Firefighter Combat Challenge comes to St. Lucie County, promises economic impact

Posted at 11:59 PM, Sep 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-14 04:09:51-04

They train for months for hours a week -- mainly for bragging rights. The Firefighter Combat Challenge is making its way to Fort Pierce, beginning Friday.

Hundreds of people from across the country are making their way to the Treasure Coast to support fire fighters in the competition.

“It’s just bragging rights. Firefighters like to talk a big game and say you know, I’m better than you at this,” said St. Lucie County Firefighter Paramedic Brian Riebe.

He will be competing this weekend.

“It’s exciting for sure,” said Riebe.

The best competitors get through the entire obstacle course in under two minutes, racing up stairs, carrying heavy weights and completing other obstacles that test their abilities while wearing full bunker gear.

Their competitive drive to be the best in the competition also benefits the communities they serve.

“I would say just the will to push through when you’re in pain. You can be on a fire scene and you’ve been working for the last 30 minutes and you find another victim in there and you’re tired but you’ve got to fight through it and that’s exactly what happens on this course,” Riebe said.

The friendly competition is also paying off for St. Lucie County.

The challenge is back in the area for the first time in five years.

“So we’re excited to be a part of it and glad to have it back in the area,” said Rick Hatcher, the executive director of the Treasure Coast Sports Commission.

It’s an opportunity to bring new people to the area, show them the best of the city, and also boost the local economy.

With at least 150 competitors, the hundreds of people traveling with them, and the thousands of local expected to come out to the area, the county could see an economic impact of nearly $400,000.

“And the timing of 9/11 being this week and having the first responders here, it was a nice fit for this area to hold an event of this magnitude with this great athletes,” Hatcher said.

He’s hopeful to host the competition again one the Treasure Coast next year, and try to host the national championship in the near future.