They weren’t rushing off to extinguish a blaze, however, but competing against local firefighters and family members in the 43rd annual Apricot Fiesta’s Firemen’s Muster.
In addition to being a fun way for the fire and emergency responder community to get together, the muster is a chance to move spectators backward through time. Demonstrations displayed some of the most time-honored forms of firefighting, said Chris Vento, a three-year volunteer firefighter with the Patterson Fire Department.
“Today was really successful from what I could see,” Vento said. “The crowd was excited, everyone was happy to be here, spectators were enthusiastic — a competition like this builds camaraderie, and that’s important in our line of work.”
The muster consisted of three events, each calculated to test the skill and strength of four teams of Patterson firefighters and their family members. More importantly, the competition was fun, exciting and elicits camaraderie for the fire companies and local residents.
The day of competitions started with the old-fashioned bucket brigade. The object is for a team of five men or women, each with a bucket, to move 50 gallons of water 20 feet with a trough, known as a dip tank, to a smaller tank known as a dump tank.
The team that finishes first is declared the winner.
On Saturday, Team One — including Justin Ambrosino, Blaine Christiansen, Brandon Cousins, Dallas Hernandez and Josh Scott — finished first in the event, with a time of 46 seconds.
In the motorized hose wagon event, team members sat on chairs as if in a firehouse. When the signal sounded to start, crews ran to its rig and responded as if going to a fire.
Competitors lay a hose along the 300-foot course after passing a hydrant. The engine and remaining crew continued down the street. When the engine stopped, as if in front of a burning building, additional hose connections were made, and the line laid from the hydrant was “charged” or filled with water. Competitors knocked down a target with the hose stream as if aiming at the source of the fire. The time stopped when the target is toppled.
Using a 1941 Van Pelt fire truck that shone a bright red, Team One claimed another victory, hosing down the target in 30 seconds.
In the water-ball challenge, each team directed a stream of water at a ball suspended on a cable, trying to push the ball over the opposing teams’ marker.
Teams consisted of a nozzle man, a backup and three other members to help with the hose.
At the signal, contestants opened their hose nozzles on straight stream and aimed the water at the ball. The event ended when the ball passed the designated point on the cable.
Again, Team One finished first.
Team Two — including Rene Barrera, Anthony Cordova, Tyler Hervey, Tomas Navarro and Roger Perez — finished second in all three events.
Six Miss Patterson pageant contestants — Tanya Brouse, Alexis Cook, Ashley Cosio, Elena Gonzalez, Katealyn Schali and Marielle Schut — were also among the participants who proudly showed their team spirit, sporting a uniform with red T-shirts screaming their name “Patterson Sisters Muster Team” on the front.
“We came out here today with no practice at all, but we were going to do it for fun and for teamwork,” Schali said. “We’ve been working together as a team for three months for the pageant, so we knew we could put it together today.”
Another all-female contingent, “Girls on Fire,” which consisted of Marisha Cousins, Valerie Jamieson, Jennifer Lemus, Celeste Scott and Savannah Vento, rounded out the list of competitors.
Chris Vento said the competition at the muster was as much about fire crews bonding with the community as it was about showing off their skills.
“Today was about keeping the tradition of the service alive,” Vento said. “This event reminds people of how fires used to be suppressed, before firefighting came to be what it is nowadays. You’re seeing the history of the firefighter.”
Contact Marc Aceves at 892-6187, ext. 28, or firstname.lastname@example.org.