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Who's the toughest? This Police and Fire Games event aimed to find out
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Maricela Del Rio, of the Gainesville Police Department, flips a giant tire Thursday, June 24, 2021, at Free Chapel North Campus as she competes in the Police and Fire Games toughest competitor event. - photo by Scott Rogers

Chris Compton had never flipped a tire or pulled a car with a rope before Thursday.

But the Flowery Branch Police Department patrol officer did well enough at both to earn a third place medal at the June 24 Toughest Competitor event as part of the Georgia Police and Fire Games.

“My main goal was to finish, and I finished, so I feel pretty good about that,” Compton said after competing.

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Chris Compton of the Flowery Branch Police Department competes Thursday, June 24, 2021, in the Police and Fire Games toughest competitor event at Free Chapel North Campus. - photo by Scott Rogers

The event was one of a series of Olympic-style games taking place this week in Gainesville-Hall County. Some 800 people from fire and police departments throughout Georgia are participating through Saturday, June 26.

About 15 people competed for Toughest Competitor on a course in a parking lot at the Free Chapel North Campus off McEver Road.

They started with pushups, carried weights for a 20-meter stretch and pulled a heavy object — a Ford F150 pickup truck for men and a weighted sled for women. Both flipped a tire, up to 555 pounds for men in the 201 pounds and higher weight class.

A past competitor, Hall County Sheriff’s Lt. Greg Cochran of the Hall County Sheriff's Office, was the host of the event. He coached participants through the event, pushing them in their most strenuous moments.

“This type of event helps build relationships between people through the state and an entire profession,” Cochran said.

Caleb Couch, a K-9 handler for the Hall sheriff’s office, said, “I’m an avid (weight) lifter. I’ve just never done one of these competitions, and I wanted to do it.”

Training involved weightlifting and some running — but not much.

“You don’t want to get too lean,” Couch said.

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Caleb Couch, of the Hall County Sheriff's Office, carries a rack of weights Thursday, June 24, 2021, across the parking lot at Free Chapel North Campus during the Police and Fire Games toughest competitor event. - photo by Scott Rogers
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Caleb Couch, of the Hall County Sheriff's Office, flips a giant tire Thursday, June 24, 2021, at Free Chapel North Campus during the Police & Fire Games toughest competitor event. - photo by Scott Rogers

Maricela Del Rio, an investigator with the Gainesville Police Department, won the women’s competition. The only other female competitor was Jessica Van, also of Gainesville Police, who earned a second place medal.

“Only 4% women signed up (for the games), so we decided we would go sign up for a few things,” Del Rio said.

She’s a big fan of the games overall.

“It’s great to see everybody get together,” Del Rio said. “You get to make a lot of new friends and meet people from different areas of Georgia.”

Winners were as follows:

  • 201 pounds and up: Kyle Cocita, Alpharetta Fire Department
  • 200 pounds and under: Brandon Moore, Forsyth County Sheriff's Office
  • Master's division for competitors 40 and older: Randy Mundy, Tyrone Police Department
  • Female division: Maricela Del Rio, Gainesville Police Department

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Jessica Van, of the Gainesville Police Department, pulls a weighted sled across the parking lot Thursday, June 24, 2021, at Free Chapel North Campus during the Police and Fire Games toughest competitor event. Greg Cochran, of the Hall County Sheriff's Office, encourages Van during the event. - photo by Scott Rogers
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Kyle Cocita of the Alpharetta Fire Department attempts to pull a pickup truck across a parking lot Thursday, June 24, 2021, as as Greg Cochran eggs him on, during the Police and Fire Games toughest competitor event. - photo by Scott Rogers
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Mark Cook, of the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office, gets shouts of encouragement from Greg Cochran, left, Thursday, June 24, 2021, as he pulls a pickup truck across the parking lot at Free Chapel North Campus during the Police and Fire Games toughest competitor event. - photo by Scott Rogers
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