Women's team will be first from Yukon to compete in firefighter challenge

A Yukon women's squad is one of the three teams from the territory heading to a Pacific regional meet in B.C. in mid-May.

'I'm pretty excited,' said team captain Kelsie Olsen. 'It's a pretty big deal'.

Team captain Kelsie Olsen, left, supports Elizabeth Boyd in the 'Randy drag'. (Dave Croft/CBC)

For the first time ever, a Yukon women's team will compete at next month's annual firefighter competition in B.C.

The captain of the team, Kelsie Olsen, said its four members have been training hard through the winter and spring. That includes running up the five-storey training tower at Fire Station Number 2 in Whitehorse, as well as hoisting fire hoses up the tower.

"I'm pretty excited," said Olsen. "This is the first year we've had a women's team. It's a pretty big deal."

Men's teams from the territory attended the past two Pacific Regional FireFit competitions.

Boyd Pyper, captain of yukon's two men's teams, says the fitness competitions take firefighters to the point of exhaustion. (Dave Croft/CBC)

Boyd Pyper, captain of the two men's teams, said the Yukon teams are mostly made up of firefighters from several volunteer departments in the rural communities near Whitehorse.

On Wednesday, members of the teams put on a public demonstration at Shipyards Park.

They practiced the "Randy drag", which involves members of the team taking turns pulling an 82-kilogram dummy until they're exhausted.

 "Well, the Randy drag is the last leg of what is basically a six-leg competition," said Pyper.

"It's the hardest. By the time you get to Randy, you've already run up and down [the] tower in full gear, on air, you've hoisted 50 pounds of weight. You get to Randy, you got nothing left, usually," he said.

"At that point, it's all about you. It's a mental game, it's extremely tough."

Sidney Johnson, one of the members of the women's team, says that's a test she's looking forward to.

"It's a challenge and I really like to push my boundaries and figure out where my limits are — and break them once I find them," said Johnson.

Sidney Johnson says she likes a challenge. (Dave Croft/CBC)

"I just love it because everybody is just so team oriented and we're just like one big happy goofy family on this team, and I love everyone," she said.

The Yukon teams are going to Langley, B.C., for the competition.

They're are also vying for a place at a national competition in Ottawa in September.


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