Firemen’s muster preserves history

mgaytan@losbanosenterprise.comAugust 29, 2013 

The firefighter gathering at the Los Banos Fairgrounds last Saturday drew hundreds of people.

Organizers held the California Firemen's Muster Association State Championship in Los Banos for the second year in a row.

"Everyone loves to come to Los Banos because we have so much here in the fairgrounds to offer and even in the community," said Pauline Young, secretary of the association.

Organizers said last year's event went really well and so did this year's.

"We had great attendance, great participation, great dinners and great competition," Young said.

The muster is a gathering of current and former, paid and volunteer firefighters who compete using antique fire equipment and methods in timed events. Those events include bucket brigades, using hand pumpers, hose carts and vintage fire trucks, and steam pumping demonstrations.

Young has been the secretary for the association for the past 35 years.

"Wherever they go, I go," she said. "All over the state."

Cassie Gowing, of Spreckles, started racing in the events when she was 16 years old and has been an attendee for the past 10 years. She competed in the women's speed hose-cart race on Saturday. She said she looks forward to the event every year.

"It's good team bonding," Gowing said. "To be with friends and family it's really competitive."

Gowing's family got her involved and it's been a tradition for them ever since.

"I plan on doing it for a long time," she said.

Saturday's events also included activities for children.

Tim Mrozinski, past president of CFMA, and retired firefighter, who has been involved in the muster for many years, hosted the children's events. The activities involved a hose rolling race, bucket brigade, bucket pumping, and a search and find activity.

"The point of the kids' events is to teach the children how to prepare for coming on the course as they get older," Mrozinski said.

Mrozinski said it's important for people to know about the history of firefighting and, by holding a muster every year, giving back to the community.

"The course itself is to present to the communities the historical presentation of firefighting methodologies from the bucket brigade through hand pumpers through the modern engines," he said. "I wish people would understand that America and the world is changing but history is what has got us here and we need to learn history so we can prepare for tomorrow."

Reporter Marina Gaytan can be reached at (209)826-3831 ext. 6562 or mgaytan@losbanosenterprise.com.

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