Hagerman FD hosts NYS drill racing
The Gamblers post a top-five finish in one of eight events
In its 89th year of firematic racing, Hagerman Fire Department hosted the New York State Championship on Saturday, with 35 total departments participating across eight events. Roughly 5,000 people attended the daylong tournament, which was followed by the championship parade.
“Everybody has to hit the line at the same time,” said Tommy Dunham, the Hagerman fire chief who has participated in the marches and firematic racing for many years, and continues to march.
Hagerman’s team tied for second — alongside Bay Shore — in the efficiency event and placed just outside the top five in two other events. The Bay Shore Redskins placed inside the top five in three events, and just outside in two others. The West Sayville, North Lindenhurst and Islip fire departments’ performances were all notable, each finishing in the top five in multiple events.
Dunham said that about 90 percent of Hagerman department members who participated at the championship are junior members.
The Hagerman Gamblers have held their own in recent seasons, claiming the championship title the two previous years. A hiccup at a state tournament held previously this season cost them the title, but are standing No. 1 in total points for the year.
Hagerman hosts three tournaments each year; the other two take place in June and on Labor Day.
Although it will be a sanctioned tournament, meaning only departments from Long Island can participate, lots of departments are taking an interest in the Labor Day event.
“Other teams may need more overall points for the year,” Dunham said.
Three-Man Ladder, B-Ladder, C-Ladder, B-Hose, C-Hose, Efficiency, Motor Pump, and Buckets make up the eight scored events at Saturday’s championship. Many of them, like the ladder and hose events, involve a vehicle. And Hagerman’s B-Truck and C-Truck both made their way to the judging stage.
Cola Arnold, a co-captain for the Gamblers and member of the team since 2010, said that much preparation goes into an event like this and that it gets competitive.
“A lot of teams have been doing this a lot longer than we have,” said Arnold, who participated in five events on Saturday, including both hose events and the efficiency drill, in which he mans the hydrant.
Arnold’s fellow co-captain, Aaron Allen, said that preparation in events that require accuracy calls for meticulous attention to detail and consistency.
“Every single practice, we have to set everything up and make sure it is all perfect,” said Allen, who participated in all eight events on Saturday.
Allen also considers team chemistry to be a significant factor to succeed in the drills.
“It is very hard for everyone to get together, especially with people working and having jobs,” he said. “When you get everyone out on the track and are actually able to do something like this — with all these departments having their teams and everyone being friends on the track — it is a lot of hard work, but it pays off.”
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