Fire fighters faced additional challenge at Combat Challenge competition

Published 7:09 pm Friday, December 15, 2006

Never give up and always bring extra cash when traveling to Nevada, especially if the reason for the trip is to compete in the World Finals of the Fire Fighter’s Combat Challenge.

Early last month, from Nov. 7 to 11, five of Picayune Fire Department’s finest went to Henderson, Nev., to compete in the world finals of the combat challenge. Fire fighter Joe Mack Russell said the team — consisting of himself, Anthony Lossett, Noel Burge, Cruz Russell and Josh Abercrombie — had one of their best times on the first attempt at qualifying, 1 minute, 43 seconds on the obstacle course. Russell said they knew they could get a better time so they practiced that evening on the course with permission and tried again the next day. That practice session helped them get a qualifying time of 1minute, 33 seconds. A penalty for missing an obstacle added five seconds to that time, still the team was able to qualify, he said.

The time gave the team a qualifying placement of 54 out of the 100 competing, granting Picayune’s team the right to compete in the last day of competition when only the top 64 would be eligible to compete, Joe Russell said. However, time and financial limitations kept Picayune’s team from competing on the last day of the competition, Joe Russell said. Their hotel was booked for only two days and the team ran out of money. Picayune’s team did not find out they qualified for the last day until they arrived back in Picayune, Joe Russell said.

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“If we would have had more money, we could have stayed longer,” Joe Russell said.

Joe Russell said Training Officer Barry Lee bought more equipment for the team to train with to prepare for next year’s competition since they plan to attend more competitions. Donations to help fund their next competition can be directed to the fire department.