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19 February 2020
Horsham district’s population will swell by up to 2000 this weekend as fire-brigade competitors, supporters and officials gather for major competition.
Representatives from provincial, regional and rural brigades across Victoria will be in Horsham to test their skills at Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria State Junior Championships.
Horsham Fire Brigade is hosting the Saturday-Sunday competition at Horsham’s B. J. Reither Track in Park Drive for the third time and members are looking forward to presenting the future of Victorian fire-fighting.
The event involves under-17 and under-14 brigade representatives competing in wet and dry disciplines with hoses, hydrants and other equipment needed on a fire ground.
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Event vice-president and Horsham brigade fire-fighter David Hornsby said events would feature competitors involved in intense competition.
“There are 61 teams listed as competing, which means there will be up to about 1000 competitors,” he said.
“Together with families, supporters, coaches and team managers, and then judges and officials, there are a lot of people coming into the region for the weekend. Many are staying in Horsham, but they are also staying in outlying areas.
“From a socio-economic point of view it is a major bonus for Horsham.
“The last time it was in Horsham, in 2015, there were many people in town for the event and we are expecting something similar this weekend.”
For the future
Mr Hornsby said all equipment used in competition was the same as used in a fire-fighting situation.
“It’s about teaching children to work as a team, while at the same time develop comradeship, have fun and learn about life in general,” he said. “Having competitions is a good, fun way to teach the skills that might be critically important in the future.
“The fires we have seen across Australia this summer and effort needed to fight these fires has shown the importance of teamwork on a fire ground.
“Many of the firefighters involved in fighting fires would have come through as junior brigade members in these types of competitions.
“The summer fires have shown the significance of maintaining and promoting these types of sporting events and competitions.
“The weekend’s event will also be a great chance to catch up again for competitions, which started across the state back in November.”
Horsham, Ararat, Stawell and Warracknabeal representatives will fly the flag for the Wimmera during competition, which starts with an opening ceremony on Saturday at 9am.
Competition will continue throughout the afternoon until 4pm and then resume the following day at 8.30am.
The junior championships will also act as a lead-in to Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria State Championships at Mooroopna on March 28.