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      Annual Firefighters Tournament begins in Quinnesec

      Over 50 different volunteer fire departments in the Upper Peninsula and Northeast Wisconsin are meeting in Quinnesec this weekend for competitions and festivities.

      Itâ??s all a part of the 120th Annual U.P. Volunteer Firefighters Association Tournament. Friday included the firefighting races where teams participated in ladder and hose races, and of course racing against the clock.

      â??We have a race team, and it's usually a five-man team and we have about eight individuals that go in and out of it,â?? said Kevin Down, volunteer firefighter with the West Branch-Skandia Fire Department. â??We train at one of the local facilities with a hydrant and our trucks to figure out what we're going to do ahead of time.â??

      Crowds and supporters from all over the Upper Peninsula came to support their firefighters in their competitions. This year also marks the first time that the Breitung Township Fire Department has hosted the weekend event.

      â??We get a lot of participation from our guys, which is really important, and their wives and kids,â?? said Jeff Iverson, with the Breitung Township Fire Department. â??Everybodyâ??s working.â??

      The events continue throughout the weekend with the Firefighterâ??s Ball from 7:00 p.m. until midnight.

      â??Saturday morning we do the commercial parade at 10:00 a.m. and at 12:00 p.m. we'll hand out the final awards which will include all the race scores plus the commercial parade scores.

      â??We just love coming to these,â?? Downs said. â??We always reconnect with our friends that we haven't seen in a year.â??

      Itâ??s a special reunion of unique volunteers who all share a special bond of courage and service.