North Carolina Firefighters Seek Shot In National Competition

Local firefighters got a chance to put on their gear and work for fun Friday as Broadway at the Beach hosted the Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge.

The event, in Myrtle Beach for the second-straight year, has brought together firefighters from around the country to compete for a spot in World Challenge XIII, the sport's crowning event.

Both the Myrtle Beach Fire Department and Horry County Fire Rescue were represented in Friday's team relay competition, and both had national qualifiers.

A team from each agency finished the course in less than two minutes to reach the World Challenge, held later this year in Las Vegas.

Officials from Myrtle Beach, which finished in the top 40 in the world last year, say they will compete in the World Challenge, and Horry County hopes to find the funds to send a team.

Myrtle Beach advanced past Friday's opening round and finished among the event's top eight teams. Sam Squad of California won the title.

The competition consists of firefighters going through a barrage of activities including climbing five flights of stairs, carrying and pulling hoses, hitting targets with water and dragging dummies that weigh 175 pounds across the ground.

"They say it's the toughest two minutes in sports," Lt. Dan Walker of the Myrtle Beach Fire Department said. "... It's something the team has to train for year-round because the competition is fierce."

The competition resumes at 11 a.m. today, when firefighters will compete individually.

Myrtle Beach firefighter Ryan Werner, who qualified and competed in the world championships in Ontario last year, will again compete today.

"That's when it gets tough, because you have to do the whole course by yourself," said Chief Garry Alderman of Horry County Fire Rescue.

The event is free and is near Hard Rock Cafe.