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Bluff City Combat competes in firefighter challenge

“It’s something we can do off the clock and still take pride in their career. Bring back the pride in Memphis,” said founder Michael Coleman.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Our Memphis firefighters are some of the best in the country. Now, they're showing off their skills not just to our community but the nation.

Meet the Bluff City Combat team.

That last bit of encouragement and reflection is enough to keep Memphis firefighters going to reach their goal.

“I’m nervous. I’m nervous. I know physically I can do all this, but getting up to that point, the adrenaline is going, your mind is racing,” said Bluff City Combat founder Michael Coleman.

The Bluff City Combat team is made up of all active duty Memphis firefighters preparing to go head to head against firefighters across the country in skilled challenges.

“We’re not able to show all of our skills and how athletic we are fighting fires in the middle of the night and all that kind of stuff. What this event does is it brings to the public what skills and things we can accomplish in a very simplistic way,” said Coleman.

It may not be simple to most, but it is all done within two minutes.

We met up with Coleman at Wild Nutrition, one of the sponsors for the team.

“It was one of those things where we were sitting around the table at the bay at the engine house talking about different things like all these legends and what they used to do in the past,” said Coleman.

Now, Bluff City Combat makes up Memphis’ first team in nearly two decades.

“It’s something we can do off the clock and still take pride in their career. Bring back the pride in Memphis,” said Coleman.

It is a pride they carry on and off duty.

“All these events are things that we’re going to actually do in the field in one way, shape or form,” said Coleman. “If it’s carrying someone, a firefighter or civilian, we have the dummy drag. We have the hose hoist which is pulling up a hose either above you or below you”

Sometimes, they take on the obstacle course in about 70 pounds of gear. It is a true test of their strength.

“You can be the biggest, baddest guy out there, but you are not stronger than that Kaiser sled,” said Coleman.

It may be stronger physically, but that mental strength holds quite the weight.

“More. I always ask for more. I always ask my body for more,” said Coleman. “If I have to push myself that extra 10 feet or that extra hit on the Kaiser sled, or those extra stairs, it’s just more.”

Along with that drive, Coleman carries his best friend, Andrew Johnson, every step of the way.

We first told you about Johnson last year. He was a Shelby County firefighter who died after battling cancer.

Coleman carries Johnson’s name on his helmet which he’ll wear next week, April 23, when Bluff City Combat competes for the first time in Pensacola, Florida.