Women smashing their way into upcoming firefighter challenge

Organizer: “Why not let our sisters in the fire and EMS services take a crack at it?”

Credit: courtesy of Hunks and Ladders.

Credit: courtesy of Hunks and Ladders.

Women are about to smash a glass ceiling this weekend, and it should come as no surprise.

These ladies carry hammers and axes.

Jake Preston, the organizer of the annual Hunks and Ladders calendar, said this year's Hunks and Ladders Firefighter Challenge will be co-ed for the very first time.

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That means female firefighters will battle for glory at the event set to start at 3 p.m. Saturday, July 21, at The Greene, 4450 Buckeye Lane in Beavercreek.

Preston said he is excited to have ladies included in the fund-raiser.

“Why not let our sisters in the fire and EMS services take a crack at it?” he said.

Firefighters try to woo the crowd as one-by-one they compete in an obstacle course during the challenge.

The event also will include a performance by the band Stranger, beer sales and other activities.

Funds raised at the free event and from sales of the 2018 Hunks and Ladders calendar benefit A Special Wish Foundation Inc., Miami Valley Firefighter/EMS Memorial Association and Pink Ribbon Driven.

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Preston is searching for this year’s competitors.

The fitness challenge is open to all Ohio firefighters.

Audience members and judges — this writer included — will help select the top 12 firefighters for the 2019 Hunks and Ladders calendar.

A champion will be belted and receive a $1,000 travel gift certificate. The second-place winner will receive a $500 gift certificate and the third-place winner will receive a $250 gift certificate.

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Hunks and Ladders was started in 1987 as a fundraiser for the burn unit at Children’s Hospital.

The 1988 calendar was Hunks and Ladders’ first.

All 118 firefighters featured in the project's 30 years are featured in this year's calendar, which is on sale now at the Dayton Firefighters Credit Union, 338 S. Patterson Blvd., Dayton. 

The calendars also will be sold at the combat challenge in July.

Through the years, Hunks and Ladders firefighters were recognized by talk show host Oprah Winfrey and appeared on Phil Donahue’s national show.

>> MORE: How Phil Donahue accidentally made broadcast history in Dayton

The first combat challenge was held in 2015.

Want to go?

WHAT: Hunks and Ladders Firefighter Combat Challenge

WHEN: Begins at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, July 21

WHERE:The Greene, 4450 Buckeye Lane, Beavercreek

COST: Free

INFO: hunksandladders.org or Facebook

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