THEY say winners are grinners and you’d be hard-pressed to wipe the smile off the faces of these local firefighters after a big win at the weekend.
Firefighters from the Tamworth station returned from Mudgee as winners, taking out the regional firefighting championships.
It was a double win for the region, with the Kootingal/Moonbi Rural Fire Service team also finishing on the podium in second place.
Tamworth beat out about 19 other teams to take the top spot and competed in challenges that involved testing their skills in setting up and using fire equipment quickly and safely.
The win puts the Tamworth team in a good place to take out two more regional competitions before the state championships in Kelso in October.
“The team is absolutely ecstatic,” firefighter Phill Moore told The Leader.
“We’ve only just put the team together. This is the third time we’ve ever run as a team and to come away with the win has been the best feeling.
“We’re still trying to let it sink in.”
Mr Moore said it appeared practice made for a perfect result for the local team, which came fifth in its first competition and second in the following competition last year.
It was a close race between Tamworth and the Kootingal/Moonbi team on Saturday, he said, with the crews neck-and-neck before Tamworth soared towards the top spot with the help of one leading lady.
“We’ve got three guys in our team and one female, Di Gallagher, who is an absolutely unbelievable person,” he said.
“She puts 110 per cent into everything she does. She’s a wonderful competitor and what she’s achieved has been unbelievable.
“As male competitors, we compete as a team, but we really try and keep up with Di.”
Tamworth Fire Station captain Gerry Cannon also received a medal with his crew.
Mr Moore said Captain Cannon, a veteran of more than 50 years, had not missed a competition since he became a firefighter.
At the weekend, it was also announced Gunnedah would host a regional championship in March next year.