Muster brought firefighters together for friendly competition

Shareen Strauss
Led by the American Legion Cheula Post 92 Honor Guard and Siskiyou County Supervisor Brandon Criss, fire engines paraded down Main Street in McCloud late Saturday morning starting off the 6th annual McCloud Fireman's Muster. Fire department from around the north state that were not on fires came to compete, practice their skills and have fun.

Fire departments that were not on lightning-strike fires over the weekend came to McCloud Saturday for competition and interdepartmental camaraderie during the 6th annual McCloud Fireman’s Muster.

Fire engines with lights and sirens paraded down Main Street led by Siskiyou County Sheriff Jon Lopey, the American Legion Cheula Post 92 honor guards, and Siskiyou County District 1 Supervisor Brandon Criss.

Competing in a variety of relays such as Midnight Alarm at Hoo Hoo Park were members of McCloud CAL FIRE, Lake Shastina Volunteer Fire Department, McCloud Volunteer Fire Department, Pondosa CAL FIRE, Ash Creek Station Forest Service and department explorers.

Representatives from Butte Valley Fire Department, Crescent City Fire Department, Shasta Lake Fire Department, and Orland City Fire Department came to support the competitors.

“This is an amazing time for firefighters all around to connect with each other share stories, train, collaborate and also have fun,” said event coordinator Geeia Dexter of Wildwoman Sounds. “We also recognize fallen firefighters that have lost their lives in the line of duty and who volunteer countless hours, blood, sweat and tears to make sure our communities are safe and help those in need during scary and tragic times.”

Cheered on by spectators, teams were timed while dressing into their turnouts (firefighting gear) for the Midnight Alarm event. Other competitions were Bucket Brigade, Wet Line Extension, Hose Roll, Barrel Roll, Wet Line Extension, and a balloon pop.

The Lake Shastina Explorers won the championship, while McCloud Volunteer Fire Department placed second and CAL FIRE Pondosa was third.

Last year’s champions, Orland City Fire, came not to compete but to return the championship trophy and cheer Saturday’s competitors.

Many children were delighted to participate by getting wet during the hot day. All children received fire helmets and safety information and were able to talk with firefighters.

Supervisor Criss, a volunteer Butte Valley firefighter, competed in support of the several firefighting teams. “Firefighters support the community and the community supports the firefighters,” he said.

Sheriff Lopey said, “We are honored to be here to recognize our courageous firefighters and public safety personnel, the American Legion and all our veterans. We are proud of the great people of McCloud for supporting these outstanding and heroic men and women. This Muster is not only fun, but serious business, mobilizing and recognizing these firefighters, most of which are volunteers and stand ready to respond to fire and medical emergencies on our behalf day and night.”

A potluck of community donated side dishes followed the relays. McCloud Community Resource Center provided food for a barbecue. McCloud Recreation Council sponsored a beer booth. A raffle raised funds to help support the McCloud Volunteer Fire Department.

Dexter thanked the Muster committee and the McCloud Fire Department “for hosting this event to bring recognition and support to our community and local businesses. We want to thank the McCloud Community Services District for usage of Hoo Hoo Park. I would also like to thank Colleen Paterna, Heather MacRae, Ericka Singson, and Eldon Whipple for all their work helping put this event together. Chuck Ott who gave the opening invocation and recognized the fallen firefighters and Steve Richardson for designing the Muster T-shirts. Also, scorekeepers Mary Bodiford and Jana Pauley. We had super support from all our local businesses that have donated. It is nice to see the community come out to support our firefighters and all their efforts.”

The 2016 McCloud Fireman’s Muster is scheduled for June 11.