While the day started out as cool and showery, it did not dampen the spirits of all those who attended the Wajax Challenge at Pine Valley, Northbank.
Once again this day was very successful with fun had by all – crews and all their supporters. It was good to see the crews mixing and enjoying a good old chin wag.
The Wajax challenges are held annually and are designed to test fire crew's speed, skills, and agility against other competing teams. These events also allow the all important networking of fire fighters from around the region before the onset of the fire season. The challenge involves teams of four with hoses and a portable WAJAX pump weighing 26 kilos carried in a pack frame on the firefighter’s back. Each team must first carry their equipment 30 metres to a water supply, set up the pump and then run out 30 metres of hose out (this part of the competition is called the Standard Wajax run). They then knock over a target (the first target is called First Water) with a powerful jet of water. After this they then attach two smaller hoses to each end of the 30m hose and knock over two more targets (the second targets are called Second Water).
Of special note was the attendance of the Taranaki crew who acquitted themselves well given they had not competed in Wajax challenges before. The Blenheim crews took out the major prizes, but the day was not really about the detail of the competition.
It was a day for crews from different rural areas to meet up and exchange ideas for the up coming rural fire season. That and getting stuck into all the food and refreshments made available by our sponsors, without whom this event could not be run. This was enjoyed so much that some of the times in the competitive runs suffered a little, but seeing pump crews made up of a random pick from the competitors for the last run of the day made for an enjoyable afternoon. From the funds from sponsors we were able to supply each crew member competing a polo-shirt each.