VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — No cinders or smoke were at Mount Trashmore in Virginia Beach, despite the fire engines blocking the parking entrance; but the competition was heating up.

For the first time since 2019, the Firefighter Challenge returns 

“It’s Really meant to strengthen the first responder community, through this challenge it shows people the rigors of this job,” said Huan DeRiggs, Announcer for the Firefighter Challenge. “They have to go through these five essential functions and it’s intense.”

It’s a competition to translate their everyday job skills into a quest for glory.

“They’ve become so good at their job, it’s become a sport,” said DeRiggs.

“This keeps us physically fit, we know that the number one leading cause of death for firefighters is cardiac issues, so us staying out here being fit for this competition keeps us fit for our job,” said Marquel Davis, a Virginia Beach Firefighter with Haygood Company 2.

It’s been a grueling 2 minutes for Virginia Beaches’ Marquel Davis for the last 13 years.

“First we start off with the hose pack, 42 pounds we throw that on our back, run up those 6 flights of stairs, get to the top, host that donut roll, that’s another 42, 43 pounds right there, then we come down the stars and do this kizer sled, after that we go around the cones, the we drag the hose 103 feet, hit the target, grab that 175 pound and take it 109 feet backwards, and then you’re finished,” said Davis.

And an additional contest takes things to a new level.

“What these guys are doing are mimicking a lot of the same techniques, a lot of the same actions, that they would use in their job,” said Roger Phelps with Stihl Incorporated.

The Stihl Timbersports events are a competition with a variety of saws and axes in which competitors could earn a spot in the nationals.

After the final buzzer sounds, sawdust and water settles, the finest from Virginia Beach, and around the world, with still celebrate their bond

“They aren’t so much competing with each other, they are competing with themselves. When you run this course, you can say ‘hey how far can I push myself’” said DeRiggs.

The competitions continue rain or shine through Saturday, ending with a concert from country artist Celeste Kellogg.