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This Week in Weird Sports: Ladder Racing

As high as you can, as fast as you can!


As if firemen needed another reason to wear themselves out, somewhere along the line, they developed a sport out of their firehouse ladder climbing game, complete with a state championship and dominant franchise.

Since man first discovered fire and realized, “Shit, that orange wavy stuff really hurts when it’s on your beard”, we’ve needed brave men to put out unwanted fires. And only about one and a half million years later, in Ancient Rome, the first fire brigade was formed, paving the way for a service that’s still just as necessary today. Still, even fire fighters get bored when they’re not saving lives, looking rugged and generally making you look bad in front of your wife when they show up at 1AM to show you how to switch off your faulty smoke alarm, which is why they had to invent a sport to keep themselves occupied. The rules are simple: Climbers race towards a tall wall, ladder-in-hand, position it and then climb that fucker like a two-bit celebrity busting out of rehab. The winner, naturally, is the one who gets there the fastest (although points are presumably deducted if anything accidentally catches fire on the way).

The New York State Drill Team Captain's Association state championship is held each August, and features more than 60 teams, with the crown going to the team with the most points accumulated for winning events that day. The Flying Dutchmen of West Sayville, NY, have won the State Championship 11 times, the most titles in the history of Old-Fashioned firematic racing. They’re also, apparently, quite good at putting out fires.