Firefighters are athletes!  It takes some focused agility to lug those thick uniforms and clunky boots around while working wonders with a hose, and we'll get to see the best of the best do their thing at a the Firefighter Combat Challenge in East Texas next month. This is a touring competition that goes all over the US and this will be as close as it gets.

The Scott Safety Firefighter Combat Challenge has attracted attention from ESPN over the years as it's traveled across the US.  Organizers say the goal is to encourage firefighter fitness and demonstrate what they go through in full gear and the Air-Pak breathing apparatus.  Tasks include climbing the 5-story tower, hoisting, chopping, dragging hoses and rescuing a life-sized, 175 lb. victim as they race against the clock. They don't need to, but this is another way that they prove they're heroes.

After events in twelve or so other cities through the summer, the Combat Challenge will be in East Texas (in Tyler) October 5th through 7th, and gives competitors the chance to move on to the world competition in Louisville, KY later in October.

It's free for the public to watch in the Broadway Square Mall parking lot, behind Sears (4601 South Broadway in Tyler).  Competitors can still register, and local firefighters will be involved.  It's family friendly, so take the kids and let them be inspired to grow up and be just like these heroes someday.  Good luck guys!