Monday, January 18, 2016

Let's Muster, Mister!

If you haven't seen a muster, you've missed out. They're absolutely better than a Rugby game. Well, at least as exciting. Here are three of the regulation competitions.


HOSE CART RACES

The hose cart race is one of the competitions. In the 1800s, pumper companies delivered water to fight those old-time fires, but not without hose companies arriving on the scene, too. Firemen of both companies raced through narrow streets, their high-wheeled equipment in tow to reach the burning building and prevent the fire from spreading. The hose cart races reenact those scenes from the last century, but now the competition is only against the clock.

There are two separate contests, men's and women's. In each, six people run their hose cart beyond the target to a nozzle platform. One team member connects the hose to the hydrant while two others attach the nozzle, take aim at the target, and pray for a steady hand and the best time to give them a first place.
Sonora Volunteer Fire Department Hose Cart
BUCKET BRIGADE COMPETITION 

So, where's the water? The convenient hydrants that dot modern sidewalks weren't always there. Firemen had to take water from creeks, cisterns or any other available sources, then get it to the pumper which could be a distance away. For many years men used buckets and passed them hand-over-hand to keep the tank filled. Success of the bucket brigade was measured in speed and endurance. 

In today's competitions, teams of five firemen or women make up the bucket brigade. They form a line twenty feet long between a "dip tank" and a "dump tank," then at a signal they try to be the first team to pass fifty gallons of water from the source to the empty tank.  Look out for the sloshing frenzy. In the end one team comes up soaked and winning...and bushed.


Bucket Brigade Competition
MOTORIZED PUMPER AND HOSEWAGON COMPETITIONS  

Now it's 1918. Imagine six firemen sitting at a firehouse. An alarm sounds, they leap to their rigs, turn over their engines, start the sirens and hit the lights, then speed out the firehouse door.  At the
 fire, they connect the hose to the hydrant, run the hose out to its full length and connect to additional hose. The crew aims the nozzle and the line leaps in their hands as water spurts onto the fire. 

The muster recreates the urgency and demonstrates these early firefighting skills. At the muster there's no fire to extinguish. Instead, the competing teams jump on their trucks, race to the end of the track and knock down a target with a blast of water to stop the clock and beat their opponents' time. Even without the threat of fire, excitement and tension charge the crowd and everyone gets caught up in the proud moment of victory. 
Mortorized Fire Truck Competition, Fairfield Fire Department



Quote of the Week: "Better to be busy than to be busy worrying." Angela Lansbury

60 comments:

  1. Those sound like fun competitions to watch. And participate in. Gives everyone an appreciation for what firemen had to do in the past.

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    1. The endurance had to be quite something.

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  2. Sounds like a fun competition. Interesting how we made excitement and fun back then and celebrated firemen and their skills.

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    Replies
    1. The Muster is fun and does celebrate the history of the fire department.

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  3. Those would be so fun! But I imagine quite exhausting.

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    1. They tire me out, and I'm only watching.

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  4. Hi Lee - they sound fun ... and I'd love to be able to watch one - hard work, but so involving ... interesting how we create activity from something that was so essential in those early days ... cheers Hilary

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    1. It is interesting that we've turned something essential to saving lives into something fun.

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  5. Looks exhausting! But would probably be fun to watch :)

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    1. It's a great way to spend time and drink a cold beer!

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  6. That would be great to watch. And there'd be some history learnin' too.

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  7. That would sure wear out the body, but they sound like fun to watch and do.

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    1. Most of those people do work up a sweat, especially under the hot Nevada sun.

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  8. That sounds like something fun to see and participate in. Firemen have to be good teammates.

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    1. The team work is what makes the competition exciting to watch.

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  9. Looks like fun Lee. loved the photo's and post.
    Yvonne.

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  10. One way to stay cool on a hot summer day! Angela Lansbury's quote is spot on.

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  11. I never even heard of these competitions before but they sounds like fun. I'd enjoy rooting for a team for a race and participating in the bucket competition.

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  12. That's so exciting! I bet they have a lot of fun. I'd cheer them on and stay out of the way of the water! :)

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  13. This is so interesting. My grandparents met when Grandmother's house caught fire and Grand father was one of the young men that put it out. This was in the late 1890s. A few years ago our neighbors house burned to the ground. Since we live in the country, there are no fire hydrants and the firefighters had only what water was on their trucks. Not enough to save the house. I'd like to watch some of these events.

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    1. What great stories, Beverly. I love that your grandfather met your grandmother while trying to save her house from fire!

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  14. I have never heard of these games. Sounds like they would be fun to watch! Definitely exciting!
    ~Jess

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  15. Sometimes we forget how "convenient" the modern age is. Those contests would be fun to watch.

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    Replies
    1. That's why I love history. It makes me understand just what I should appreciate these days.

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  16. Those are fun competitions! Those people must be in great shape!! :)

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  17. They look like so much fun! :) Have a lovely week.

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  18. Wow, sounds like a tough competition!! Thanks for sharing about the details.

    -Lauren

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  19. I've never heard of a muster. They do look like a lot of fun. That bucket brigade competition would be great on a hot summer day. Love that Angela Lansbury quote.

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  20. Sounds fantastic. I love the final photograph of the fire car. Very 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang'. Love it!! Have a great week, Lee.

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    1. They did look so boxy. Amazing that they actually arrived and put out any fires.

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  21. I probably could follow these competitions better than I can Rugby. Not sure I could compete, though.

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  22. Hi, Lee, a couple more things that I didn't know existed. Thanks for enlightening me.

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    1. I always find things out here in blog land that I never knew about.

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  23. And I thought all the fun was at the Fall Fair. I really need to start reading my memos. hehehe

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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  24. Nice:) It's funny the games we humans will invent for fun, but if someone forced us to do it we'd refuse;)

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    1. These were originally created for the firemen to blow off steam. Now they're a wonderful glimpse into the past and a great excuse for a party.

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  25. On the island where I live and am a volunteer firefighter (and currently on the injured reserve list as I'll have surgery on my quad tendon in the morning), there are a few locations we'd still have to draft water out of a lagoon or swimming pool--but thankfully most places we have hydrants. Using that old equipment would be fun.

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    1. So in your case, these competitions are for real. Good luck on that surgery!

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  26. This just shows how strong and fast the old firemen had to be. This would be fun to watch as long as one isn't too close to get wet:)

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    1. That happens once in a while. But Nevada was hot, so the water was a welcomed relief.

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  27. Wow, such excitement, and what a great way to stay in shape for the real thing. These guys are heroes! So glad they have better equipment today, such a difficult way to fight a fire!

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    1. The women are pretty awesome, too! I'll have to find some pictures of them doing their stuff.

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  28. It must be so exciting to watch. :-)

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  29. What a fun time! It's been way too long since we got out to a community event like that.

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  30. I never knew there were such fun games in the fire-fighting business!

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  31. This looks like a workout and fun to watch.

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  32. Hey superstar celebrity author, n'stuff, Lee,

    Great post! Thanks for sharing! Following!

    Ahem, fascinating, informative and makes me realise what it must of been like for the fire folks, way back when.

    Did you know that the Canadian version is named the "Hoser" cart race? Eh!

    Yes, as always, your starstuckest fan,

    Gary :)

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    1. Hoser is a perfect name. And no I didn't know that. Thanks for SHARING.

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    2. Hey Lee!

      There you go! Some fascinating Canadian knowledge I have shared with you. If you ever watched Bob and Doug McKenzie, you'd hear the reference to "hoser".

      It's good to share and you are welcome.

      Have a nice rest of your weekend.

      Gary

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  33. Every few years some of the firehouses around here get a bee in their bonnet and do these again. Usually when it's a group of new young guys. I've seen quite a few. There are groups on Long Island that still compete, I think. It's amazing to watch and lots of fun.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Heather

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    1. How lucky for you to be able to see those games. I love going and cheering from the sidelines.

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  34. I would love to try a bucket brigade, but I feel like my arms would fall off shortly after the start. :)

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  35. That looks like loads of fun!!! And Good Quote!!!

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  36. I've never been to one of these, but it sounds really interesting! The sort of fascinating inspiring that makes one want to write a story set in those times. :)

    Cool quote!


    Alexa
    thessalexa.blogspot.com
    verbositybookreviews.wordpress.com

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