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When volunteer 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 Drill Teams.


    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 bucket brigade.
    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!

On the track racing since 1935!                            

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