National firefighter competition taking place at State Fair

Published 1:02 pm Saturday, July 21, 2018

by Virginia Farm Bureau

Firefighters from communities across the commonwealth will hoist hoses, climb towers and carry mannequins to safety during the Firefighter Combat Challenge taking place Sept. 28 and 29 during the State Fair of Virginia at The Meadow Event Park in Caroline County.

The Firefighter Combat Challenge promotes and showcases the talents, skills and athleticism of America’s firefighters in an exciting and entertaining sports competition.

It has been dubbed “The Competition with a Purpose” and seeks to encourage and reward firefighter fitness while demonstrating the profession’s rigors to the public.

“We are so excited that the Firefighter Combat Challenge will be held during this year’s State Fair,” said Marlene Jolliffe, the fair’s executive director. “Many local county and city fire departments will participate, and the event is a great way to engage different communities who can come to the fair and cheer on their home teams.”

The challenge simulates essential skills of firefighting, including climbing a tower in full bunker gear; dragging and hoisting fire hoses; simulating forcible entry; and racing around obstacles.

The competition begins at the base of a five-story tower with 63 steps. Competitors will move a 42-pound hose load and cover to the structure’s top.

The forcible entry event utilizes a chopping simulator. Using a 9-pound shot mallet with both feet on a diamond plate surface, competitors must drive the sled—a 160-pound steel beam—a horizontal distance of 5 feet.

For the victim rescue portion of the challenge, participants must lift and drag a 175-pound mannequin backwards 100 feet. There also are two competitions that focus on hose advancing and hoisting.      

In addition to the main challenge, there also will be a Kid’s Firefighter Challenge. Children of all ages can test their skills on a course filled with real firefighter gear, tools and challenges.

The Firefighter Combat Challenge was broadcast on ESPN for more than a decade and has been seen by millions worldwide. It attracts hundreds of U.S. and Canadian municipal fire departments and thousands of competitors each year to more than 20 North American locations.

Anyone interested in participating, can register at For more information, visit the State Fair’s website.

The 2018 State Fair of Virginia will run from Sept. 28 through Oct. 7. Information is available at

The State Fair is held each fall at its permanent home at The Meadow Event Park in Caroline County. The fair’s mission is to increase agricultural and natural resource awareness and interest through educational programs, exhibitions and competitions in a fun, family-friendly setting.