West Iron claims fourth straight firefighters title

QUINNESEC – Local teams performed well at the 120th Annual Upper Peninsula Volunteer Firefighters’ Association Tournament, with the West Iron County Fire Department of Iron River taking top honors for the fourth year in a row.

After competing in five races and three parades during the three-day event last week in Quinnesec, West Iron came out on top with a total score of 361 points.

West Iron was first overall in the races, with first place finishes in the hose relay, ladder race, and interchange race; tied for first place in the dress parade with Skandia-West Branch; and tied for first place in the commercial parade with Champion.

West Iron Chief Al Perlongo was proud of his team members, pointing out that this is the fourth year in a row that they have won and the ninth time since 2002 they have won.

When asked what the secret was to their success, Perlongo credited his dedicated firefighters and their families.

“We have a good bunch of guys and a good group of wives supporting us,” he said. “They’re devoted and they work hard at it.”

Rounding out the overall top five were Marquette County teams Skandia-West Branch with 356 points and Champion with 326 points, and local teams Florence with 320 points and Caspian-Gaastra with 309 points.

As this year’s tournament host, the Breitung Township Fire Department was ineligible to compete. Still, Breitung Township Chief Jeff Iverson was pleased with his department’s hard work in organizing and running the event.

“It was really hectic and all the guys worked really hard,” he said. “We’ve had some good comments, and all the residents seemed to appreciate the show.”

Iverson also noted that there were no injuries or accidents during any of the festivities.

The firefighters’ tournament is scheduled to remain in the local area for the next three years. Crystal Falls will host in 2015, Iron River will host in 2016, and Florence will host in 2017.

Top five results for each competition in this year’s tournament are listed below.

Hose relay – West Iron, first; Skandia-West Branch, second; Champion, third; Crystal Falls, fourth; Marquette Township, fifth.

Coupling race – Crystal Falls, first; West Iron, second; Skandia-West Branch, Champion, third (tie); Munising, fourth; Marquette Township, fifth.

Ladder race – West Iron, first; Marquette Township, second; Florence, third; Champion, fourth; Crystal Falls, fifth.

Interchange race – West Iron, first; Florence, second; Skandia-West Branch, third; Chocolay Township, fourth; Munising, fifth.

Mystery race – Munising, first; Florence, second; Skandia-West Branch, third; Marquette Township, fourth; Negaunee Township, fifth.

Races, overall – West Iron, first, 87 points; Skandia-West Branch, second, 75 points; Florence, third, 72 points; Munising, fourth, 66 points; Champion, Crystal Falls, Marquette Township, fifth (tie), 65 points.

Dress parade – West Iron, Skandia-West Branch, first (tie), 100 points; L’Anse, second, 97 points; Hancock, Munising, Negaunee, third (tie), 96 points; Ishpeming, fourth, 95 points; Norway, Richmond Township, fifth (tie), 94 points.

Shirt tail parade – Skandia-West Branch, first, 96 points; Gladstone, second, 87 points; West Iron, Champion, third (tie), 86 points; Florence, fourth, 83 points; Caspian-Gaastra, fifth, 81 points.

Commercial parade – West Iron, Champion, first (tie), 88 points; Caspian-Gaastra, second, 86 points; Skandia-West Branch, third, 85 points; Florence, fourth, 78 points; Crystal Falls, fifth, 68 points.

Nikki Younk’s e-mail address is nyounk@ironmountaindailynews.com.