SEDGWICK Rural Fire Brigade fielded a team in the 40th Annual Rural Fire Championships in Mandurang yesterday after a 32-year absence.
Teams from around the region and as far as Beazleys Bridge, west of St Arnaud, and Elaine, south of Ballarat, competed at the all-day event.
Four or five-member teams used hoses, ladders and pumps to compete in seventeen events designed around practical firefighting. A junior competition was also held for 11 to 15 year olds.
The annual Labor Day event at Pearce’s Reserve was organised by founder and oval namesake Graeme Pearce, whose family cleared the land to build a CFA training ground in 1973.
The long-time Mandurang Fire Brigade captain said he invited a few local brigades to compete in some events once completed.
“It went so well we made it an annual thing and it’s just kept on going,” he said.
He said the championships was a fun event which encouraged younger members of the community to learn firefighting skills. “It’s great to see younger people coming through. The CFA needs more young members,” Mr Pearce said.
Sedgwick fielded a team for the first time in over 30 years, composed of juniors Ben and Sam Dresschler and Jack Riordan.
Jack said the whole team had loved the competitive aspect of the events.
“To say I’ve enjoyed it is an understatement. It’s been really fun.”
The boys have been training every Sunday for the past five weeks in preparation for the event.
“I don’t call it training. I call it fun,” Jack said.
Sam said it was his plan to encourage other friends from his school to join the team and compete at next year’s competition.