday.

"The ceremonies will start on Saturday at noon," Walsh said. "The Celtic Dragon Bagpipers will kick off the event, there will be an introduction by the Scott Firefighter Challenge guys, and there will be speeches by the mayor and the fire chief, and the racing will start at about 12:30 p.m."

Walsh said there will be a kids' competition, as well.

"Along with the adult version, there will also be an open children's course both days," Walsh said. "It will be a scaled-down version of what the big guys are doing. We'd like to have all the children and their families come down and take part in the event. Some members of the Grizzly football team will be on hand to help reset the course, along with mascots, like Monte and Ollie the Osprey."

Justin Walsh, Missoula City Fire Department:



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