Local firefighter brings home national win

RAPID CITY, S.D.- The Rapid City Fire Department is always busy serving the community, and a few members take time out of their schedules to compete on the RCFD Combat Challenge Team. This group travels to compete in the Firefighter Challenge, and one member has snagged a national win.

Morgan Helton

Credit: Firefighter Challenge

Morgan Helton, Firefighter/EMT with the Rapid City Fire Department, competed in the local leg of the Firefighter Combat Challenge this summer, and continued on to compete in others in the region. “Big Sky, Montana, Rapid City, and then I went to Bismarck, North Dakota,” Helton lists. “So three regional competitions and they’re all about the same caliber of competition…I got to compete against a couple of Canadian women when I went to Bismarck and that was a very cool experience as well.”

After tallying the results over the competition season, Helton took home the Grand National Champion award, since she collected the most points of any female competitor. She attributes much of her success to the support of her own team and even her competitors. She enjoys “the camaraderie between all the different teams…being competitive against each other, but also building each other up and trying to encourage each other to do our best.”

Helton says that on both calls and the challenge course, everyone is simply a firefighter supporting other firefighters. “They’re always super loud cheering on the females just to do their best and finish strong. And they want to see us be as successful as they are. Really, we’re all a bunch of brothers here, even though we’re brothers and sisters. But it’s like a family here,” she adds. 

This family atmosphere is what drew Morgan to become a firefighter. “I originally wanted to be a nurse and then I joined a fire department to get the EMS experience. But I had to do fire as well at the same department I was at, and I ended up getting hooked.”

The family atmosphere in Rapid City though is what kept her here. “If you ever need a helping hand or somebody needs some help, we’re always there for each other, and it’s great to have that outside of work, especially for those that move out of state like I did,” says Helton. 

The Firefighter Challenge is designed to put practical firefighting skills to the test. It’s a race with events like stair climbs, rope pulls, forced entries, and other tasks. “I chose to compete in the challenge because I think it’s important to do your job at high caliber and be physically fit and be an athlete, and I’m a huge proponent of that,” says Helton. “And I think men and women should be able to do the same job because we are doing the same job every day, and I just want to prove that.”

The RCFD Combat Challenge Team is headed to Sandy, Utah Oct. 10-15 to compete in Worlds XXXI.

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News