IN SEPTEMBER the stage will be set for the 2014 Rural Fire Service State Championships to be held at the Pambula Sporting Complex.
The bi-annual event is keenly contested around the state because of the kudos and economic boost it brings to the host district.
It will bring more than 200 RFS volunteer firefighters to compete in the championships, but when you add in family members and support crews the number swells to over 1000.
The championships will provide a first-class spectacle as firefighter 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 - 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 the Friday night and, depending on 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.
Far South Coast fire mitigation officer Garry Cooper 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 shortlisted 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.
“This, along with the enthusiasm of the team and the support of 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”.