Message from the UFBA Events Team
Firefighter Combat Season is fast approaching.
We have booked in three events for the 2016 season and are grateful for the brigades that put their hands up to help host these events.
As is the tradition of the UFBA, the ‘regional level’ events (one in each Island) will be held in small communities, with the Nationals held in Wellington. The UFBA is committed to giving back to the communities that support our firefighters.
This year we have selected Westport for the South Island Challenge on 5 December 2015 and Whanganui for the North Island event on 27 February 2016. Although our friends in Hanmer Springs and Napier would have happily had us back, we decided to give them a break from organising so they could enjoy the competition.
Both Westport and Whanganui presented excellent proposals. After detailed research into the logistics of hosting the events in these new locations, the Events Team confidently recommended to the Board that we should hold the Regionals in these areas.
We are happy to help Whanganui celebrate their 150th Anniversary in this way. There are very few Combat Competitors in the West Coast and Taranaki Provincials and we believe hosting events in these areas will encourage new competitors and assist in the growth of our programme overall.
Getting to Regionals
We understand that using smaller communities for our events can make it difficult for competitors and officials from the extremities of the Islands to get to the Regional Challenges. However, we have put plans in place to mitigate this.
For those who need to fly but can’t fly directly into the host town, we have arranged bus transfers from the nearest airport. For Westport this will be Hokitika, and for Whanganui it will be Palmerston North. We will set times at each airport for collecting passengers.
We have used this method successfully in Hanmer over the last few years, so we have faith this will not inconvenience our funded competitors. Maria from Orbit has been fully briefed and will be able to look after all our attendees, with ease.
Bearing in mind many of you will find it more cost-effective to drive to a Regional, we have also allowed for some additional accommodation in the budget. If you need two nights, you will be able to select this option in your registration. We have also made provision in our budget for collecting visiting competitors from the airport.
So there is really nothing stopping you from giving Combat a go and making the most of this year’s stunning and different locations.
Competing at Nationals
As you know, we give preference to those who have competed in an Island event for Nationals, but this does not mean we will turn you away if there is room to fit you into the programme.
We are yet to get to full capacity at Nationals, so if you write a nicely worded email to the Events Team and Technical Panel explaining your situation, then your registration will be considered.
The National event will return to Wellington again, from 18th to 19th March 2016.
This was the very last weekend date left in the Wellington Summer Events Programme. The weather should be good and the crowds even bigger, given that we are now getting promotional leverage through the Wellington City Council Summer City project.
Ideally over the next year or two we would like to move the Combat Challenge into the middle of the year. Running the full event programme during the months of September - October to avoid conflict with our other eight events would be preferable.
However, we are restricted by the release of funding for these events occurring in the middle of the year, and therefore struggle to find hosts in a timely manner that would allow us to plan the events in this earlier time slot.
We need at least six months notice to plan a Challenge series effectively. Hopefully next year, we will be able to achieve this as we slowly progress into the right timeframe for all our competitors.
So if you know of a brigade you feel would be well-suited to host an event and can convince them to send the Events Team a proposal for 2016/17 season, please tell them we will gratefully receive them.
Preferred dates would be early September or late October. We would like to have at least three weeks breathing space around the UFBA Conference - but anything is possible if we have enough lead-in time.
The Firefighter Combat Challenge has come a long way in the last three years - within a month of starting, our current Events Manager was given the job of reinvigorating a failing product.
We are really proud with the progress made. Going from only having the Nationals occasionally to having a sharp well-run series of three events each year has been no mean feat.
The UFBA Events Team and Technical Panel will continue to work hard on building up this Challenge.
South Island Firefighter Combat Challenge - Register online now
Westport: 5 December 2015
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