Chattanooga Now Firefighters muster for fun, fellowship on the Fourth

Chattanooga Now Firefighters muster for fun, fellowship on the Fourth

July 1st, 2011 by Lisa Denton in Chattnow Outabout

The Fourth of July Firemen's Muster is a long-held tradition in Soddy-Daisy, but the amount of manpower will remain a mystery until Monday.

Earlier this week, City Manager Hardie Stulce said he couldn't really guess how many departments will show up for the friendly competition.

"We never know," he said. "We usually have anywhere between six and eight different departments, and it's usually the same ones every year, but every now and then we'll have another one show up we weren't expecting."

Teams of firefighters compete in seven events that test their speed and skills, such as three-man ladder, rescue and battle of the barrel. The latter is a crowd favorite, Stulce said.

The contest plays out as a tug-of-war, of sorts, with a beer keg strung onto a cable overhead. Two teams take opposite sides and try to move the keg past a designated point by blasting each end with water from their fire hoses.

Stulce said the muster will start at 10 a.m., then break for a 30- to 40-minute lunch around noon. The contest usually winds up by 3 p.m., he said.

Stulce said the Fourth of July celebration at Soddy Lake started in 1978, and the muster followed a year or two after that.

"We did it to have fellowship with the surrounding fire departments," he said. "The only time we see each other is when things are bad. ... We don't get to socialize [at car wrecks and fires].

Last year, fire departments from Dallas Bay, Highway 58, Mowbray, Sale Creek, Sequoyah, Soddy-Daisy and Walden's Ridge took part, according to

Walden's Ridge is in possession of the Grand Champion trophy, which is awarded to the team with the highest cumulative total.

"The winner gets to keep it for a year," Stulce said. "Walden's Ridge will bring it back, but they'll be trying to take it home again."