It pays to be humble.
It was an opportunity Tyler City Manager Mark McDaniel and Tyler Morning Telegraph Publisher Nelson Clyde found too irresistible to ignore.
McDaniel and Clyde are Fit City Challenge regulars and have been trading good-humored jabs for the past few years, each challenging the other to get fit or pay up.
It was McDaniel who challenged Clyde to this latest fitness battle, prompting observers to wonder whether they were a tad over their heads.
Maybe it was Thursday’s balmy weather that caused the men to back off all the saucy talk.
Or maybe it was something else, perhaps the realization that someone is about to be served a heaping helping of humble pie publicly.
“I’m not talking trash,” McDaniel said. “We’re going to just whup ‘em, that’s all.”
The last practice session before the big event unfolded Thursday at the Tyler Fire Department’s training facility.
Clyde was not one to be provoked by the manager’s “whup ‘em” remark.
“I believe our team will show what our priorities are,” he said.
The newspaper’s team, dubbed “The Muckrakers” was first in the slot, featuring Clyde with Managing Editor Brian Pearson, Publications Manager Shannon Dorsey, staff writers Kenneth Dean and Adam Russell.
The Tyler Morning Telegraph team started through the paces, completing all five events, from running up multiple flights of stairs with a hose to dragging a 200-pound dummy the lengthy of the course.
The Muckrakers’ time: 2 minutes, 33 seconds.
Then it was the city’s turn.
McDaniel’s “Team Tyler” included Police Sgt. John Ragland, Recreation Specialist Heather Bolestridge, Equipment Operator Doug Coffman, Development Services Director Michael Wilson and arborist Luke Porter.
The city’s team completed the course in 1 minute, 53 seconds.
Ironically, there was no hooting, jeering or finger-pointing among the primary competitors.
Just for grins, Fire Chief Tim Johnson and his other “Over 50” team members agreed to run the course, each donning a few extra pounds of gear, including an air pack, boots, helmet, coat and pants.
Johnson was joined on the course by department veterans James Pike, David McClung, Terry Rozell and Ray Hukill.
Final time for the “Over 50” crowd: 2 minutes, 28 seconds.
It was the city manager who broke the silence.
“Whewwwwww,” he said, wiping his forehead. “I’m a little tired.”
Clyde was observed groaning and rubbing his calf muscles.
Rumor has it more than a few aspirin bottles were shared around in the hours that followed.
The Combat Challenge has its roots in a university-based research study funded by the U.S. Fire Administration, Event Organizer Brent Hail said, noting the competition helps professional firefighters sharpen their job skills.
Tyler firefighters have been competing for several years and have taken dozens of awards for their efforts, records show.
For more details about the challenge, visit www.brookshirescombat.com or better yet, come see it.