The Esperance Volunteer Junior Fire and Rescue Service have taken out the Goldfields Zone Championships, beating Kambalda by just four points at the competition on Sunday, November 4.
The team had an early start to the day, taking the team of 14 by bus to Kalgoorlie at 6am to arrive in time for their first event.
Coaches Harry Moir and Brian Willoughby said the competition was tight, with both Coolgardie and Kambalda having improved following their last competition in October.
“This was a good event following the picnic competition we had here in October that we won convincingly,” Mr Willoughby said.
“The other brigades have certainly improved and definitely put some pressure on us but our kids improved also.
“Aden Close was outstanding in the run and he got Champion Fireman, too.
“All of the boys in the Junior 1 team performed extremely well, they ran so fast and they were so clean and neat.
“A couple of our new kids definitely performed in the sub juniors.”
“Harry and I weren’t quite sure how we went.
“We did have a few hiccups along the way and the other teams were very good.
“It was a tight finish and we were surprised that we got there in the end but it was very, very rewarding.
“We’ve been a fairly competitive team for quite some time now and it was good to come away with the win.”
The competition saw the ‘Best Female’ awarded to Brooke Willoughby – a first for the Zone’s junior competition.
Mr Willoughby stressed the importance of the award, which was presented for the first time at the senior competition in Bunbury in 2017.
“We’d never done it before, the girls are included as part of our team – we have a 50/50 male to female ratio,” he said.
“We are starting to recognise females in the competition and we’re the first zone to award the ‘Best Female’ category for the juniors.
“I think it’s very important and the girls carry a lot of the weight in the group – and they’re very fast.”
Brooke also took out second champion and first in the sub junior girls sprint, followed by Mikala Sim and Natalie Ferguson.
Joy Ferguson won the junior girls sprint and Aden Close took out Junior Champion Fireman after winning two major events.
The Esperance Team won first in the junior section and came second in the sub junior section, which was enough to secure the team a four point lead over Kambalda to win the overall competition.
The group travel extensively for competitions, something Mr Willoughby said simply would not be possible without the group’s sponsors and the ongoing fundraising done by the kids.
“These competitions are what the kids train for, it’s what motivates them,” he said.
“We’ve been sending kids to these competitions for 20 odd years and we watch these kids grow – there is a lot of discipline involved and it’s a huge commitment.
“We train three days a week and the commitment from the kids just has to be there.
“They learn the necessary hand skills that will potentially be used down the track in firefighting.”
The competition follows the Junior Fire Brigade Competition Esperance hosted in October, winning both the Junior and Sub Junior section of the competition against teams from Coolgardie, North Kalgoorlie and Kambalda.
The group will now prepare to battle it out at the State Championships, travelling to Fremantle from Saturday, November 24, until Sunday, November 25, to compete.