St. Louis firefighters, police officers win national competition


Team St. Louis, a well-trained, well-muscled team of four experienced members of the St. Louis police and fire departments became the national champions of "The Bravest and the Finest" competition beating out 14 fire departments from across the country on a NBC Today's show competition this morning.

The team was well ahead for most of the course outside Rockefeller Center in New York -- running, rappelling, jumping through tires -- but its competition, a team from Worcester , Mass., pulled even when it more quickly filled a cylinder of water that had Swiss cheese-like holes in it.

Then, in the final seconds, the St. Louisans rappelled to the top of a wall and rang the final bell before the Worcester team.

Ozzie Smith, St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Famer, was the team's official on-site, cheerleader. The show also televised other cheering backers at St. Louis City Hall. The team won $30,000 for its charity the Backstoppers, which benefits children and widows of fallen or wounded St. Louis area firefighters. Each players got a Tiffany watch.

The Team St. Louis beat Phoenix firefighters in the initial round of the summer-long event and defeated Philadelphia to reach the finals. The St. Louis team duplicated the course here before going to New York for the event.

Team St. Louis included Fire Battalion Chief Douglas Cribbs, 42, firefighter Keith Williams, 39, and police officers Kathleen Nocito, 40, and Sam Hill, 32.


Left to right, St. Louis Firefighter, Battalion Chief, Douglas Cribbs, St. Louis Police Officer Sam Hill, St. Louis Police Officer Kathleen Nocito, St. Louis Firefighter Keith Williams.