fire brigades were first formed, there were no fire districts within
which a designated fire company confined its activities. With the advent
of fire insurance companies a fire alarm was the signal for any and all
fire organizations to race to the conflagration, for the first company
to reach the scene and put out the fire was rewarded by the insurance
company. Thus, it behooved the brigades and hose companies to keep men
and equipment in racing form! While much has changed over the years in
the formation and regulations governing volunteer fire companies the
spirit of competition stays alive in what we know as Volunteer Firemen's
A Drill Team competition consists of a number of
races - foot and apparatus, sanctioned and supervised by the New York
State Volunteer Firemen's Drill Team Captains Association. Each member
of every team must be an active fireman in his company. Some of the
skills demonstrated at a tournament are: ladder climbing, maneuvvering
of trucks, laying and coupling of fire hose, hooking hose to a hydrant,
hitting a target with a stream of water, and even the forming of a
In New York State, Firemen's Drill Teams were formed
and became active in the Long Island area. It was through the interest
and guidance of the "Brush Rabbits" that Drill Team
competition was introduced to Irondequoit with the formation of the Pt.
Pleasant "Pea Pickers" in 1935. For a while this was the only
Drill Team in the state outside of the metropolitan New York area and
aroused enough interest that teams were formed in other nearby towns.
The Pea Pickers have been active in all parts of New York State every
year since 1935 with the exception of the war years when state
competition was suspended, and have won many area championships as well
as statewide recognition.
In the early days of the organization's existence
there were interesting and unusual developments encompassing much hard
work and heartbreak. Dances were held to finance the purchase of
equipment for the trucks. 1940 found the team sweeping the Monroe County
Championship. Even in 1941 news items appeared regarding the rivalry
between neighboring Sea Breeze "Indians" and the Pea Pickers.
This was the year the betting was even as to the outcome of the State
Tournament in Geneva as the two teams were "fired up" for that
tournament. The 1947 Monroe County Fair climaxed its record attendance
year with a ten team tournament. The Pea Pickers took this point trophy
with a total of 32 points. Again in 1948 they walked off with seven
firsts to easily win the County Chamionship at the Fair. Greece-Ridge
Fire Department was in command around the early 50's but their winning
streak was finally broken when in July of 1956 Pt. Pleasant tied them
with 32 points at the Western New York Convention held at Batavia.
Many remember the disqualification in the Efficiency
race at the State Tournament held August 25, 1961 at Panorama Plaza in
Penfield. The Pea Pickers had a "perfect" run only to find the
nozzle beyond the line. One of the "hottest" tournaments
remembered locally was held at Pittsford Plaza in July of 1962. The Pea
Pickers were second to Main Transit in the 90-degree plus heat that
felled several spectators. The team entered the 68th Annual Northern
Central New York Volunteer Firemen's Association Convention Tournament
in Penn Yan in June of 1964 and won all honors.
The Pea Pickers have entered a team in most of the
State Tournaments regardless of the location and gained much deserved
recognition in the 1964 tournament held at Hempstead, Long Island by
taking a second place trophy in the Motor Hose Class "C" race.
This trophy and many others are displayed in the firehouse. Some
trophies displayed there are of the "retiring" type and will
appear again over the years. Examples of these are awards for most
improvement over previous season, most points in the season,
sportsmanship and others.
Now the Pea Pickers are able to practice at their own
drill center. Construction of the Point Pleasant Fire District fire
training and drill center on its 13 acre site behind Firehouse No.2 on
Kings Highway was completed in 1965.
The team has had to combine with the Sea Breeze Indians in 1999 and
again in 2007. This was for several reasons in both teams
including financial and manpower shortages. We are happy to report
that both departments are up and running on their own in the 2008 season
with competitive teams!