Saturday, December 07, 2013
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Three-year-old Bridget Lindquist uses a mallet to knock down a "door" Friday at the Polk County Fair as her brother, Kellen, 7, races to the next obstacle.
August 13, 2013
RICKREALL -- Bridget Lindquist swings her mallet to knock down the "door," the first obstacle in Southwest Polk Rural Fire Protection District's kids' obstacle course at the Polk County Fair.
She swings mightily at the door -- really a 4-by-4 board on a slider -- but being only 3 years old, she isn't moving as quickly as her opponent, her older brother, Kellen, 7.
Southwest Polk Lt. Chet Graham leans over and gives the mallet a little push, helping her finish the obstacle.
"Come on little sister. Let's go through the tunnel," he said, pointing to the next challenge on the course designed to simulate -- on a much smaller and less dangerous scale -- what firefighters do when they battle a house fire.
Dressed in miniature turnouts and a plastic fire helmet, Bridget charges into the tunnel and on to the next challenge.
In the end, her brother won, but it made no difference to Bridget. Like most participants in the obstacle course, she was more than happy with the pink helmet, candy and "junior firefighter" sticker she was given for her efforts.
Graham was the master of ceremonies of sorts at the course Friday, in charge of helping youngsters like Bridget negotiate obstacles.
"I'm going to lose my voice by the end of the weekend," Graham said, smiling and already sounding a little hoarse. "Parents have been thanking us for doing this. It's fun."
This is the first year that Southwest Polk has sponsored the obstacle course at the county fair, Graham said. He added that it's a good way to introduce children to firefighters and allow the department's younger recruits to participate in fun community service.
The event appeared to be a hit, with a steady flow of racers waiting in turnouts for their first -- or second or third -- shot at the course.
Colleen Anderson, 5, decided to try out the challenge for the first time shortly after getting to the fair Friday evening. She didn't beat her opponent, but had a healthy perspective on her performance.
"I tried to win, but I didn't," she said of her race. "But I wasn't sad."