The long-beloved Firemen’s Muster was present once again at this year’s Gold Digger Days after a five-year hiatus. The muster had been an integral part of the festivities for years, but had lost interest amongst Plumas County’s fire departments. This year Greenville Fire Chief Jim Hamblin asked the members of his department if they might be interested in bringing the event back and was surprised by the amount of attention it received.
The Gold Digger Days were originally started by the firemen of Greenville, though initially the festivities were called the Days of ’49. In honor of the 50th Gold Digger Days celebration, it was only fitting to bring back the muster as well.
“I’m glad we’re doing it again,” said Chief Hamblin. “It’s good camaraderie for the different fire departments and it’s also good for our local fire department. That’s the way we recruit sometimes. Pique their interest and it works really well.”
Five teams competed during this year’s event. Greenville’s fire department was split up into three teams: Ol’ Hunters, Greenville 1 (the old-timers captained by Hamblin) and Greenville 2. The Taylorsville team was also present, along with a team from the Corning volunteer fire department.
After participating in some of the events, the captain of the Corning team, Kirk Hewitt, said the muster was something they would continue in Corning as well. “We decided to do this one for our 100-year centennial for our fire department: 100 years of volunteer service,” said Hewitt. “It used to be something our department was really into so we kind of brought back a dying tradition.”
Three events took place during the muster. The first was the bucket brigade, where each team worked together to fill a tub with water by passing buckets down the line. Greenville 1 dominated this event with 42 seconds for the first run and 43 seconds for the second.
The Greenville 1 team also won the wet line extension, proving that experience is the most valuable skill in this sport. The Greenville 2 team took the last event, the firemen’s water polo. This event entails a tug-o-war type game, played by spraying an empty keg that is attached to a line towards the opponents’ side. Whichever team is farthest from the keg after three minutes is the winner.
When asked if the Firemen’s Muster will be back for years to come, Hamblin said he had high hopes. As long as the interest in the muster continues, so will the event itself.