THE YEAR THAT WAS
MAY -NOV. 2004
It was only a few months ago that we all left VEGAS in VEGAS, and traveled back home. Another CHALLENGE tour had past into history, and all the peeps are thinking about other ball-type sports. Some are golfing or any number of other sedentary activities. Others are ripping down a slope somewhere on a board. And you know most of us are already thinking TOUR 05. What a great year in 04, and WCXIII was off the hook. Props to all who were there and lived to tell the story of how exciting the entire week was. TRAVIS AFB, 2004 WORLD CHAMPIONS, how cool is that! MIKE and the whole TRAVIS group are true champions and this is a result of a lot of heart, determination, and of course, sweat and hard work. I know for a fact that they are 110% CHALLENGE and it all came together that night on the course. And to WINDSOR, who claimed another STREAMLIGHT RELAY title. All of whom are stand up guys and a killer team as well. Looking forward to seeing them again soon. And to the over 40 guys from TEAM DR. PEPPER <ALTUS OK>, for becoming the first over 40 relay WORLD CHAMPIONS, they are going to adopt me you know. JACK HICKEY the first over 45 champ, along with CHRISTIAN VEZEAU for the chiefs. And what can you say about the ladies, but chicks do rule sometimes. From VAUGHN in the relays by the slightest of margins over FAIRFAX, to JOSLYNE, SHERI, ANITA, STACY, and TAMMY. The DEERFIELD GIRLS, ESTHER, JACQUELINE. SHENAH, DREA, BONNIE, and BREN. INGRID and the ladies from MIAMI-DADE and PPG, and all the girls who make big noise on the course. A huge tip of the hat to all of you. You really do make the world go around. To the CHAMP, and A. CAVALLO and NAT, along with BRANDON, the future of the CHALLENGE belongs to you. DENNY PEFFER is a REAL man! PETER REID is my hero. And MR. MCGRATTEN is a role model for all of us, I can only hope to be as good of a person as him someday. Hail to one and all for the great show at WCXIII.
Yes, TOUR 04 was one to remember. The fellowship remains solid and true, and the peeps still crave the speed merchants of the CHALLENGE. The times keep dropping, a new group of combatants formed alliances with battle tested vets and the CRUE rolled through this great nation once again. Everywhere the CHALLENGE goes is great and the people of the prospective cities embrace the mighty SCOTT FIREFIGHTER COMBAT CHALLENGE. Shutting down main street in ERIE, the paradise of DEERFIELD BEACH sight of WCXIV, the morning show in ROCKFORD, MYRTLE BEACH just because, the hometown feel of JANESVILLE, the AMIGO AIR SHO in EL PASO, and each and every one of stops along our path in 2004, we salute you. And to all my new friends in FREMONT CALIF, you throw a first rate CHALLENGE. If anyone wants to do a cool road trip, please make the left coast show in FREMONT. In 04 FREMONT was the largest show of the year with around seven thousand or so in attendance to bear witness to a great event. Won by the CHAMP for his first victory. And with the WINE & ARTS FEST going on, around 250,000 or 300,000 people are enjoying this fine NORCAL cities hospitality. The EXPLORERS of FFD were among the finest workers all tour, and everyone in FFD and the city of FREMONT went above and beyond to put on a class show. We are so looking forward to our return, join us won’t you?
Of course, to the people who make it great, we were there to serve all of you. No racers, no CHALLENGE. All the crazy assortment of humanity it takes to make life inside the banner line so great. The HORTONS, LT. ED & the FROS. The MODEL CITIZEN and AXIS, V-MAX and the boys from NORMAN. WINDSOR and the VAUGHN GIRLS, my homies from the OP right here in KANSAS. To PROVIDIENCE, PPG, and BREN & RON. DR. PEPPER both DIET and REGULAR, TRAVIS and the SQUAD. FT. GORDON & BLISS, PALM BEACH CO, and all the hard working members of the fellowship in CANADA. BLUFF CITY, EVANSVILLE, and BYRON, I’ve grown to love the bullhorn. The CHAMP, TONY CAVALLO, and CHIEF JIMMY NEVILLE. SIR OVERCASH, STACY, MR. GILBERT and HOSEZILLA. To the amazing MS. JACKSON who saved my life, and runs a pretty mean CHALLENGE. And to a cast of thousands who make up the fellowship all around the globe, words cannot even begin to express the respect that all of you deserve. Without you there is no CHALLENGE, you are the CHALLENGE, the spirit lives through the hard work and passion all of you feel for your sport. You are truly STARS AMONG HEROS and a great group of folks to be associated with. Thanks for making TOUR 04 so memorable. If there was no you, there would be no us… and I would have to seek employment in the private sector. I’ve tried that.
Thanks to CHLOE, LIZ, KIETH, and all the great singers for honoring us with their voices. And all the honor guards, and pipers, everyone who did anything for anybody at any time for any reason, to ensure the well being of the CHALLENGE, our deepest props. Thanks to the hardest working CRUE in show business, and all the locals across the land for a solid effort. To JAY for being the glue and father figure. Nice job ADRAIN. To ALI, STEPH, and PAULA, you ladies rock for looking after us, and making the CRUE look good. BILLY, the task master with a heart and one tough dude. And RICKY, so glad to get to know such an up standing young man and team player. TILLETT and BRENT, thanks for the hard work and friendship. The brains of the outfit DANIEL, who is without a doubt the absolute coolest mental colossus there is. To RANDY for wrangling the rats so well. And thanks to my brother of over 20 years, DAVE for haulin’ the mail and putting up with me for seven months. He should never have to prove his bravery in any other fashion. And last but not least, thank you DR. PAUL DAVIS III for the vision, and being our fearless leader.
On a personal note. In the end. What does it take to live the CHALLENGE? Lots of very hard work, sacrifice, and a gypsy soul. Plane rides and airports. Miles of pavement and parking lots. Rental cars and backpacks. Hotels, DENNYS, and TABASCO. Zip ties and duct tape. The summer sun and fall chill. Good times and seeing your spirit vanish before your eyes. No sleep and long hours. Distance between loved ones and family. Making new friends and finding old ones. All of these things. And the chance to work around the CHALLENGE fellowship all year. Life is great most of the time and it sucks sometimes, just like in the real world. But we would do it all over again, of course. The CHALLENGE is what we draw our power from. Its all of you that give us life. And what a life, I still can’t believe this is our job. Much love to everybody who supports the CHALLENGE and stay tuned, it gets even better every year. Even though TOUR 05 is well on the way and the CRUE has already begun the tasks leading up to what will be another banner year for the CHALLENGE. A look back to last year was in order. For me, 04 was a tough year to say the least. A lot of hard lessons were learned and real life has a way of kicking your butt sometimes. But the fellowship holds fast and is something you can always count on. All of you know it, and that is part of why we do this. We all gather to see one another and test ourselves against the best in the world. The CHALLENGE is the tie that binds, no matter what path we take in life. We miss it when it’s gone and can’t get enough when we can. It hurts and feels good. It makes us different because it’s something only the few can do. And we never go away without learning something about our resolve. Long live the CHALLENGE and on to new dangers and more thrill packed adventures. See you all on TOUR 05. Be safe and happy……………..
Please contact me at (Email: RexNimord), I can’t wait to hear from ALL of you.
EL PASO TEXAS
OCT. 23rd & 24TH 2004
TOUR 04 is now in the books. The CRUE and their gypsy souls will be put to rest for another cold winter. Only WORLD CHALLENGE XIII remains. Once more, the days grow shorter and the change of season is in the air. We lament the end of the road, cursing at it as if it would go away, and seeking a last refuge from the grip of the dreaded off-season. EL PASO and the first ever US NATIONALS, would be our final curtain call, and the best from the U S would test their mad skills in the desert before moving into WCXIII mode. DAVE VALERO and EL PASO FD along with FT. BLISS FD, and a host of others, throw a very cool CHALLENGE at the AMIGO AIR SHO. The mighty CHALLENGE stood tall among the F-15s, and A-10s, and of course monster trucks. The USAF THUNDERBIRDS were buzzing the tower, and the sound of freedom was the order of the day. Fast planes and the CHALLENGE, what a weekend!
The STREAMLIGHT RELAYS, took place on Saturday. The women’s bracket came down to a TEXAS showdown between the rivals for the TUMS GRAND NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP, the girls from PPG <LAKE CHARLES LA>, and TUMS GNC title holders AXIS FIRE SUPPLY TEAM CODE ONE-MIAMI DADE. It was a great race, and all the girls put on a great show. AXIS MIAMI DADE took the win and added US CHAMPIONS to their list of accomplishments for TOUR 04. A tip of the hat to the FT. BLISS ladies for making the big show on their first try. What can you say, the lineup for the men’s side looked a little like the who’s, who of CHALLENGE lore. Names like TRAVIS AFB, SAMS SQUAD, OVERLAND PARK, TEAM STIHL, EDWARDS AFB, TEAM DR. PEPPER, SACRAMENTO, and of course hometown super heroes, the famous FIRE FROS boys, hurricane tested RIVIERA BEACH, and many more, all there to see, who would be the first US CHAMP. The racing was totally off the hook, records were being crushed, and some serious STREAMLIGHT RELAY butt was being kicked. Four times faster than the World Record were run in a unbelievable display of sheer athletic prowess, and if this is a preview of worlds to come, I can not wait. CHALLENGE legend MIKE MELTON <TEAM TRAVIS>, who lost in the round of eight in a epic battle with the SQUAD said, “You run a 1:10 and get beat, all you can say is, great job”. What can you say? TRAVIS runs a 1:10.56, a clear four tenths of a second under the world record, and gets beat by the SQUAD with a 1:10.46, that is just SICK! It was the stuff of legends out there on the course that run. But wait fair citizens, there’s more. In the championship round OVERLAND PARK faced the SQUAD in a glorious run for victory. The teams ran at each like two runaway freight trains, running at breakneck speed, hell bent for the win. OVERLAND PARK ran a sweet 1:10.81, a tenth of a second under their own World mark. But SAM SQUAD was waiting for them after laying down a 1:09.87. That is SO wrong, you’re not supposed to be that fast, this isn’t news, all these guys are good. TEAM STIHL <VA BEACH> placed third, and the boys from EL PASO rounded out the top four.
Sunday was a beautiful day on the boarder, and the peeps were in for a great show. Another CHALLENGE legend, STACY BILLAPANDO <COLORADO SPRINGS>, made her ‘04 debut with a bang, running a sweet 2:35 and taking the title for the ladies. STACY is a CLASS act and its great to see her on the course again. ANITA HORSLEY < DeKALB GA> finished off a great rookie season with a second, running a 2:50, and SHENAH FLORES <TRAVIS AFB> rounded out the top three. It was a cool year for the girls, with a lot sub threes and great shows of CHALLENGE spirit. Never tell DENNY PEFFER <COLORADO SPRINGS> that a guy his age should take up checkers or some sedentary sport like golf. This guy is pure CHALLENGE stud through and through. I’m sure there’s a big S on his chest somewhere, with the body of a 30 year old and the heart of a lion, DENNY is a modern day hero. Tearing up the course with a mission, DENNY ran a 1:50.67, the fastest time ever run in the over 50s. Huge props go out to DENNY and thanks for the show. LEOMINSTER MASS star CHUCK LeBLANC finished second, and last years rookie of the year and beloved member of the fellowship, DAVE CHIODO <TRAVIS AFB>, rounded out the top three. MITCH LONGLEY <PALM BEACH COUNTY> won the over 40s with a strong 1:43 and looks more than ready for worlds. TOMMIE OSBORN <DEL RAY BEACH> ran for second with a 1:58, and JOHN WALKA <RURAL/METRO> placed third.
There were seven times under 1:32 for the open class, and four sub 90’s. Truly the some of the best were making it happen out there. World record holder BOB RUSSELL <OVERLAND PARK> ran the fastest time of TOUR 04 for the win, a 1:25.64 was the mark. It’s so cool that our world record holder is a real stand up guy as well. ERIC AKER <SAM SQUAD> burned a 1:27 and MIKE MELTON <TRAVIS AFB> ran a 1:28, for the podium spots. Props to the CHAMP, JEREMY CZAPINSKI <CHULA VISTA CA>, for his first sub 90. OVERLAND PARK took team honors, and became the first US NATIONAL CHAMPIONS with a 4:38. Its times like these, it’s great to be from KANSAS, DAVE, STEF, and I, all have roots in the sunflower state, and were proud of our homies. TEAM TRAVIS placed second with a 4:42, and you know this team is ready to rock the world in VEGAS. SAM SQUAD finished third with 4:53. And SACRAMENTO is no also ran, finishing fourth with a 4:59, these guys should get huge respect for a nice season.
Like the sands of an hour glass, so are the days of TOUR 04. Another summer in the sun has come and gone. The mighty CHALLENGE keeps on, keeping on. The fellowship grows larger every week, and the CRUE prepares for the greatest show on earth, WCXIII. EL PASO was great, and the SCOTT FIREFIGHTER COMBAT CHALLENGE will return to the west TEXAS town again. Thanks to JAUN for including me on his run, now that’s a different view of the course. To the CRUE from the mouth, much love and the family is strong, but the CRUE puts it all together, thanks for a job well done. And to all the folks I call friends, and all members of the fellowship, throughout the country, its been a great year and now on to LAS VEGAS and WCXIII. It’s going to be the best ever, rockin’ CHALLENGE, large time, can’t miss it kind of show, staring the BEST OF THE BEST AND THE BRAVEST. Good luck to EVERYBODY, and I’ll see you there.
LONE STAR CHALLENGE
OCTOBER 9TH 2004
TOUR 04 has made its rounds. Only US NATIONALS remain. The CRUE has put a couple thousand more miles to their charts of never ending highways and airports. The road has been good to us this year, a lot of new friends to go along with the legions in the fellowship, and the usual suspects we can’t live without. What a life, traveling across this great nation with the mighty CHALLENGE. Sharing the course with the BEST OF THE BEST AND THE BRAVEST, in a quest for CHALLENGE glory. To all of those who helped, even a little to make life easier on the CRUE, we say THANK YOU!! It is all of you out there who make it so cool, and give us the energy to make it all so. Long live the CHALLENGE and the fellowship. The last point race would be held at KATY TEXAS in 04, and JERRY HAACK, AMERICAN LAFRANCE GULF COAST, along with the KATY FD and WAL-MART dist. 19, always throw a great CHALLENGE, and of course this year was great as well. We always look forward to KATY because we know it will be a smooth stay in the HOUSTON area.
The STREAMLIGHT RELAYS came down to the last race of the year for the ladies. It would be PPG <LAKE CHARLES LA> against AXIS FIRE TEAM CODE ONE of MIAMI DADE for the TUMS GRAND NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP. The teams went head to head in the semis, and it was a great race. AXIS of MIAMI DADE was victorious and are the 2004 TUMS GRAND NATIONAL CHAMPIONS, but tip of the hat to the girls from PPG/SFD for a great season. CHALLENGE newcomers, the EAGLE ALL-STARS from EAGLE ID placed second in their first ever CHALLENGE, welcome to the show EAGLE ALL-STARS. SAM SQUAD took the victory in the men’s division and look like one of the teams to beat at worlds. They work hard and it shows, look out the SQUAD is in town. INEEL <ID>, placed second and looked tough, and the famous FIRE FROS from EL PASO ran for third. And props go out to TEAM DIET DR. PEPPER <PLANO TX> for a great show, rounding out the final four.
BREN RESUE from the CITY of ELMIRA NY, took the win for the ladies and is the 2004 TUMS GRAND NATIONAL CHAMPION. It couldn’t happen to a nicer person, BREN and RON worked hard for this all year and now it’s a done deal. ERIN JOHNSON <SOUTH METRO, CO> placed second, and JEANNINE HORTON <ESTERO FL> rounded out the top three, and made it a great points chase right to the end for the top spot. Great year for JEANNINE and BREN, fighting to the end, and the peeps love it. CHALLENGE legend DENNY PEFFER <COLORADO SPRINGS> won the over 50s with a very sweet 2:00 and looks real strong out there. DON WILLIAMS <TYLER TX> took second with 2:08, and BILL BRIGGS <INEEL ID> placed third. WORLD CHAMPION and WORLD RECORD HOLDER, from INEEL ID, KEVIN VOYLES won the over 40s and set fastest time of TOUR 04 with a 1:33.53. KEVIN is back for his 11th season and is looking like the champ that he is. LANE PACKER <INEEL ID> ran a 2:02 for second and MATTHEW SUNDBERG <Fremont CA> placed third just eight one hundredths behind, close racing for the over 40s.
GREG KOTSIS of TEAM TREGASKISS <WINDSOR ONT> made the long journey from CANADA to TEXAS worth while, with the overall win. GREG ran a nice 1:30.54 and had some fun. KEVIN VOYLES <INEEL ID> placed second overall with his over 40 winning 1:33, and NATHANIEL BRUCE of SAM SQUAD placed third with the fastest rookie time of TOUR 04, a 1:36.11. SACRAMENTO 522 won the team title for the third time on TOUR 04 with a 5:10. All they do is win. EL PASO placed second with a 5:26, and INEEL ran for third. A huge shout out to TEAM V-MAX from the city of FLORENCE KY, who placed fourth and won the 2004 TUMS GRAND NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP for team. These guys are a class act, and are deserving of all the good things that come with it. Also thanks for the lid, it is a honor to run with all you guys. It will be worn with pride.
Well I never want to say it but only EL PASO is left and the first ever US NATIONALS. I always want to keep going but you know, that’s me. But with KATY in the mirrors and EL PASO TX in sight, TOUR 04 is at its end. Its bittersweet, the end of the tour. Of course its time to rest and revamp for TOUR 05, already well on its way. But you can’t help but think about all the cool stuff that happened, and of course the fellowship. What an adventure we had this year. And the impending WORLD CHALLENGE 13 in LAS VEGAS. All in a season, for the CRUE of the mighty SCOTT FIREFIGHTER COMBAT CHALLENGE. On to EL PASO and more CHALLENGE glory. Who will be the first US NATIONAL CHAMPIONS, be there and see…….
CHALLENGE ON THE OHIO
OCT 1ST & 2ND 2004
Here we go, into the wind and against the grain. Across the nation for the last lap on TOUR 04. The highways of AMERICA have been home for the CRUE and our beloved CHALLENGE for the past seven months and its come down to the end of the trail. Always a bittersweet time of year, we know the best is yet to come; even so, we can’t help but think of all the CHALLENGE lore of 04. But there’s still some unfinished business before we can rest. EVANSVILLE IN saw the mighty CHALLENGE rise along the riverfront area of a very cool city. MIKE CONNELLY and the EVANSVILLE FD, along with NEXTEL, and many more. Came together to bring the CHALLENGE to INDIANA for the first time in our never-ending quest to cover the map. The help was great and everyone who took place in the set up; tear down thing went out of their way to make life easy on the CRUE. The help at the show was top notch as well. The first time hosts did a great job, and I’m sure the CHALLENGE will return to EVANSVILLE time and time again.
Every year we have what the CRUE refers to as a MINI-WORLDS. That’s the one event a year that most of the heavy hitters in the CHALLENGE world gather to test themselves against the best. EVANSVILLE was that event this tour. Almost all of the top players were on hand for the STREAMLIGHT RELAYS. Last years top three in the world, WINDSOR <TEAM TREGASKISS>, BLUFF CITY, and OVERLAND PARK, plus CHALLENGE greats SAM SQUAD, EDWARDS AFB, WAUKEGAN, GOTTA LOVE IT <CONWAY ARK>, and a host of others including home team AXIOM from the EFD. All there to battle for CHALLENGE glory. It was a sight to behold for sure. The times were dropping and the racing was very spirited. It came down to WINDSOR vs. SAM SQUAD for the championship. It was a great display of mad CHALLENGE skills for both sides. The teams fought it out to the end, when a fall ended the SQUADS run. But it was a great show by both sides and it’s going to be hot in VEGAS. WINDSOR <TEAM TREGASKISS> had to beat not only OVERLAND PARK in the semis, but also an always very tough BLUFF CITY in the round of eight. They had a very hard road to the top of the podium, but brought home the win the hard way, they earned it. OVERLAND PARK finished third in their first event of 04 and you know they got some game to show next time. WAUKEGAN rounded out the final four. The ladies from PPG <LAKE CHARLES LA> made the trip to take the win and a lot of points, and now it’s down to the last race between PPG and TEAM AXIS FIRE MIAMI DADE for the TUMS GRAND NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP. But the PPG girls get props for flying in and out of EVANSVILLE in pursuit of their dream, jet lag and all the girls from PPG put on a great show.
SHERI JACKSON <GREENSBORO NC>, took win number four of TOUR 04, and is without question the fastest woman firefighter in the US right now, I’m sure GREENSBORO is very proud. BREN RESUE <CITY of ELMIRA NY>, placed second and is almost assured the championship. And first timer TERESA NEWTON <SPRINGFIELD MO> ran for third, welcome to the CHALLENGE TERESA. The over 50s saw the return of a true CHALLENGE legend, RANDY HOGAN <BYRON IL>. His record includes a world championship, and there he was, after eight years, back between the banners. RANDY'S 1:57 was world pace and I wonder if the BYRON crowd can get him to Vegas. Welcome back RANDY. ANTHONY HANCE <COCKE COUNTY> placed second with a 2:28, and the 2004 TUMS GRANDNATIONAL CHAMPION, GREG KNIGHT <EVANSVILLE IN> placed third. Another CHALLENGE star, BRET YUNDT <WEST LAFAYETTE>, ran a sick 1:39 for the over 40 win, and will make some big noise at WORLD CHALLENGE 13. BRET is all that’s good about the CHALLENGE fellowship, he runs hard every time and EVANSVILLE was no different. EDDIE GUNN <TEAM AXIOM, EVANSVILLE IN>, ran for second with a 1:50, and MIKE CONNLLY also from TEAM AXIOM placed third.
With an all-star cast on hand, the peeps caught some great CHALLENGE talent in EVANSVILLE. ERIC AKER <SAM SQUAD> ran the second fastest time of TOUR 04 with a 1:27.64 for the overall win. It was a new PR for ERIC and it looks like he’s got his A game in line for worlds. DARREN HILLMAN of TEAM TREGASKISS <WINDSOR ONT> placed a strong second with a nice 1:29, and always runs tough. And CHALLENGE great BOB RUSSELL <OVERLAND PARK>, placed third with a 1:30. TEAM TREGASKISS of WINDSOR took team honors with the second fastest team time of the year, a 4:34.17, and three in the top five. SAM SQUAD placed second with a tough 4:47, and OVERLAND PARK rounded out the top three with a 4:53.
The CHALLENGE is cool and all, but the reason behind it for real. We witnessed this in EVANSVILLE when JIM MARUSIC and TEAM TREGASKISS of WINDSOR were out to dinner and a child started choking. JIM came to the rescue and saved the kid who was already turning blue by the way. These are the things that are important. Winning is great, but real life goes on, and when both happen on the same trip, its all in a days work for some stand up guys like TEAM TREGASKISS of WINDSOR. Its great to be a part of something that matters. The fellowship doesn’t just display their skills because they can. They do it because in the real world it counts and they want to be sharp. I’ve got to be living right because; I get to walk with the BEST OF THE BEST AND THE BRAVEST every week. The SCOTT FIREFIGHTER COMBAT CHALLENGE is the show and KATY TEXAS is the place. One more showdown before nationals, one more chance for points and another shot at CHALLENGE glory. The time draws near, and the end of the road is in sight, see you out there……
THE MAINE EVENT
SOUTH PORTLAND, MAINE
SEPTEMBER 25TH 2004
It’s been said that home is where the heart is. What if your soul rolls the highways of AMERICA every year. Going from place to place, spreading the faith of the fellowship. It can only be home on the Course, the place where it all happens, the hopes and dreams of many, and the defeat of some, our beloved CHALLENGE. This week, the CRUE called SOUTH PORTLAND, MAINE our home. The mighty CHALLENGE has never been to the state of MAINE before. It was very nice and we hope to go back again year after year. RICH URBAN, and all of LOCAL 1476, along with US CELLULAR, the MAINE MALL and many more, made the CRUE feel right at home. The set up, and tear down for that matter, was done in record time, and the help was top shelf. Thanks to CHALLENGE CRUE legend CHUCK DeGRANDPRE of EVM (Emergency Vehicles of Maine) for always being there for us- this time with a cool tower mod and an emergency repair. Now, more room at the top! (Check out the photo.) A huge tip of the hat to all who made the MAINE EVENT so.
The STREAMLIGHT RELAYS saw some great teams, including the return of CHALLENGE vets from EL PASO, the FIRE FROs, once again playing it up to the peeps, and tearing up the course. The boys from NORMAN OK, TEAM YORK, PROVIDENCE RI, FT. GORDON GA, and a host of others, trying their hand at the title of STREAMLIGHT RELAY CHAMPION. The final came down to good ol’ TEXAS v. OKLAHOMA battle between EL PASO and TEAM YORK. I’ve said it a hundred times, TEAM YORK is without question, the hottest new team out there. The NORMAN bunch took home the title again, and have won a couple of these stops on TOUR 04, and finished in the top three at the rest. These guys are going to make it far in VEGAS mark my word. But never count out EL PASO, it was their first event of the year and we’ll see them again soon. FT. GORDON placed third and has also been looking very fast here of late. Props go out to PROVIDENCE, one of the worlds only co-ed teams finishing top four. If you think the co-ed team thing would be cool as a part of the CHALLENGE for good, let us know. I think it would be cool, maybe a two women, three guy thing, but that’s just me, let me know what you think. The ladies from AXIS FIRE TEAM CODE ONE of MIAMI DADE ran hard and took over as front runners for the TUMS GRAND NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP. Their time beat three men’s teams and they keep getting faster and faster, the MIAMI DADE girls are taking some names out there.
We know that STACY is out there in COLORADO working away at her game, shaving seconds off her time. Meanwhile, back on TOUR 04, where it counts, the lady from GREENSBORO NC, SHERI JACKSON is the fastest woman in the US. She has the top two times on TOUR 04 and her win in SOUTH PORTLAND was her third of TOUR 04. DREA SWEETMAN <AXIS FIRE TEAM CODE ONE of MIAMI DADE> set a new PR of 2:58 on her way to second, way to go DREA. And BREN RESUE <CITY OF ELMIRA NY> smashed her PR with a 3:28, placing third, that’s miles away form the 5:56 she ran her first try. She embodies the CHALLENGE spirit and everybody around can’t help but get caught up in her positive vibe. A special shout from SOUTH PORTLAND and the CHALLENGE fellowship to JEANNINE HORTON for the top over 40 woman. SOUTH PORTLAND also featured the chief division. DAVID COSTA <PROVIDENCE RI> took the win. MATTHEW WILLIAMS <FT.GORDON GA> placed second, and RICHARD HALPIN<YORK CITY PA> rounded out the top three. The current WORLD CHAMPION in the over 50s, JOHN MCGRATTAN from FREDERICTON, NEW BRUNSWICK came down to the MAINE EVENT and put his mad skills on display. Taking the victory and setting the top over 50 time of the year at 1:55.58. He is a real stand up guy and a great champion, look for him to be there at worlds. DAL LECK <WEST ROUTT CO> made his trip count with a second. And CHALLENGE legend CHUCK LEBLANC <LEOMINSTER MASS> placed third. BIG JOE HORTON <LARGO FL> won again, and has already clinched the over 40 title, the OVERCASH most likely, and now a run at the open title as well. JOE is on his way to becoming the most decorated athlete in TUMS GRAND NATIONAL history. MARK DUNPHY <FREDERICTON> ran a nice 2:00, placing second. And DAVID COSTA <PROVIDENCE RI> ran for third.
The FASTEST FIREFIGHTER in FLORIDA, TEAM AXIS FIRE EQUIP of MIAMI’s MODEL CITIZEN, RICK STEPHENS took the overall at the MAINE EVENT with a 1:34, this while he suffered a wardrobe malfunction at the top of the tower. His SCBA became detached from his mask and he held the rope with one hand and fixed his mask with the other and still put down a sick time. Bringing him to a tie with JOE HORTON for the TUMS GRAND NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP. DAVID MCKINLEY <FREDERICTON> placed second with a 1:41, and STEVEN SCHRECK < TEAM V-MAX, FLORENCE KY> ran a strong 1:43 for third. TEAM V-MAX from the city of FLORENCE KY took team honors, with three in the top ten and two top five finishes, a 5:19 was the mark. TEAM AXIS FIRE EQUIP of MIAMI DADE placed second with a 5:21, and the points race between these teams is close as well. EL PASO rounded out the top three on their maiden trip to TOUR 04 with a 5:29 and three in the top ten.
TOUR 04 is looking at its eleventh hour soon. Only two more points races and the US NATIONALS in EL PASO. The time draws near, and everyone wants to see who’s the best. SOUTH PORTLAND is now part of CHALLENGE lore, and we had fun. EVANSVILLE IN. is next on the map of new places for the SCOTT FIREFIGHTER COMBAT CHALLENGE to visit and we can’t wait to hear MR. EDWARDS say, “HANDS TO THE START”, there’s a CHALLENGE going on. Be there because it’s going to be off the hook, 110% over the top all the time. The BEST OF THE BEST AND THE BRAVEST are here to throw down the best times yet as WORLD CHALLENGE 13 is right around the corner. And nobody wants to miss that party. See you out there…..
GATOR COUNTRY CHALLENGE
SEPT. 17TH & 18TH 2004
TOUR 04 has faced the elements a few times this year; rain, tornados, and all manner of inclement conditions. The mighty CHALLENGE and CRUE go through it all to bring the TOUGHEST TWO MINUTES IN SPORTS to the peeps throughout the land. But IVAN looked very tough, and all eyes turned to GAINESVILLE to see if indeed the CRUE could do it. And of course without fail, the show went on. The CHALLENGE stood once again. TIM BOWEN and the GAINESVILLE FD, along with the GSOC, put together a great team for the entire event, and the SOUTHEASTERN US CHAMPIONSHIPS went off very smooth. The help was excellent and set up was the fastest of TOUR 04. A huge tip of the hat to everybody that took part in the GAINESVILLE event. Also props to all of those who have helped others in the state of FLORIDA. It hasn’t been the best of summers down there and it takes a lot of good people to help mend a little.
The STREAMLIGHT RELAYS took place on Friday evening. One of largest fields of TOUR 04 was on hand. 36 teams had made the trip to GAINESVILLE to tear up the course. PALM BEACH COUNTY, FT. GORDON, RIVIERA BEACH, CORINTH, and powerhouse TRAVIS AFB, and MIAMI DADE. Always solid CHARLOTTE and MYRTLE BEACH, plus many more. It seems TEAM BOCA has the biggest team out there and that’s so cool. They travel with about 25 or more and it looks like fun. The championship came down to TRAVIS, and newly named TEAM AXIS FIRE EQUIP of MIAMI DADE. TEAM TRAVIS took the victory and is looking like they are ready for nationals. TEAM AXIS of MIAMI DADE showed their new sponsor they picked the right team, these guys are good. MYRTLE BEACH placed third. The ladies from TEAM AXIS of MIAMI DADE also claimed some CHALLENGE glory, taking the win for the girls. And now are on top of the TUMS GRAND NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP points race. This is shaping up to be quite the battle with the girls from the PPG <LAKE CHARLES LA>. GAINESVILLE placed second. And DELRAY BEACH rounded out the top three for the women.
The GAINESVILLE over 40 team won the new over 40 relay. Something we could see in the future, let us know what you think. And TEAM AXIS of MIAMI DADE won the SOUTHEASTERN US title.
SHENAH FLORES of TRAVIS AFB ran a very sweet 2:47 for the win in the ladies set. It was a great run for a great lady, SHENAH works very hard and it shows on the course. DREA SWEETMAN <TEAM AXIS of MIAMI DADE> placed second with a 3:10, and RENEE MULLINS <ORANGE COUNTY FL> placed third. The inspirational moment of the event took place in ladies division when after trying all year at a number of events PAM LILLARD from TEAM AXIS of MIAMI DADE claimed her spot in VEGAS. This was a true and pure display of CHALLENGE spirit in the highest form. Everybody there couldn’t help but get caught up in her win within the race. When she crossed the line and stood proud the look on her face was priceless. Another dream of CHALLENGE glory comes true, way to go PAM. CHALLENGE legend PAT HARTLEY <GAINESVILLE FL> was making a solid run at the fastest over 50 time of the year, when an infraction set him back to a 2:01. He still took the win and has the two fastest times of TOUR 04. The ageless BILL KOCUR <SARASOTA COUNTY FL> placed second with a very strong 2:03, and last year’s rookie of the year DAVE CHIODO <TRAVIS AFB> ran for third. MITCH LONGLEY <PALM BEACH COUNTY> burned a 1:36 for the over 40 win, and looked very smooth. BIG JOE HORTON <LARGO FL> placed second and has clinched the over 40 TUMS GRAND NATIONAL CHAMPOINSHIP for the second year in a row. TOMMIE OSBORN <DELRAY BEACH FL> ran for third.
MIKE MELTON <TRAVIS AFB> turned in the fastest time of TOUR 04 again; a 1:27.21 is the new mark. MIKE now has the top three times of the season and is on track to make some big noise at WORLD CHALLENGE 13. HARRY MYERS also of TEAM TRAVIS ran a very nice 1:31 for second and is playing with that sub 90. And the fastest firefighter in FLORIDA, the MODEL CITIZEN, RICK STEPHENS of TEAM AXIS of MIAMI DADE placed third with a always smooth 1:33. The newest member of the LION’S DEN, FRANK ABREU <TEAM TRAVIS> just keeps cranking out sub 100’s for fourth. So with three out the top five TEAM TRAVIS smoked their own fastest time of the year with a 4:33. It will be hard to beat these guys at any CHALLENGE, they are truly one of the best teams in the world. TEAM AXIS FIRE EQUIP of MIAMI DADE placed second with a 5:08, and a very tough PALM BEACH COUNTY team with MITCH LONGLEY’s top five overall to go with his over 40 win, and three in the top 11, took third with 5:16. A shout to the boys from OWENSBORO KY, named the best new team in the SOUTHEASTERN US.
Indeed, TOUR 04 is starting to wind down. The boys are hauling the mail as we speak. They push onward to SOUTH PORTLAND, MAINE and another CHALLENGE. Soon the rest of the CRUE will join them, and a new place will witness the glory that is the SCOTT FIREFIGHTER COMBAT CHALLENGE up close; only a few more cities to go before worlds. Get there quick, and claim your spot in LAS VEGAS. GAINESVILLE was a great place for a CHALLENGE and we hope to be back soon. For now it’s one more lap around this great nation of ours to take the word of the CHALLENGE to as much of the fellowship as possible. The road never ends, but it does go unraveled after November, at least for us. See you out there………
CHALLENGE ON LAKE ERIE
SEPTEMBER 10TH & 11TH2004
Don’t ever let anyone tell you that nothing goes on in ERIE. Because the CRUE would beg to differ. ERIE is a very cool place, and we’ll be the first to say so. Whenever the mighty CHALLENGE rolls onto the shores of LAKE ERIE, the entire city welcomes us. Downtown ERIE is transformed into our own CHALLENGE playground. With the tower standing tall in the center of the city, and RANDY’S kids CHALLENGE along side, the site is great. There’s plenty to do at the COORS LIGHT CHALLENGE ON LAKE ERIE, lots of good food and drink, music and fun… and of course, a killer CHALLENGE. COORS LIGHT, along with a host of other fine sponsors, and the ERIE FD throw a very good CHALLENGE, put it on your must-go-to list for next year for sure.
The STREAMLIGHT RELAYS were run under the lights in downtown on Friday night. The peeps were in rare form as they watched their very own ERIE FD advance through the program. A lot of great teams were on hand. TEAM STIHL <VA BEACH> , TEAM HERC<TORONTO, ON>, the boys from PWC <PRINCE WILLIAM CO VA>, SACRAMENTO CA, NIAGRA FALLS ON, and TEAM V-MAX <FLORENCE KY> making their STREAMLIGHT REALAY debut. Plus many more, making the international field. In the semis, ERIE FD met the HERCS in an all out battle for CHALLENGE glory. The two teams fought hard, and the thousands of people there to witness it were going insane. By far the loudest crowd of TOUR 04, let loose a course so loud that it was heard in CLEVELAND. The home-town boys didn’t let down the legions, they came out on top and would face a VERY good SACRAMENTO in the championship. SACRAMENTO came out on top and are tough. Good job by an upstart ERIE for the last two stops on TOUR 04, these guys are good. TEAM HERC placed third, and props out to TEAM STIHL, rounding out the final four.
SHERI JACKSON <GREENSBORO NC> is back and making some big noise on TOUR 04. For the second CHALLENGE in a row she took the win, set a new PR, and ran the fastest ladies time of the year with a 2:39. CANADIAN legend ESTHER LAKATOS <VAUGHAN> placed second with a nice 2:43. And JANA CHVATAL with TEAM PAUL DAVIS SYSTEMS, TORONTO ON ran for third. With a fourth, BREN RESUE <ELMIRA NY> is starting to get a small cushion in the TUMS GRAND NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP, but its still in the air till the end, anything can happen and its going to be good. JAMES MALEY, JR took the win in the over 50s with a 2:21. GREG KNIGHT <EVANSVILLE IN> placed second on a 2:49 and is almost a lock for the championship. RICHARD HALPIN <YORK CITY PA> ran for third, and set a new PR, with his 3:04. RICHARD has been working hard and it’s paying off. BIG JOE HORTON <LARGO FL> ran a 1:53 and won yet another round on TOUR 04 in the over 40 set. Nobody is going to catch him, for the second year in a row, JOE will most likely be the TUMS GRAND NATIONAL CAHMPION. SCOTT GRINNELL <PERRY AREA> placed second with a 1:54. And PAUL DEKAY <NIAGARA FALLS ON> ran for third with a solid 1:56.
Two time CANADIAN NATIONAL CHAMPION, MIKE GILBERT <ST CATHARINES> always comes down for a show or two south of the boarder. He displayed his mad skills for all to see in ERIE, and ran a strong 1:30.69 taking the victory. MARTIN ODESTIG <SACRAMENTO CA> took second on a 1:39. And CLINT MADDEN also from SACRAMENTO placed third with a 1:46. SACRAMEMTO LOCAL 522 has a bad-ass CHALLENGE team, every time we see them they lay down some sick times. ERIE was no exception, the boys of the 522 won the team title with a very tough 5:14. TEAM V-MAX <FLORENCE KY> placed second on a 5:41. These guys are making a run for the championship and are looking good. And TEAM GORZYNSKI <ERIE PA> placed third for the home town peeps. A big tip of the hat out to the US AIR FORCE ACADEMY for a good showing.
Its true, the CRUE lives for the road, but the folks in ERIE make us feel at home. The special 911 tribute was very moving and the crowds were stellar for both days. The volunteers were outstanding, and the con and deconstruction of the mighty CHALLENGE was spot on. I’m sure we’ll be back in ERIE next year, and for years to come. Its off to face mother nature in an all out battle to have a CHALLENGE, the CRUE is on its way into the path of IVAN and GAINESVILLE FL. But shes a CHALLENGE fan and wants it as bad as we do so be there for sure and prove that the fellowship will not be denied. TOUR 04 must go on, and we will be there to see it does. Nerther rain or snow or gloom of night, will keep us from our appointed rounds. The SCOTT FIREFIGHTER COMBAT CHALLENGE will stand tall in GAINESVILLE. See you there…….
BATTLE AT MANASSAS
AUGUST 28TH 2004
As marches on, and the big wheels roll. TOUR 04 is back on the road after a short break, and looking for the BEST OF THE BEST AND THE BRAVEST. Yes its cool to spend some time getting caught up and recharging. But the road is calling, and the CRUE grows restless. The CHALLENGE fellowship is also yearning for more action between the banners. The fastest firefighters in the want to put their mad skills on display, and none will be denied. MANASSAS VA was the place where we would all gather again. A huge tip of the hat goes out to BILL PITTARD and the STONEWALL JACKSON VFD, along with NEXTEL for throwing a great event. The CRUE had plenty of great help and the set up tear down thing was smooth as ever, thanks to the great people of MANASSAS. And for yet another time, the speed merchants of the CHALLENGE would have a platform to shine.
A very hot august day would greet the faithful and it would test the resolve of even the strongest. The STREAMLIGHT RELAYS boasted a host of great teams. FAIEFAX FINEST took the title for the ladies, followed by MIAMI DADE, and MONTGOMERY COUNTY rounding out the top three. I’ve been saying since last season. The boys from NORMAN OK, TEAM YORK, are a hot new team. In MANASSAS they showed the rest of the fellowship. Working their way through a very solid field, including 2002 rookies of the year the FAIRFAX JAKES and CHALLENGE stars TEAM STIHL < VA BEACH>, YORK stood on the top of the podium for the first time. This not just in, these guys are good! TEAM STIHL finished second, and the JAKES finished third. Props go out to ERIE PA for a nice finish. Look for TEAM YORK to make a run at the TUMS GRAND NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP, and with the speed they’ve been displaying as of late, watch out.
The ladies put on a great show. With a field of 15 making the trip to MANASSAS, they were there to play hard. After being away from the CHALLENGE for a while. SHERI JACKSON <GREENSBRORO NC> is back to make some big noise on CHALLENGE TOUR 04. Her 2:48 was not only a PR, but it was also the fastest time for the ladies of the year, and of course good for the win. Welcome back SHERI. ANITA HORSLEY <DeKALB GA> continues to impress. Her 2:53 won her second, and remember it’s only her second CHALLENGE. FELICIA COOKSEY <FAIRFAX VA> finished third with a strong 3:02. The point’s race is the story within the story. BREN RESUE <ELMIRA NY>, and JENNINE HORTON <ESTERO FL> are locked in a huge battle, and two seconds separated them on the course. With BREN on top for now, it's anybody’s game. This is getting very interesting, stay tuned. The ageless JESSE WALKER <GREENSBORO NC> is back from an injury earlier in the season and ran a very sweet 2:30 to take the win in the over 50. GREG KNIGHT <EVANSVILLE IN> ran for second and is all but locked for the TUMS GRANDNATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP. RICHARD HALPIN <YORK CITY PA>, set a new PR on his way to third, and keeps getting faster as the year goes on. A big CHALLENGE props goes to JOHN McGee <FAIRFAX CO> who at 68 still finds the CHALLENGE, child’s play. LIGHTNING LONNIE LEWIS <CHESTERFIELD VA> is 40 now and is still just as fast as ever. His 1:43 placed him in front of the over 40 set. JOE HORTON <LARGO FL> placed second and is out of sight in the points. PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTYS, CURTIS BRODIE ran for third.
The fastest firefighter in FLORIDA, MODEL CITIZEN, RICK STEPHENS <MIAMI DADE> ran hard and took the overall win with a very smooth 1:32, RICK has one of the smoothest hoists in the world, nice work. JEFF TINCHER <FAIRFAX VA> laid down a strong 1:37 for second. And BRANDON CUNNINGHAM made the trip from RHIEN MAIN, GERMANY for the second time on TOUR 04. Running a 1:40 BRANDON placed third. Man this dude is racking up some miles, all in the pursuit of CHALLENGE glory. TEAM FAIRFAX won team honors on a 5:01. TEN-8/ MSA MIAMI DADE placed second with 5:19 and looked tough. And GREENSBORO FIRE 1 rounded out the top three, with a solid 5:22
Again the mighty starts its run to the finish, and WORLD CHALLENGE 13 in LAS VEGAS. So many peeps and many more destinations to go before we rest. The CRUE may be nomads, or just CHALLENGE freaks. Wherever we roam, the CHALLENGE is always there, like a big brother looking after us. And we in turn are the guardians of it. Entrusted to bring the SCOTT FIREFIGHTER COMBAT CHALLENGE to the masses. ERIE PA is next on the charts as we set our course across this great nation. Be there and see the CHALLENGE in all its spender. Don’t miss a stop on TOUR 04 or we’ll find you. See you out there…..
JULY 17TH 2004
For the second year now, the mighty CHALLENGE rolled into JANESVILLE approaching the mid point of the season. Once again the CRUE, was greeted by a great host in the JANESVILLE FD. KEVIN MURRAY, and MATT DIEHLS of JFD, along with HOME DEPOT, CHARTER, JAMES HARDIE PRODUCTS, SUBWAY, FUDRUCKERS, and numerous others, throw an excellent CHALLENGE, and a lot of hard work and forethought went into the planning and running of the event. Plenty of help had arrived and the set up was smooth and quick a lot of help was there for tear down as well and everybody made our entire stay great. I guess we'll get this whole show thing down someday. It’s always a new adventure, whenever the CHALLENGE is brought to life. Sometimes you can still see the remains of CHALLENGES past, painted on the site, for all to see that the CRUE had once passed this way. Other times it’s all-new. For round 7 of TOUR 04, all the great people of JANESVILLE joined in on the fun and a sweet CHALLENGE was had by all.
The grandstands were packed and flowing over, the peeps had turned out in legions to witness the run for CHALLENGE glory. The STREAMLIGHT RELAYS saw many solid teams turn out. And for the second time in as many tries WAUKEGAN 2, took the win over WAUKEGAN 1, to put them in the championship against a very solid TEAM RIVIERA BEACH. The FLORIDIANS have looked tough this year with the new members. WAUKEGAN 2 was to take their second victory on TOUR 04. WAUKEGAN 1 placed third. Props go out to BATTLE CREEK for a solid showing.
BREN RESUE <CITY OF ELMIRA NY> took the win for the ladies, with a 5:14, and now leads the TUMS GRAND NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP point’s chase. It’s been a good first year for BREN. PAULINE WILLIAMS <RIVER FALLS FD> placed second and CHALLENGE regular JENNINE HORTON ran for third, and is now in second in the points battle. And with SHENAH FLORES <TRAVIS AFB> in third, I've heard that all three will be at Fremont CALIF for the next event. It’s going to be a good run for the crown. ROBERT HEINS <SARTELL MINN> won the over 50s with a strong 2:26. GREG KNIGHT <EVANSVILLE IN> ran for second on a 2:36 and is way ahead in points and only getting faster. BOB STEWART <MINOOKA IL> placed third with a 2:41. In the over 40 group, what can you say. BRET YUNDT <WEST LAFAYETTE> is not only a CHALLENGE legend and a great competitor. But guess what, this guy is really good. His sub 100 at 1:39 not only took top honors in the over 40 but the overall as well. It was BRET’s day in JANESVILLE; he ripped up the course and made a testament on not lamenting reaching any age. Just work hard and good things happen. Some would say a person should slow down at 40, but BRET thinks different. He can still run with the best in the world and it’s going to be like that for a while. Get used to him in the winners circle, cause he’s not going away any time soon. JOE HORTON <LARGO FL> ran for second in the over 40s on a 1:57 and is the points king of TOUR 04 amassing big numbers on his way to the TUMS GRAND NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP. MATT SUNDBERG <Fremont CA> rounded out the podium with a 2:11.
Along with BRET’S stellar performance, BRANDON CUNNINGHAM came all the way from RHEIN MAIN AFB GERMANY to display his mad skills in JANESVILLE, and placed second with a sweet 1:40. He should get the award for coming the longest distance for TOUR 04. And TONY CAVALLO <ST CHARLES IL> is really making a big noise this year. After he turned in a sub 100 in ROCKFORD, and became the newest member of the LIONS DEN, he backed it up with another. A slip and a penalty put him over the mark with a 1:41 but he was there. It was good for third and it makes it two CHALLENGES, two podiums for TONY. He’s the newest top player out there, and is well on his way to CHALLENGE greatness. WAUKEGAN TEAM 1 won team honors for the second time on TOUR 04 running a 5:30. TEAM V-MAX from FLORENCE KY placed second and used some extra course time to sharpen their game, turning in a 5:42 and looking smooth. And BYRON FIRE TEAM 1 placed third putting two guys in the top 6 and running hard. A tip of the hat goes out to ROSS MOSHER of TEAM V-MAX. He’s been chasing that sub two for some time now and the people of JANESVILLE shared his CHALLENGE spirit as he reached his goal, way to go ROSS.
So the CHALLENGE moves out of WISCONSON and heads toward the sun and the left coast. Fremont CALIF must have a CHALLENGE of its own and we are on the way. Wherever fast firefighters are, that’s where the SCOTT FIREFIGHTER COMBAT CHALLENGE will roam. On a never ending quest to find the BEST OF THE BEST AND THE BRAVEST. TOUR 04 will cross this great nation to make sure it is so. The whole staff is working hard to spread the word, there’s a race going on, and if you’re anywhere else, it’s your loss. Because the CHALLENGE rules, and the fellowship is growing daily. See you out there...............
MYRTLE BEACH, SOUTH CAROLINA
JUNE 25TH & 26TH 2004
BLAST AT THE BEACH 2
As TOUR 04 moves through the nation, it takes many paths for each of us. Some, push the goods from city to city. Traveling the byways of AMERICA, spreading the word of the CHALLENGE as they go. Others deal with the everyday CHALLENGE of the CHALLENGE. And a few return to real life a few days a week. If only the show would never end, but it does, and the CRUE moves on and goes their own ways untill the next CHALLENGE. Life inside the banners is fleading at best, and the time spent is priceless. Every time the CHALLENGE stands, we walk with the finest people on earth, and the fellowship lives on. TOUR 04 rolled into MYRTLE BEACH last week for BLAST AT THE BEACH 2. The fine people in HORRY COUNTY throw a great CHALLENGE and its a must stop on any tour. MIKE MEDEIROS, along with HEATH SCURFIELD of HORRY COUNTY FD and RBC, the CITY of MYRTLE BEACH, PLANET HOLLYWOOD, and the HORRY COUNTY VFD supplied plenty of great help and the CRUE thanks everyone for a nice time, and a great set up and tear down with a real CAROLINA BBQ.
The STREAMLIGHT RELAYS took place under the lights. On a sweet CAROLINA evening, some the best teams in the US would battle it out for CHALLENGE glory. TRAVIS AFB, SAM SQUAD, EDWARDS AFB, WINSTON-SALEM, TEAM STIHL, CHARLOTTE, and a host of others, made the trip to see who was fastest on that night. The racing was intence to say the least and when it came to the end it was SAM SQUAD vs CHARLOTTE for the championship. The SQUAD looks almost unbeatable and won another round on TOUR 04. But CHARLOTTE is a very solid team and has won an event before, look for them to play a big part in any event their in. TEAM STIHL <VA BEACH> placed third and as always toar up the course, these guys are good. And after an absence from the CHALLENGE for a while welcome back to EDWARDS AFB <CALIF> looking strong again and running in the final four. The laidies from MIAMI DADE won on their first try at the STREAMLIGHT RELAYS and coasted home ahead of TEAM HOT <GAINESVILLE FL>. Nice work from the girls from PPG <LAKE CHARLES LA> placing third, now with a nice points lead, and a trip to VEGAS in their future, their game just keeps getting better and better. They take long trips across the country to chase CHALLENGE glory and bring others along to share the fun. Thats what the CHALLENGE spirit is all about. WINSTON-SALEM rounded out the final four.
The largest ladies field 12,of TOUR 04, welcomed a new face to the top of the podium. ANITA HORSLEY <DeKALB> ran a great 3:03 in her first CHALLENGE, looks like theres a new player out there. SHENAH FLORES <TRAVIS AFB> placed second with a 3:20. And DREA SWEETMAN <MIAMI DADE> rounded out the top three. A big CHALLENGE welcome back to DREA as well. CHALLENGE legend, PAT HARTLEY <GAINESVILLE FL> won the over 50s with a sweet 2:00. Thats the fastest over 50 time of TOUR 04 and I know we'll see him a couple more times this season. CHUCK LeBLANC <LEOMINSTER MASS> ran for second with a 2:21 just one tenth of a second ahead of last years rookie of the year DAVE CHIODO <TRAVIS AFB>,who placed third. CHARLOTTES, BRAD DUNCAN took the victory in the 40 and over set with a 1:51 and looked tough. BIG JOE HORTON placed second and is killing in all the points for the TUMS GRAND NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP. EDDIE GUNN <EVANSVILLE IN> is starting to wear a path to the podium, running third with a smooth 1:55.
It took a while but we saw the first sub 90 of the year. MIKE MELTON <TRAVIS AFB> ripped up the course at MYRTLE BEACH, and ran very strong 1:27. Its always so cool when good things happen to those who work extra hard and strive to be the very best. MIKE is serious about the CHALLENGE and now has the top two times on TOUR 04 to show for it, and he'll be back on the course soon. After a TOUR of the UAE, HARRY MYERS <TRAVIS AFB> is back and running 1:33s, look out. ERIC AKER <SAM SQUAD> placed third, only a half a second behind. TRAVIS AFB put down the fastest team time of TOUR 04 <4:45> on their way to the win, and this was their first CHALLENGE with the more familiar team. SAM SQUAD placed second, and the team of the weekend CHARLOTTE rounded out the top three. That to go with their second in relays. We don't get to call their names enough, these guys are a very good team.
The BLAST AT THE BEACH 2 is over for now, and more CHALLENGE lore will be the fodar for stories yet to be told. Compleate with a fly over by the US COAST GUARD, BLAST AT THE BEACH was very cool, and the CRUE will be back for number three. MYRTLE BEACH is the place to be on TOUR 05. As for now, TOUR 04 is moving toward JANESVILLE WI, if only in our hearts. We are getting close to half way through the season now and the SCOTT FIREFIGHTER COMBAT CHALLENGE keeps rolling toward a city near you. The CRUE is a team now and the summer in the sun has just begun We know you can't stay away. The CHALLENGE is calling, the BEST OF THE BEST AND THE BRAVEST are waiting to display their mad skills to the peeps everywhere. Theres plenty of TOUR 04 left to see, and all the other kids will be there. Stay tuned for more adventures. See you out there.....
CHALLENGE ON THE EASTERN SHORE
Didn't we just do this? It wasn't three days ago that the CHALLENGE was still on the other side of CHICAGO. Now through the wonders of modern transportation, and a lot of hard work, the CRUE brings to you, ROUND 5 of TOUR 04. OCEAN CITY MARYLAND on a fine Tuesday afternoon. It must now be mentioned that the CRUE has been rained on at every stop this year, at some point during the duration. I think it keeps us tough, well wet anyway.
A big thanks go out to JIM DICKERSON, and the MSFFA, along with the FRANCIS SCOTT KEY INN, MARLIN MOON CAFE, and OCEAN CITY VOL FD, for putting on a great CHALLENGE on a quick turnaround. An awesome march-on from the District of Columbia Fire Department’s Pipe and Drum Corps (check out the photos) added to the ambiance and opening pageantry. These guys, in their authentic regalia were a great addition to the program.
The color guard from Montgomery County (MD) were some strack troopers who we’d like to have at all of our stops.
The course was nice and flat, ready for those who would test it. The peeps were all in place and the CHALLENGE was on again. The ladies put down some nice runs with BONNIE BENSON <PROVIDENCE, RI> winning on a 4:03. BONNIE is becoming a CHALLENGE regular, and it always great to see her smile out there. JEANNINE HORTON <ESTERO, FL> placed second adding to the family hardware. The HORTON house must look like there’s chrome everywhere, as much as they bring home from an event. That would be a great tour, the HORTON TROPHY ROOM, you know there’s untold CHALLENGE lore with each and every piece. ANNETTE LAGARDIA <FAIRFAX, VA> took third. CHALLENGE legend CHUCK LeBLANC <LEOMINSTER, MASS> won the over 50s, with a nice 2:19. GREG KNIGHT <EVANSVILLE IN> took second with 2:38 and is making a run on the OVERCASH AWARD, but MR. HORTON might have something to say about that. And don't count out DAVE Q just yet. CHIEF ROBERT MILLER <FORT MEADE, MD> placed third. The CHIEF told me he didn't think he was ready but he looked great and tore up the course. In the over 40s, BIG JOE HORTON <LARGO, FL> continues to win his way through TOUR 04 and is over 60 points ahead in the TUMS GRAND NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP. PHILIP POMMERENING <TYSONS CORNER> ran for second with a 2:24, and ROBERT BIERWIRTH <VBFD> placed third.
CHRIS EDDY <PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY> won the overall on a 1:53 and did the special dance, the turkey something, but its cool, good job. MIKE CONNELLY <EVANSVILLE IN> placed second with 1:54, and CRAIG FURNEISEN <FAIRFAX COUNTY, VA> rounded out the top three with a 1:55. YORK CITY PA took team honors, and now lead in TUMS GRAND NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP points. MONTGOMERY COUNTY MD placed second.
THE STREAMLIGHT RELAYS marked the return of CHALLENGE greats FAIRFAX COUNTY. Looking smooth as ever, it came down to a match with TEAM STIHL <VA BEACH>. FAIRFAX CO came out on top in their first CHALLENGE in quite some time, welcome back guys. TEAM STIHL is always right there. TEAM EXTREME placed third. The peeps were treated to some great STREAMLIGHT RELAYS action. And a good CHALLENGE was had by one and all.
A new post-event pack-up time of 2:17 was set, thanks to the efforts of the OCVFD guys and gals. We never refuse help; de-construction in sunshine was a new experience and we think we’ll try to keep it that way.
So for another time, the tower comes down, and once more the CRUE moves on, to another place. MYRTLE BEACH S.C. is the place we will gather next and fine CHALLENGE will be held. Can it all be worth it, all the miles and days without home, the toiling in the summer sun and running through airports, the CHALLENGE itself, and of course, the teardown. All to bring the SCOTT FIREFIGHTER COMBAT CHALLENGE to the fellowship of true believers. Of course it is. Life is a CHALLENGE so living the CHALLENGE seems like the right thing to do. TOUR 04 is closing in on halfway, so there’s lots more fun to be had. Come and behold the TOUGHEST TWO MINUTES IN SPORTS, as always, I'll see you there...
JUNE 12TH 2004
SAFETY DAYS CHALLENGE
Spring turns to summer, and seasons start to pass, the CHALLENGE remains the same as we roll through the highways of AMERICA. Taking the course where the peeps need us. The CRUE is working hard to spread the word, "there’s a race going on". And ROCKFORD IL would be the place, as always, SAFETY DAYS would host a CHALLENGE. ROCKFORD is a great CHALLENGE every year, and one of the largest. Thousands would make their way to DAVIS PARK and SAFETY DAYS 2004, and the CHALLENGE would be there to greet them. ROCKFORD FD makes sure everybody in town knows to be there, CHIEF MARK MARANARA, with BRETT BEAMAN and a host of local sponsors, throw a good CHALLENGE and alot of great players are always on hand. Even the THE CAPTAIN from WXRX, a local radio station, ran the course <in street clothes> in 2:20, after falling with the dummy, you know this place rocks. Some team out there, get this guy and sign him up.
The STREAMLIGHT RELAYS opened the show on a very warm ROCKFORD day. WAUKEGAN 2 was to face TEAM AFTERMATH <formally known as EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEVANDALE baby> for the title. WAUKEGAN 1 had to settle for a strong third, and DAVENPORT rounded out the top four. WAUKAGAN 2 was the winner of round 4 on TOUR 04. Great show from the AFTERMATH and the CHALLENGE regulars. The ladies fought with the course but both prevailed. After a fighting the good fight, MIGHTY MOUSE herself TONYA COFFMAN <INDIANAPOLIS IN>, who really is like five foot nothing in height, stood tall on the podium at the CHALLENGE, how cool is that. AMY SMITH <EVANSVILLE IN> took second.
The over 50s were packed with names from CHALLENGE lore. CHIEF JIMMY NEVILLE <MORTON GROVE IL> who has taken the CHALLENGE every single year of its existence, yes all 13 years, blistered the course with a 2:09. This guy is so cool, and such a great player. I wish I could be half as bad as him, if I grow up. Thats the second fastest time of TOUR 04 and the number one CHIEF. JOHN FORSBERG <PALATINE IL> ran for second with a nice 2:23 and ROBERT HEINS <SARTELL/LESAUK> took third. What can you you say about a couple of guys like CHALLENGE legends BRET YUNDT <WEST LAFAYETTE> and KEVIN TJELLE <DEKALB>, just to be on the course with them is an honor. These guys are like statues or something, time has only made them stronger, and nothing more. Sure they’re over 40 on paper, but between the banners they run like they are twenty again. BRET took the victory with a sweet 1:44, the fastest time of the season, and KEVIN ran a very tough 1:55 with a hamstring that was taped heavily to say the least. EDDIE GUNN <EVANSVILLE IN>, placed third on a 2:04, and all seven over 40 guys turned in times good enough to get them to VEGAS and WORLD CHALLENGE XIII. Nice show by the over forty set.Well make room in the LIONS DEN, the heralded place of honor reserved for only those who can run the mighty CHALLENGE in less than one hundred seconds. There’s a brand new member of the sub 100 club, TONY CAVALLO <STCFD> has been working with KEVIN TJELLE and its paying off. ANTHONY ran a 1:38 for the win, and is looking great. Watch out for MR. CAVALLO at a CHALLENGE near you. JOEL VERBRICK <WAUKEGAN IL> placed second with a smooth 1:40. And BRET YUNDT’s quick over forty time earned him third overall as well, great day for the man from WEST LAFAYETTE. WAUKEGAN won team honors with a 5:22 and looked strong. TEAM V-MAX <FLORENCE KY> is back with a new sponsor and CHALLENGE regular ROSS MOSHER and running hard, placing second with a 5:49. And EVANSVILLE IN ran for third. And who’s this KURT BAKER from the CINCINNATI STATE CADETS. First timers are not supposed to come right out and put down 2:03s Have a monster pull and, kick CHALLENGE butt. But that’s what happened, KURT is a runner and the cadets have a team.
SAFETY DAYS are over for this year and ROCKFORD is behind us for now, but I'm sure the year will pass like nothing till the mighty CHALLENGE returns. OCEAN CITY MARYLAND is miles away and there’s no time to rest. The CHALLENGE must stand tall in three days. And you know the CRUE will make it so. There will be time to sleep in November, when the CHALLENGE is put to rest for 2004. But till then we will bring the SCOTT FIREFIGHTER COMBAT CHALLENGE to the peeps everywhere. Because you don't have to tell us, no CHALLENGE, no fun. So be on the lookout and tell everybody you know, TOUR 04 is making the rounds, and CHALLENGE and CRUE want you there.......
The mighty CHALLENGE rolled into the mid-west last week for round three of TOUR 04. OKLAHOMA CITY was the site, and downtown and the new ballpark was the backdrop. The entire BRICKTOWN area is very nice and a cool place to be on a great OKC evening. BASS PRO SHOPS and OUTDOOR WORLD, along with HOOTERS and the OKLAHOMA STATE FIREFIGHTERS throw a good CHALLENGE. And with a lot of help from all the surrounding area fire departments big and small, the CHALLENGE took shape. The set-up was going great, the CRUE is starting to gel, the help was excellent, all was well, and for a time, all the world’s ills seemed to go away. Now if you’re around the CHALLENGE at all, you know I'm a KANSAS boy from right up the street or should I say tornado alley from OKC. A huge black cloud formed around us and the signs were there; maybe it would miss us, or not. It wasn't long before we knew, when the temp dropped suddenly, being from there I knew it wouldn't be long. We about to meet Mother Nature, and she was P.O.'ed. The call came in, 80 mph winds and you guess it, tornado activity. The CRUE and supporting cast went into action to batten down the hatches. With a controlled chaos, the CHALLENGE braced for the storm. The quick work was not in vein, as the tempest hit, the CRUE members took shelter in different places around the course and chose to ride out the storm along side the CHALLENGE itself, what happened to it would be our fate as well. The mighty CHALLENGE shook and swayed a bit as the OKLAHOMA sky threw a fit, wind, and rain by the buckets, with quarter-sized hail, rattled us, but it never unleashed its full wrath upon us. The CHALLENGE and its CRUE would pick-up and dry off, and go on to even having a little practice session that evening. The CHALLENGE and its staff is a hearty bunch and a little tornado can't stop us from our fun. There would be a CHALLENGE tomorrow.
The new day brought bright sunshine and yet another CHALLENGE. The peeps gathered and there would be a race today. The ageless DAVE CUSACK, took honors in the over 50s once again, on a 2:30. The pride of LYONS-MUIR MI. appeared for his 69th time between the banners. TOMMY SADLER <ALTUS OK. TEAM DR. PEPPER> was second with a solid 2:35 and GREG KNIGHT from EVANSVILLE IN. was third with a 2:42. Of course these guys won't get in any trouble in VEGAS, I can just see TOMMY and the boys tearing up the strip leaving a path a mile wide behind them, don't think they can't, these guys are tough. BIG JOE HORTON < LARGO FL> continued his defense of the TUMS GRAND NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP, with another win in the 40 and over group on a 1:56. JOE knows the heavy hitters are coming up later in the season and wants it to all be second nature by then.
BIG JOE added to his collection of hardware, with a third place overall as well. Good day for the FLORIDIAN. RUSSEL KRASNESAY <McKINNY TX> took second but only by one second, it was a close CHALLENGE and that’s the way we like it. The top honor goes to STEPHEN BORSKI <TEAM DIET DR. PEPPER, PLANO TX> running a 1:45. STEPHEN broke his hip in a bike crash last year, and now stands atop the podium at the CHALLENGE. One more time, these guys are tough. The TEAM title went to my boys from ALBUQUERQUE, with a 6:09. TEAM DR. PEPPER from ALTUS OK placed second and continue to say that they will adopt me someday and make me a proud citizen of ALTUS; it would be an honor. And a promising rookie team from HUDSON BEND TX ran for third, and once they put it together, could make some noise on TOUR 04.
The STREAMLIGHT RELAYS witnessed a sweet CHALLENGE moment. The classic teacher verses the pupil epic took place when TEAM YORK < NORMAN, OK> faced their mentors and established CHALLENGE stars, TEAM DR. PEPPER <ALTUS, OK> for the championship. The teams had fought their way through the field, all the while, both teams entertained thoughts of meeting for the title. Careful what you wish for. TEAM DR. PEPPER prevailed in an all OKLAHOMA battle for CHALLENGE glory. It’s always the happiest and the saddest day when the student beats the teacher but not today. But I still say that this is the best new team out there, and TEAM YORK has arrived. A call to McKINNEY TX for third and JOPLIN 1 for a great show. The ladies from PPG <LAKE CHARLES LA> took the win for the girls.
Off into the storm goes the troop of TOUR 04. ROCKFORD IL is calling for the CHALLENGE and the peeps can't wait to see what happens at round 4. OKLAHOMA CITY will call again someday soon, and the CHALLENGE would be proud to answer. For now, the CRUE moves on, toward another place and another SCOTT FIREFIGHTER COMBAT CHALLENGE. TOUR 04 is on its way to a city near you, and we’re not going away until there’s a CHALLENGE. Cry out to the land, the CHALLENGE is in town, come and see the TOUGHEST TWO MINUTES IN SPORTS and go home happy. See you there....
DEERFIELD BEACH, FLORIDA
MAY 14TH & 15TH 2004
CHALLENGE BY THE SEA
Springtime always brings with it hope, a new CHALLENGE, and the BEACH BLOWOUT. It’s when we make our yearly journey to south FLORIDA- to a little slice of heaven known as DEERFIELD BEACH. Ah yes, the BEACH BLOWOUT, where you can have food and drink, music, and all manner of fun. And see the fast firefighters, my lovely assistant LISA, hear CHLOE tear up the National Anthem, and witness the CHALLENGE on the beach, the way it was intended, intense and spirited. CHIEF JIM MATHEE and the ENTIRE BEACH BLOWOUT STAFF are some of the coolest people you'll ever meet and without fail, always throw a top shelf CHALLENGE. How could you not love this place, its hard to be in a bad mood at the beach. Everybody there will make you feel at home and the CRUE never wants to leave when it’s all over.
The STREAMLIGHT RELAYS were held Friday evening, and a host of great teams were on hand to leave it on the course for CHALLENGE glory. It marked the return of the DEERFIELD GIRLS, to the winners circle. After taking off TOUR 03 they are back and tearing up the course. SUE, SAM, and JENN are the top US team right now, and I think they want it to stay that way. I'm sure we'll see them a few times on TOUR 04, look out ladies, time to pick up your game, the girls form DEERFIELD are on the course again. ST. LUCIE COUNTY took second and the FLORIDA FIRE FORCE placed third. Some of the real stars of the CHALLENGE filled the field for the men. FT. LAUDERDALE, TEAM BOCA, CLAYTON COUNTY, PALM BEACH, RIVIERA BEACH and heavies like MIAMI, TEAM STIHL, and TRAVIS AFB, as well as SAM SQUAD, and many more, were all there for round two. It seems like every year MIKE MELTON of TEAM TRAVIS is patching up his team. And every year he puts together a great team. With members being deployed and against the odds he puts a top flight group out there and they run hard, making it into the final 4 along with DELRAY BEACH, MIAMI, and the SQUAD, who added a new member themselves. Now to go along with the FREAK, they have TANK, man this team is solid. The championship would be decided between SAM SQUAD and MIAMI. ERIC AKER still has never been beaten to the top of the tower, by ANYBODY The SQUAD was in the lead but RICK "THE MODEL CITIZEN" STEPHENS has a monster hoist and made it a race. The teams battled and in the end SAM SQUAD took the victory with MIAMI on their heels. TRAVIS AFB placed third.
Saturday was another sweet BEACH BLOWOUT day, the peeps were covered with suntan oil and the course was ready for some CHALLENGE action. The ladies were out in force for round 2, and its great to see. SAMANTHA "QUEEN BEE" WASHINGTON <DEERFIELD BEACH FL> won, but by only eight one hundredths of a second over last year’s runner up in the TUMS GRAND NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP, SHENAH FLORES <TRAVIS AFB> 3:02.66 over 3:02.72. The ladies know how to please a crowd. RENEE MULLINS of ORANGE COUNTY FL ran for third with a 3:34. PAT HARTLEY <GAINSVILLE FL> took over 50 honors on a very strong 2:04, and that is the fastest over 50 time of TOUR 04. BILL KOCUR <SARASOTA COUNTY FL> placed second on a 2:16 and LARRY HINDS also from SARASOTA COUNTY ran for third with a 2:24. A remaining member of the legendary powerhouse DEERFIELD BEACH men’s team LES BAUMAN was victorious in the over 40 group, running a 1:49 and that’s the fastest time of TOUR 04, its shaping up to be the fastest CHALLENGE of the year, sweet. JOE HORTON <LARGO FL> placed second with a 1:55, and is building a huge points lead. It will be hard to catch BIG JOE. And TOM OSBORN from DELRAY BEACH FL ran for third with a 1:56. DELRAY BEACH has a killer team out there.
The top three in the open division all ran sub 100s, truly making it the fastest CHALLENGE of TOUR 04. They are all already members of the LION’S DEN sub 100 club, but its still a great feat. MIKE MELTON <TRAVIS AFB> stood atop the podium once again, running a tough 1:3069. MIKE is one of the big names on TOUR 04 or any tour for that matter. He’s a class act who is the CHALLENGE spirit embodied. The FREAK, ERIC AKER <SAM SQUAD> took second on a 1:36 and looked very tough. And the MODEL CITZEN, RICK STEPHENS <MIAMI DADE> placed third with a 1:37, RICK is a threat to win an event very soon and I'm sure we'll see it on TOUR 04. PROPS go out to ED KRANSKI <PALM BEACH FL> for a nice run, finishing fourth. The all important team division was very close, with only three seconds between the top three. SAM SQUAD won with a sweet 5:24, and it looks like their picking up where they left off last year, in the winner’s circle. TRAVIS AFB placed second, and with a new team again, MIKE and the boys keep showing the fast way around the course. MIAMI DADE ran for third one second behind TRAVIS with a 5:27, and MIAMI is due for a win soon. All three of these teams are real studs of the CHALLENGE and the peeps love them all.
Well, all good things must come to an end and the BEACH BLOWOUT is one of those good things. DEERFIELD BEACH is so cool and the CRUE can't get enough. It’s always a little sad when we have to go, but its on to OKLAHOMA CITY, and round three of the mighty SCOTT FIREFIGHTER COMBAT CHALLENGE. Of course, we'll be back, you never really leave a place like DEERFIELD BEACH, you just go away for a while. A part of you is always at the beach and thoughts of the beautiful people and sand and surf keep you going until next time. I travel all across this great nation of ours but my heart stays at the beach. The new CRUE is already hooked, and will count the moments till the next time there’s a BLOWOUT, filled with more adventures as the mighty CHALLENGE rides again TOUR 04 is rolling through the highways of AMERICA, and the CRUE is on its way. There’s many more stops to make and each one will be great. The CHALLENGE lives on and firefighters everywhere prepare themselves for the course. CHALLENGE glory awaits those who are willing to give it all, and leave it between the banners............. see you soon.
AND SO IT BEGINS...
MAY 1ST 2004
Once again, the CHALLENGE hits the road. All of the planning and winters toil are over. All that life outside the banners bring, along with the strange twists of fate, lead us back again. And the road is calling. Long months have passed with no CHALLENGE and now its time. The CRUE has different face this year. Gone, are some beloved members of the fellowship. Off to seek new frontiers and fortune. But wherever they go, they will carry the banner of CRUE member in their hearts for the rest of their days. And they will be a part of CHALLENGE lore for tours to come. Farwell to my brothers, we all wish you luck allways. Its not easy, this life on the road. Its not for the meek. But I know the new CRUE will be ready for what TOUR 04 has in store, welcome aboard.
The first stop on the map. CONWAY, ARKANSAS like last year the season opener would be played out in the OZARK region. TOAD SUCK DAZE was in full swing and over 100,000 people passed through CONWAY over the weekend.The CHALLENGE is a big part of TOAD SUCK DAZE and were glad to be there. Its no doubt that the CONWAY F D spearheaded by DEPT. CHIEF BRIAN MOIX and DANNY COLLINS are among the best hosts on tour. The help provided was second to none and the first show of the year is never easy. FIRST STATE BANK, and the ARKANSAS ADVERTISING AND PROMOTION COMMITTE helped as well and everybody pilled together and made the CHALLENGE stand tall.
Saturday came along with the rains, the ARKANSAS sky had opened up the night before and the day looked gloomy to say the least. But our fearless leader and father figure, JAY had his finger on the pulse of the weather guy and knew we were due for a window, and there was. The course would be tough and a little slow, but raceable. The CONWAY F D throw a great CHALLENGE, but are peerless with the kids CRAWL, DRAG, AND SQUIRT. The peeps were allready worked up from that action for the start of round 1 of TOUR 04.
The over 50 crowd looked like the whos who of CHALLENGE glory. Names like GREG KNIGHT from EVANSVILLE IN. in third place with a 3:01. And 2003 TUMS GRAND NATIONAL CHAMPION and winner of the coveted OVERCASH AWARD, DAVE CUSACK < LYONS-MUIR MI.>placing second at 2:40 in his 65th CHALLENGE. And TYLERS favriote son DON WILLIAMS, whos record includes world titles with multiple trips to the podium at worlds,taking the victory running a strong 2:13. Ah, to be young at heart. The over 40 group saw a familier face return. BIG JOE HORTON < LARGO FLA.> back to tame the course. Looking every bit like the champion he is taking the win with a 2:11. MARK BABB from BRIDGETOWN V F D ran second with 2:13. And EDDIE GUNN <EVANSVILLE IN.> placed third with a nice 2:19.
I guess some people still don't get it. At worlds last year, folks were dissmissing BLUFF CITY as mere humans. I guess second in the world at relays and third in team was a wake up call. Cry out to the land THESE GUYS ARE GOOD. The most exciting team in 03 is back and running hard. ERIC NEAL took the first step on the podium running a 1:46 on a very tough course. Teamate WILL LIVELY ran for third with a 1:58, and all four members were in the top 10. I hear their looking for a fifth. Only the fastest need apply, must have overwhelming desire to kick CHALLENGE butt and take championships. Contact BLUFF CITYS BRAVEST TEAM 343 MEMPHIS, TENN. CHRIS PEEL <HOUSTON TX.> looked very strong, taking second with a 1:55. BLUFF CITY took team honors of course. 5:48 was the time on the soaked course. HOUSTON placed second with 6:28. And EVANSVILLE made the trip from INDIANA a good one taking third. A big CHALLENGE welcome back to LITTLE ROCK A F B team member, JUSTIN GULLIVER, after a year off protecting us, hes back between the banners and running a sub two pace.
The STREAMLIGHT RELAYS were action packed. Former champions CORINTH <MS.>, CHALLENGE studs TYLER <TX.>, TEAM KA-PING from MEMPHIS, local heros TEAM GOTTA LOVE IT from CONWAY, and a team whos name was in the running for last years rookie of the year, TEAM YORK from NORMAN OK. to name a few. Were all on hand to put on a show. The championship round came down to CORINTH, and TEAM YORK. The teams were locked in a great battle right to the finish line. With a properly placed lunge at the finish line CORINTH was the victor. But TEAM YORK are not the vanquished, they are for real and here to make some noise on TOUR 04. TYLER placed third and TEAM KA-PING rounded out the finial four. The CHICAS CALIENTES from HOUSTON picked up where they left off last year, winning the ladies title. And the ladies from PPG <LA.> placed second. Both teams made the cut for VEGAS and WORLD CHALLENGE XIII. Nice work by all the girls.
A very cool moment took place during the opening ceremonies. SYDNEY MOIX, daughter of one of our great hosts BRIAN MOIX, sang the national anthem. BRIAN held an umbrella, shielding 13 year old SYDNEY from the rain while she nailed the anthem. The look on his face as he held back the tears of pride was priceless, sweet job SYD.
Well here we go, off into the sunset. On yet another journey across this great nation of ours. Down the road and around the bend, hoping it never ends. One more summer in the sun with the fellowship. From city to city with the mighty SCOTT FIREFIGHTER COMBAT CHALLENGE. The peeps await the new season, and even now plans are in the works for CHALLENGE glory. We say farwell to CONWAY for now. And look forward to comming back next year, and again and again. The CHALLENGE lives on so please join us for round two in DEERFIELD BEACH FLA. And enjoy the BEACH BLOWOUT and the CHALLENGE by the sea..........