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Local firefighters set records in combat challenge
They fight fires for a living and are among some of the strongest and fastest people in the world. Two Grand Island firefighters are boasting some pretty hefty titles.
The Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge puts firefighters from around the world through a grueling obstacle course.
They actually set a few records this year.
Brenda Dankert holds the record for fastest female Nebraskan to complete the course.
Lonnie Mitteis and his partner set the record time for fastest tandem team in Nebraska and earned first place in the tandem competition for males over 50.
It's really an impressive accomplishment for both of them.
It's known as the toughest two minutes in sports by ESPN. The Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge puts firefighters in full gear as they race up and down five flights of stairs, drive an 8 lb sledgehammer into at 167 lb. Kaiser sled...
"It's the turning point. If you're not good at that, you're going to struggle at the rest," Mitteis said.
...and drag a 7 foot dummy backwards 106 feet.
"You've got to get down and low on him because I've got to get him up high. He outweighs me by 25 lbs," said Dankert.
"It's all out as hard as you can go, and for me it was 2 minutes and 8 seconds as hard as I can go. I'm in full gear and when you're done you're done," said Mitteis.
Competitors come from as far as Germany, Poland and even New Zealand to compete to be the world's fastest and strongest.
"I'm over 50 and she's over 40, and we're competing against 20 something's and 30 something's," Mitteis said.
The pair placed 13th in the world in the co-ed race together.
"We did very well. I was very proud of us," said Mitteis.
Women do the same course, with the same weight as men.
On top of the weight they must push, pull and carry, they're also wearing close to 100 lbs in gear.
"The job doesn't differentiate based on sex, and it's meant to encourage you to be fit and do well at a fire scene," Dankert said.
And for Brenda, it's about proving something. She's only the second female firefighter Grand Island fire has ever had.
"I know that I'm going to set the standards for those that come behind me. I don't want them to ever say that we don't belong here as females," said Dankert.
Both Mitteis and Dankert say they're addicted to the challenge.
"It's not so much about the winning and everything. It's about the ability to compete," Mitteis said.
"If you fall down and trip, everybody wants you to get back up. Everybody wants you to be the best. We want to represent the fire service well, all of us," said Dankert.
Both Dankert and Mitteis made the finals in everything they competed in.
But, are looking forward to doing even better come next year's competition.
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