Faces in the Crowd: Rapid City Fire Department Combat Challenge Team

A group of firefighters is setting the example that hard work equates to success.

RAPID CITY, S.D. – The Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge is billed as the two toughest minutes in sports. For these firefighters, staying fit is much more than just a part of the job – it’s a passion.

The difference between good fitness and great fitness can mean the difference between life and death.

Rapid City Combat Challenge Team member, Lee Vidal, described the course – and it sounds exhausting!

The Scott Firefighter Challenge was a requirement up until 2012. Firefighters were required to conquer it in seven minutes.

Five members make up the Rapid City Combat Challenge Team. They raise funds and receive donations to travel the U.S. representing the RCFD at competitions. Competing makes these professional rescuers even better at what they do for a living.

The combat challenge gives firemen a way to test themselves both mentally and physically. It also provides a way to stay in good physical condition to help them get through the rigors of the job.

The 2018 season has come to an end for the team, and it has been the best season in RCFD history.

Paco Ciocarlan, team member, says, “To see that internal drive where you stack up, is that enough across the nation? It might be okay for here, but where do you really stack up? I think we proved we could hang this year – No. 2 out of the U.S. and No. 6 overall. I think that really proves that we could hang with the big boys and that we are a legitimate team.”

Marshall Keefe, team member says, “It’s not only physical but it is mental. It’s exhausting; it is hard. When you hear your team members yelling at you or you see them there or even in training yelling at you, you can go just that little bit extra step and a little bit quicker. It’s just like being on the job – we have that bond when we work. It’s the same thing out on the course.”

Vidal says, “When you go out to these competitions … you’re meeting people from all over the world and it’s pretty amazing … I ran against the guy from New Zealand in Sacramento this year, and it was pretty cool to hear the stories in the similarities of the job that spans all across the country and the world.”

This humble team spends their personal time training, raising funds and competing and say it’s all possible with the help of the community.

Vidal says the community should know that their firefighters are going to keep pushing hard and making Rapid City proud.

“And to the kids at home – if they’re thinking about becoming a firefighter – set your goals – achieve your goals and make your mom proud.”

The team had an amazing year. Among all their accolades, two team members placed the fastest 50 in the world. And at world finals, they were named the second fastest American team and earned sixth place overall.

Click here for more on the team’s journey.

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Categories: Faces in the Crowd, Local News