Firefighter competition won’t return to Myrtle Beach in 2013

dbryant@thesunnews.comDecember 7, 2012 

A worldwide firefighter competition is ending its three-year run in Myrtle Beach with plans to head back to Las Vegas in 2013.

But you likely haven’t seen the last of the Scott Safety Firefighter Combat Challenge World Challenge, which had its 2012 weeklong competition last month at Broadway at the Beach.

Organizers like having the event in Myrtle Beach because of the nice weather and amenities, and likely will return in years to come, said Michael DeGrandpre, director of corporate communications for OnTarget Communications, which puts on the firefighter challenge.

“Eventually I can, with confidence, say yes [it will be back],” he said.

The weeklong event -- with 700 competitors and 2,000 relatives, crews and supporters -- plans to create a rotation of host cities around the country, and Myrtle Beach likely would be one of them, DeGrandpre said.

“We would be switching around the country,” he said. “The idea is to do some cycle.”

Myrtle Beach officials understand that the international competition wants to move to different host cities, but they would like to host it again because it’s an influx of business during an otherwise slow time of year. Competitors, supporters and others who came to Myrtle Beach for the event in 2011 spent $2.2 million during the week of competition, the city estimated.

“It’s business at an off-peak time of year,” city spokesman Mark Kruea said.

The 2013 event will take place Oct. 22-27 in Las Vegas, where it had occurred for three years before moving to Myrtle Beach in 2010.

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.

Contact DAWN BRYANT at 626-0296 or at dbryant@thesunnews.com or follow her at Twitter.com/TSN_dawnbryant.

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