Firehouse Expo Wrap-up

This past weekend, Willie and I ventured up to hang out with the crew from MN8 Foxfire once again. This time we would be joining them at Firehouse Expo. You can read about Zach Green’s (MN8 Foxfire owner) trip to the Baltimore/DC area here. His trip included Hyattsville, Kentland 33, DCFD Truck 17, DC Rescue 3, Naval District Washington, and Baltimore.

Willie and I picked up some new stuff for product reviews ( including Dragon Fire gloves, ESS eyepro, and Black Helmet’s German flavored design (Kampf gegen Feuer ). Massaging Insoles (dealer # 5713) hooked us up with a pair of insoles to wear while at Expo. These things made my feet and legs feel so much better after standing on that concrete all day. We also got a hold of the 2013 Firehouse Dolls calendar.

The Firehouse Expo was a little weak this year…some say there is a steady decline in attendance. I wish the opposite was true. I always look forward to these events and they are what you make of them! I guess not everyone can have Willie and I in their booth to draw the crowds!

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We had a short trip. We got in on Wednesday night and left Friday evening. We had enough time to have fun and show off the MN8 gear at the booth on Thursday and Friday as well as hang out at the FOOLS Brotherhood Bash on Thursday night. Below is a short video capturing what you might see at PBR Baltimore during Firehouse Expo…that and that weird dude dancing with that one chick all night…anyone else see that?

Me, Zach, and Willie all Kilted up heading to the FOOLS Brotherhood Bash.

We got a little bit of rain on Thursday night. I wish I had a photo of Tim McCloskey (Firehouse Pride) holding that umbrella up in 50 mph winds. I thought maybe he had more than me to drink at that point. Unfortunately the cornhole tournament got rained out. The good news is that the money still went to a good cause. As always, we made our way to PBR Baltimore and yes, I rode the bull this time. I don’t think Willie got on it, he got scared last time.  I was a bit worried about flashing the crowd, but I got on and off gracefully.

We had a blast hanging out with Andrew and Mary Arnold of Box Alarm Leather. If you don’t know already, we are big fans of their shields.

I also met a guy named Oklahoma…he lives in Maryland. He was part of the Kentland crew that we hung out with. That was a great group of guys. It was a pleasure getting to know some of them. They stay busy in Kentland…

I even bumped into Chris Collier. Forget hose, nozzles, turnout gear, lights, water, boots, or any of that other “bullshit”… On the fireground he simply needs a single piece of steel molded into a halligan bar. Stop everything else…no matter how hard you try, you will not get him to waver on needing anything else. In all honesty, I enjoy Chris’ opinion he shares on Facebook about firefighting equipment. His opinion, always offered with a frown, offers a view that some don’t often give in a public forum. Don’t misunderstand that as me agreeing with him. I formulate my own opinions. Sometimes he offers a view that I might not have thought of. I do find it humorous that I haven’t seen anything he likes yet…

Me, Willie, FF Wiedmann, Zach

Probably the highlight of the trip was meeting Firefighter Rob Wiedmann of FDNY Rescue 2. He was burned in a fire along with Firefighter Jim Gersbeck on December 19th. I wrote about the fire here. Subsequently, Willie and I along with MN8 Foxfire teamed up to raise money for the Rescue 2 Fund. We later delivered the check in person to Rescue 2. That was a great trip.

As always, Willie and I bumped into many great friends. Some of them we met for the first time, others we have known. It is always great to see friends, fans, and readers.

The girls of Black Helmet!

We learned a great little trick at FDIC, complements of Joe Lyons. He packed up a six pack, on ice, in a bag, in a box and delivered it to our booth. Willie and I thought it was one of the coolest things ever. In an effort to pay it forward and keep the tradition alive, we did the same. On Thursday, we delivered beer on ice, in a bag, in a box to the crew at Black Helmet. There was no fanfare, simply a quick drop off and then we headed back to our booth. We did the same on Friday with the guys from Rescue 2. Both groups loved it. We already have a couple of ideas for our “drops” at Fire Rescue International.

Speaking of fans, our biggest fan Dave Statter left is extremely “busy” booth to stop in and see what was going on at our booth. It just so happens that we were in the midst of showing of the MN8 products to Prince George’s County Fire Chief Mark Bashoor and PGFD PIO Mark Brady. Dave photobombed us…

Zach, Mark Brady, Me, Willie, Chief Mark Bashoor, Dave Statter

We were unable to climb in the 9/11 Memorial stair climb this year. You might remember that last year was our first. We have participated in 5 total. Stephen Allen and Tommy Warshaw were among the participants this year. Last year, Tommy climbed as well. Below is the video from the climb this year. Both Tommy and Stephen were interviewed by WBAL in the video below.

There are plenty more pictures below. If you have photos to share, tag “Fire Critic” on Facebook.