Firefighters converge on Myrtle Beach for competition

dbryant@thesunnews.comNovember 11, 2012 

Hundreds of visiting firefighters. Six days. Toughest two minutes in sports.

Add those up, and Myrtle Beach has what it considers a perfect off-season sports tourism event.

It’s called the Scott Safety Combat Firefighter Challenge World Challenge and for the next week, it’s heating up things at Broadway at the Beach.

This is the third consecutive year Myrtle Beach has hosted this world competition, with between 650 and 700 firefighters and up to 2,000 relatives, crews and supporters filling up the parking lot by Hard Rock Cafe. Competition kicks off Monday and runs through Saturday. The event moved here in 2010 after three years in Las Vegas, which had hosted the challenge on Fremont Street.

Myrtle Beach is an ideal spot because of the venue at Broadway at the Beach, the number of hotels, things to do and the nice weather, said Michael DeGrandpre, director of corporate communications for OnTarget Communications, which puts on the firefighter challenge.

“We’ve enjoyed ourselves in Myrtle Beach,” he said. “We’ve had fantastic success down there.”

Myrtle Beach officials like the event being here, too, because it brings visitors during a typically slower time of year that helps hotels, restaurants and attractions, city spokesman Mark Kruea said. Competitors, supporters and others who came to Myrtle Beach for the event last year spent $2.2 million during the week of competition, the city estimated.

“It comes at a time when we need the business,” Kruea said.

Myrtle Beach would like the event to continue coming back, Kruea said.

“It’s understandable that other locations would want to host this event,” he said.

Officials haven’t yet announced where the world challenge will happen next year, though Myrtle Beach is in the running, DeGrandpre said. Officials will announce the 2013 location before January.

“We have a couple of places up in the air that we are thinking about and Myrtle Beach is one of them,” DeGrandpre said. “Myrtle Beach is definitely high on the list.”

The challenge is considering picking several cities that would host the competition on a rotation, he said. That way, it could be on the east coast one year and closer to the west coast the next so the same group of competitors don’t always have to travel the most distance, he said.

“Then you just cycle through them,” DeGrandpre said.

But the competitors aren’t worried about next year quite yet. The competition, which ESPN once dubbed the toughest two minutes in sports, puts firefighters through a course of work-related challenges such as climbing a five-story tower, hoisting and dragging hoses and “rescuing” a life-sized dummy that weighs 175 pounds. And competitors do those tasks wearing their usual gear and an air pack that combined weigh 50 pounds.

Travel website names top-rated hotel in Myrtle Beach

Anderson Ocean Club & Spa has been named the top-rated hotel in Myrtle Beach by a travel website.

The hotel, at 2600 N. Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach, was picked as an Orbitz Best in Stay Award winner for the Myrtle Beach destination. Orbitz picked the best hotels in 75 of the travel website’s most popular destinations around the world, calling these winners the “cream of the crop hotels.”

The hotels were picked based on the overall numeric score of nearly 200,000 hotel reviews by Orbitz customers who have booked and stayed at hotels since 2011 and rated them in several categories, including amenities, maintenance, hotel staff, room comfort, location and value.

Nearly 150 Orbitz hotel experts then weighed in, considering other market conditions such as the number of reviews, frequency of booking and reputation of hotel staff, according to the travel website.

Contact DAWN BRYANT at 626-0296 or at or follow her at

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