Firefighters Go for the Gold as the 2002 California Firefighter Summer Olympics Come to Pleasanton

If there was ever a group that could be trusted to run safely while carrying a torch, it would have to be the firefighters of California. That's just what they'll be doing, too, as they light the Olympic flame to begin the 2002 California Firefighter Olympics, which will be held in Pleasanton from July 14-20.

The Firefighter Olympics were first held in 1970 as an opportunity for the state's firefighters to gather in friendly competition as a means of increasing camaraderie, exchanging ideas, and raising money for charity. After successful events in cities such as Oakland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, and Sacramento, the event will be hosted this year by our local Livermore/Pleasanton firefighters.

"We have an exciting area with a lot to offer," says Capt. Barry Rose, the chairman of this year's event. "After all the times the Livermore-Pleasanton firefighters had been hosted by other departments, we decided to petition the Olympic committee to host it ourselves. The Tri-Valley is a great place to hold something like this."

Approximately 2,500 firefighters from every region of the state will participate in the competition, which consists of a wide variety of events. All told, participants will try to take home gold medals in baseball, basketball, 3-on-3 basketball, bass fishing, bowling, cycling, darts, flag football, golf, horseshoes, ice hockey, motocross, mountain bike, paint ball, physical fitness, powerlifting and bench pressing, racquetball, rodeo, roller hockey, shooting, soccer, softball, surfing, table tennis, tennis, triathlon, volleyball, water skiing, and wake boarding.

In addition to giving the state's firefighters an opportunity to compete, the event serves as a fundraiser for a number of charities.

"The proceeds that are made from putting on this event will be donated to the Alicia Ann Ruch Burn Foundation, The Red Cross, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and other charities which will receive significant donations on behalf of the Firefighter Olympics," explains Capt. Rose, who works out of the Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Dept. Station 3 at Santa Rita and West Las Positas. "That's really the underlying thing that we're trying to do: to find a way that we can all have fun but in the long run help somebody else."

Several Hacienda companies have stepped forward to sponsor the event, including 1st United Services Credit Union, AT&T, and SBC Communications. Sponsors are still welcome to contact Rose at (925) 454-2343. The organizing committee is also seeking donations of raffle items, proceeds from which will also go to charity.

Finally, businesses may advertise in the 40-page Firefighter Olympics program, which will serve as both a guide and a souvenir for all who attend the event, including participants and their families. For further information on the event, check out the California Firefighters' Athletic Association web site at or contact Capt. Rose at (925) 454-2343.

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