RFS State Championships promise to be a sizzler of an event

It’s coming … The promotional banner for the RFS State Championships to be held in Pambula mid September stands loud and proud at the intersection of Merimbula Drive and the Princes Highway.  And there to welcome its installation on Wednesday were Merimbula Chamber of Commerce executive member Serge Nachtergaele, left, Garry Cooper, Fire Mitigation Officer RFS Far South Coast Team, Cr Sharon Tapscott, Peter and Robyn Reynolds of the Pambula RFS, Cr Kristy McBain, Cr Ann Mawhinney and Mayor Bill Taylor. After three weeks the banner will be relocated to the Tathra area and then to Pambula.

It’s coming … The promotional banner for the RFS State Championships to be held in Pambula mid September stands loud and proud at the intersection of Merimbula Drive and the Princes Highway. And there to welcome its installation on Wednesday were Merimbula Chamber of Commerce executive member Serge Nachtergaele, left, Garry Cooper, Fire Mitigation Officer RFS Far South Coast Team, Cr Sharon Tapscott, Peter and Robyn Reynolds of the Pambula RFS, Cr Kristy McBain, Cr Ann Mawhinney and Mayor Bill Taylor. After three weeks the banner will be relocated to the Tathra area and then to Pambula.

It is a bi-annual event and one that is keenly contested from around the state because of the kudos and the economic boost it brings to the host district.

In September, the stage will be set for the 2014 Rural Fire Service State Championships, to be held at the Pambula Sporting Complex.

It will bring more than 200 RFS volunteer fire fighters to compete in the championships, but when you add in family members and support crews the number swells to a thousand plus.

The championships will provide a first-class spectacle as fire fighter teams from around the state showcase their skills and teamwork.

They will compete in a range of challenging real-life events including bush, grass and structure fire fighting and motor vehicle accident response.

To add to the excitement, a water bombing helicopter will demonstrate its capabilities.

Crowds at the three-day event from September 12-14 will also have the opportunity to enjoy some top entertainment provided by the RFS Pipe and Drums.

From their precision display at the opening to the impromptu music breaks, they will showcase their outstanding musical abilities.

Fire Commissioner Shane Fitzimmons AFSM will attend the official opening on Friday evening, and fire activity in other parts of the state will determine if he stays the weekend.

“The championships are a reflection of the core values of the NSW rural Fire service and a premier event on the Service’s calendar,” he said.

Garry Cooper, Fire Mitigation Officer Far South Coast Team said the Bega Valley hosted a regional competition in the 1990s but this was a first for the championships.

He said the Far South Coast had been short listed to host the 2014 championships back in 2012.

“Following a visit by the committee and inspection of the facilities at the Pambula Sporting Complex, in their words, a perfect location, as it is large enough to fit all events on the one site and is close to bushland for navigation events," Mr Cooper said.

"This along with the enthusiasm of the team and the support of his district manager John Cullen secured the deal.”

Mr Cooper said the competition between the teams “brings out the best in the service and its volunteers and generally is a platform for tomorrow’s leaders especially with the junior members starting out.”

Bega Valley Shire Council delegate on the Bega Valley Fire Management Committee, Cr Sharon Tapscott is thrilled by the prospect.

”It is a huge feather in the cap of the Far South Coast Team to have finally got the championships here as the location is heavily contested," Cr Tapscott said.

"They put their hand up for it and got it.”

She said Pambula Sports Complex now had the capacity to hold such an event including helicopter activities.

Cr Tapscott said the staging of the championships would be boon for the area.

“It will bring people to the shire for the first time and hopefully they will return as I am sure they will like what they see and experience.”

She said the council would prepare “welcome packages” to be handed out at the event and businesses were welcome to include vouchers, etc.

Mayor Bill Taylor said that council had always been a strong supporter of the fire services.

“It will be good to see the RFS express their skills in a friendly environment,” Ct Taylor said.

He said that there were 900 volunteer fire fighters in the shire, which translated to three per cent of the shire’s population, and there were 25 brigades and 65 vehicles.

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