View Full Version : Team members prepare for aircraft rescue fire-fighting rodeo

09-22-04, 07:41 AM
Team members prepare for aircraft rescue fire-fighting rodeo
Submitted by: MCB Quantico
Story Identification #: 200491682032
Story by Cpl. Susan Moyer

Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va (Sept. 10, 2004) -- Quantico Marines are preparing to compete in the annual Aircraft Rescue and Fire-Fighting Rodeo, formerly known as the Crash Crew Rodeo, Saturday Sept. 25.

Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point held the first rodeo in 1980 when civilian fire-fighter challenges first started to become popular.

“The rodeo began as a way to build camaraderie between the crash crew Marines on the East coast,” said Gunnery Sgt. David C. Rombough, aircraft rescue and fire-fighting materials chief and former coach of the ARFF Rodeo team. “This field is a small community and it’s good for us to get together and have a fun time.”

The ARFF Rodeo is not just a fun competition. It serves a greater purpose.

“All of the different events in the competition are designed after some aspect of our job,” said Sgt. Michael Day, licensing chief and assistant coach for this year’s ARFF Rodeo. “When we practice for the rodeo, we are also sharpening our job skills.”

Before practices began, Day and head coach Staff Sgt. Terrail Dickerson held try-outs.

“The events at the tryouts basically show the coaches who have the speed, strength, and endurance which are needed for the competition,” said Rombough.

Every ARFF Marine who is a sergeant and below tried out for the team.

During the tryouts, each Marine ran a straight sprint and a sprint carrying 30-40 pounds of equipment.

They were also timed to see which Marines could roll two 50-foot sections of firefighting hose the fastest.

Another event during the rodeo tryouts was the fireman’s carry. The tryouts required Marines to walk as far as they could with a 165-pound dummy on their shoulders.

“We had one Marine walk almost a mile and a half with the dummy on his back,” said Day. “Very impressive.”

Out of the approximately 30 Marines who tried out, only five made the team, and two were selected as alternates.

“We look at their times, but we also look at their enthusiasm and heart,” said Day. “Those are the things that really matter.”

This year, the team began practicing for the rodeo in August for two to three hours a day. The Marines were still responsible for their section duties during the first month of practice. Last week, the team began practicing from 7:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Then from noon to 2:00 p.m. the team prepares the field and equipment for the 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. practice. The Marines are no longer responsible for their sections duties and will continue to practice each day until the rodeo arrives.

“All of the Marines work really hard at the practices,” said Day.

Besides hard work and dedication, the Quantico team has experience to help the Marines in the Rodeo.

Two members on the team competed in the ARFF Rodeo two years ago.

“They can look back and remember what techniques worked and which didn’t,” said Rombough. “Their experience will prevent the team from repeating past penalties.”

Each team must follow a strict set of rules for each event. Each team is charged with a penalty for breaking a rule. As a consequence of the penalties, the judges add extra time onto their actual event time.

“We aim for precision without penalty,” said Rombough. “That’s what saved us in 2002.”

“The times were so close between three of the teams,” he said. “The other two just had more penalties than us.”

Quantico’s ARFF Rodeo team took home the trophy two years ago.

The rotating trophy, an antique brass high velocity nozzle, has been at Quantico for two years.

“It is up to the champions to arrange the next year’s rodeo,” said Day. “With the operations going on overseas, it was decided that the rodeo be postponed until this year.”

The team’s expectations are high this year, said Rombough.

“We have a lot of heart on the team,” said Day. “I think that’s what it’s going to take to keep the trophy here.”

This year’s rodeo begins at 9:00 a.m. Sept. 25 at the Marine Corps Air Facility. Proper identification, vehicle inspection and insurance is required to attend the ARFF Rodeo. For further information, call Sgt. Jones at (703)784-1166.


Two members of Quantico’s Aircraft Rescue Fire-Fighting Rodeo team practice Friday for the rescue saw cutting race. Lance Cpl. Brodie J. Denow, a rescueman, uses a K-12 rescue saw to cut a 55-gallon steel drum in half while Cpl. Todd A. Holmes, a senior rescueman, steadies the drum. All of the events in the Rodeo test the Marines’ rescue skills. The steel drum simulates a crashed aircrafts. The rodeo teams will compete to see who would be able to get into the aircraft the quickest. Photo by: Cpl. Susan Moyer