Okeechobee first responders bring home medals

OKEECHOBEE — Five members of Okeechobee County Fire and Rescue made the trip out to Tampa on June 9 to compete in the 2019 First Responder Games.

Robert Dodd, Clint Chambers, Daniel Ciorrocco, Mike Skipper and Cole Owens all competed in powerlifting against other first responders from around Florida and two earned medals to bring back to Okeechobee.

Daniel Ciorrocco won a silver medal in push/pull and a bronze in bench press for the 181-pound division, and Mike Skipper won a silver medal in push/pull as well as a silver medal in bench press for the 198-pound division.

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News/ Daniel Ciorrocco
From left to right are Mike Skipper, Robert Dodd, Clint Chambers, Daniel Ciorrocco and Cole Owens.

Push/pull refers to a competition wherein competitors only perform dead lifts and bench presses. In a dead lift, you lift a loaded barbell off the ground up to the level of your hips and lower it back to the ground. A bench press involves laying on your back on a bench and pushing a barbell up until your arms are extended.

Four out of the five Okeechobee first responders were able to break personal records at the event.

The First Responder Games are a competition between all of Florida’s first responders including fire department, EMS, police, sheriff, corrections and military. The multi-sport event attracts thousands from across the state to compete in soccer, flag football, archery, golf, softball, volleyball, cycling and more.

The five competitors felt confident, yet anxious heading into the event.

“We were confident in our own abilities,” explained Ciorrocco. “But it was still humbling, to say the least, when we arrived and saw there was over 60 competitors and a lot of them looked very experienced. Seeing that level of competition felt humbling because it’s a step above the kind of level you’re going to see locally.”

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News/Daniel Ciorrocco
Daniel Ciorrocco performs a dead lift during the 2019 First Responder Games in Tampa, Fla.

Despite the big stage and bigger competition in Tampa, the Okeechobee crew were still able to make their mark at the annual event.

Dodd and Chambers were the two credited as being the driving force behind putting an Okeechobee team in the competition. The pair were each heavily involved in powerlifting and decided to recruit others to join them ahead of the First Responder Games. Dodd and Chambers both individually dead-lifted 585 pounds, which was a personal best for both.

“One hundred percent we will be back next year,” said Ciorrocco. “I myself had only been training three months for this. I definitely think we’ll go again and I think we’ll do a lot better next year. We were just in the gym yesterday, so we already have our eyes on the prize.”

Richard Marion is a staff writer and photographer at Lake Okeechobee News and can be reached at rmarion@newszap.com.

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