Steamboat gym does ‘hero’ workout to honor fallen firefighter
The workout on Saturday, Sept. 3, at Steamboat Strength and Conditioning was “pretty every day” physicality-wise, according to member Dallas Elmore. However, it meant a lot more than most training sessions.
The workout was called “The Hagan,” honoring Collin Hagan, a Craig Interagency Hotshot who died last month while fighting a blaze in Oregon. Elmore worked with Hagan and helped design the workout alongside fellow Hotshot Doug Bloom, who also attended Saturday’s session.
“Using a workout to honor Collin reflects the preparedness and dedication that he put into the job and the physicality that we put into it,” Elmore said. “Most of us feel much better after we get work done. So, I think using that to think about him is the correct way to do it.”
The CrossFit workout started with a one mile team ruck, in which partners each carried a weight for a mile. Partners had to stick together, though, and couldn’t leave the other behind if one was feeling faster.
“We have a saying, ‘Crew before you,’” Elmore said. “It’s pretty much the ethos that we run around. Nobody is done working until everyone’s done working.”
Once they got back to the gym, partners took turns carrying weights 50 yards and swinging kettlebells for five rounds. Already dripping in sweat, the two dozen participants then took turns stepping up and over boxes while holding weights for 12 minutes.
The workout was designed to resemble the challenges that Hotshot firefighters endure daily.
“It’s based on what we do,” said Bloom. “Which is a lot of heavyweight hiking and single-arm carrying things.”
As is the CrossFit way, Steamboat Strength and Conditioning frequently celebrates heroes. Co-owner Ronnie Waneka said that holidays such as Memorial Day and Veterans Day are always accompanied by a workout. Additionally, “Hero WODs,” or hero workouts of the day, are frequently done by CrossFit facilities to pay tribute to service members.
The Craig Interagency Hotshot team is a collection of seasonal workers who spend their summers based out of Northwest Colorado, getting assigned to incidents as needed.
In order to become a Hotshot, crew members are required to have a certain amount of experience. Hagan and Elmore each had about five fire seasons of experience coming into 2022, while Bloom is in his 10th season, although all were in their first year being based out of Craig.
Bloom, Elmore, Hagan and the rest of the 20-man Type I hand crew from Craig were fighting the Big Swamp fire in Oregon when Hagan was struck by a fallen tree, according to the U.S. Fire Administration fatalities database. Despite efforts by EMS responders, Hagan succumbed to his injuries on Aug. 10.
Despite years in the field, Bloom and Elmore said they had never experienced a loss like this so close to home. They hear about accidents and said injuries happen every year, but never had they lost someone close to them in the field.
Not only did Saturday’s workout show participants just how hard Hagan and other Hotshots work, but it allowed people to mourn and work on their mental health through physical activity.
“Today was mental for me,” Bloom said. “Just knowing that it was for memory and to honor him.”
The next way Elmore and Bloom and the Craig Hotshots plan to honor their fallen friend is by getting back to work. The crew will reunite after some time off in a couple days and learn where they will head next.
“We’re Hotshots. A lot of us have complicated reasons for why we do the job,” Elmore said. “But a lot of it comes down to the people we work with.”
Shelby Reardon is the assistant editor at the Steamboat Pilot & Today. To reach her, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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