CEDAR RAPIDS — Shane Farmer wants to be the kind of firefighter others can count on.
That’s why the annual Firefighter Combat Challenge is so important to the 1995 Cedar Rapids Washington graduate.
“The Firefighter Combat Challenge has allowed me to grow as a firefighter and to someone I would hope every other fighter that knows me would want on a call with them,” said the 41-year-old Farmer, a member of the Cedar Falls Fire and Rescue department and a personal trainer and coach.
At the 2017 world championships, Farmer earned an additional two gold medals to add to his collection of five.
The Firefighter Combat Challenge is an event that challenges our nation’s heroes. Any firefighter can join the challenge by going to regional events, which would qualify them for nationals and worlds.
The competition involves challenges a firefighter has to complete, obstacles a firefighter would run into during their work. They wear all of the gear they would normally wear, which could be about 75 pounds.
The challenge is highly regarded the “toughest two minutes in sports.”
“Knowing what I’m doing is making me better in my profession, knowing all the hard work is actually making me better in a day-to-day basis is what makes this challenge the best,” Farmer said.
There are different categories a firefighter can compete in — tandem, relay and solo.
Firefighters from all over the world come together to take part in the challenge.
“Meeting with other friends and co-workers is a reward for the hard work and training,” Farmer said.
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At the 2017 world championships in Louisville, Ky., Farmer competed in all three events. He placed fifth in the world in his solo run. and earned world titles in the relay and the tandem events.
“I have always been someone who has wanted to help people,” Farmer said when asked why he wanted to become a firefighter.
Farmer wanted to take part in the firefighter challenge after watching the competition on ESPN.
“I looked up website and went for it and knew it was a good thing and something that I wanted to be a part of,” he said. “I wanted to be a part of the group.”
Farmer was a volunteer firefighter in Cedar Falls from 2001 to 2006. He has been a full-time firefighter ever since.
Any firefighter can join the challenge. Regional events start in April to qualify for Worlds in October.