Fort Gordon firefighters compete at world event in Las Vegas

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News 12 at 11, January 5, 2008

AUGUSTA, Ga. --- It's called the Firefighter Challenge, and members of the Fort Gordon Firefighter Combat Challenge Team played a big part in it. News 12 met up with the firefighters Saturday at the Pizza Joint where they watched the competition on national TV.

The room was filled with excitement. Lots of family, friends, and firefighters were cheering each other on, watching the Fort Gordon Firefighters compete at the world event in Las Vegas.

"This is awesome! Being here with all our friends and all of our firefighters. Seeing ourselves on TV is pretty cool," Assistant Fire Chief, Matthew Williams said.

Over 100 teams and 1,000 competitors from all over the world competed in the firefighter challenge. The competition demonstrates the physical fitness and technical proficiency of the firefighter. They perform tasks they would use in real life situations.

Fort Gordon's five member team finished fifth overall in the World Rankings, and won first place in the Team Relay. Brandon Cunningham and Byron McDonald teamed to win first place in the Tandem Event. And Cunningham won first place for the second year in a row as the Male Individual World Champion.

"I won it last year and I thought second year, you pretty much got this thing whipped. But second time around its tough. A lot of pressure," Brandon Cunningham said.

The world event took place in Las Vegas in November. The Fort Gordon Firefighters had been training for the competition since February. And they said it all paid off.

"I'm proud of them. These guys are great. They did an awesome job this year. We trained hard for it and it was pretty cool," Williams said.

Marcus Peterson competed in both the individual and relay events. He said going to finals in Las Vegas was a great experience for their team.

"We went out there. We won it. We were very excited to bring it back to Fort Gordon. We've never won a championship before so thats exciting," Marcus Peterson said.

All the firefighters agree, the hard work was worth it.

"All the training. All the late nights. All the sweat and tears. It was very hard being away from your family a lot, so it was very well worth it," Peterson said.

"We love meeting with other firefighters and we love getting together as a team," Cunningham said.

The Fort Gordon firefighters started competing in the Firefighter Challenge in 2003.

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