South Dakota Part 3

This is the 3rd installment from the Ironfiremen / trip to South Dakota. You can catch up and follow the entire tour by going back to my original post HERE . You can also read about Rhett’s take on our trip by clicking HERE .

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Ok, so in my 2nd installment; I failed to mention our stop at the  Onida VFD.

Once again, we found ourselves welcomed with open arms. There were actually members there awaiting our arrival.

I’m sure they quickly wondered what they had gotten themselves into because straight out of the rig, Rhett and I began asking if this was where they made “Ore-Ida” french fries / tater-tots…. LOL.  Of course they knew we were just kidding and they seemed to enjoy the laugh.

We got an all-access tour of their house / rigs etc. and was once again impressed with what we found. One of the Brothers on hand, Matt Richmond; even knew who we were and presented us with a shirt. It’s always cool when we meet folks who follow our sites … I just never thought we’d find the one who follows Rhett’s ….LOL. All kidding aside, thanks to the Brothers and Sisters of the Onida VFD for all the hospitality!

So, when I left ya in my 2nd installment, we had arrived at the Grand Falls Casino and Resort in Larchwood, Iowa. WOW! In all our travels, this place is the nicest that Rhett and I have stayed yet. If you ever get the chance, spend a night or two there … I promise you’ll enjoy it.

Bob allowed us to sleep in a bit the next morning and didn’t load us up until about 9am.

Our first stop of the day would be at the Offices / shops of Spartan ERV.

Gary Lembke, who was  our driver / chaperon is also a Rep. for Spartan and  gave us the complete tour. Front office,to fab, paint, electrical, pump testing etc. It was an AWESOME facility.

As far as that goes, the rig we toured in was VERY NICE! I wish they would have allowed us to bring it home.

It had a ton of unique features on it designed especially to make it “firefighter friendly” and cost efficient.

We seen a lot of their equipment in service throughout South Dakota so they must be doing something right!

If you’re not familiar with Spartan ERV check out their web site by clicking HERE  or you can find them on Face Book HERE . Spartan ERV was a MAJOR sponsor of our tour and the Benefit. Be sure to drop them a note thanking them for everything they did.

Afterwards, we also got to visit Gary’s house in Brandon where he serves as Assistant Chief.

He took in a run just before our visit.

It was an alarm at a local school with reports of smoke in the building. Gary was “first in” with the Chief’s Buggy and gave a great size up. Of course, Rhett and I had to bust his balls a little bit. The radio designation for Gary’s buggy is “Car 2” but to us, it sounded like he was saying “cartoon” …LMAO… yea… we got some milage out of it.

Thankfully,  it turned out to be a just burnt motor in the HVAC unit.

From there, it was on to Sioux Falls. These guys were wrapping up a celebration where Station #1 turned 100 years old.

The House is still in operation and believed to be one of only a few that age west of the Mississippi.

She was a grand ol gal. Retirees and widows of retirees had been stopping by all week leaving old pictures and memorabilia.

Here’s the thing … Im sure these guys were worn out by all the visitors throughout the week. Yet, when we arrived, it was like we were their first. Hose tower to bunk room, we received the grand tour.

Part of which was delivered by the first and ONLY “Master Firefighter” in Sioux Falls, Randy Wold.

Again, we were honored and humbled by the hospitality shown to us. It became evident early in our trip that the Brotherhood was alive and well in South Dakota. In Sioux Falls, just like all our other stops; it was exhibited through the Pride, Honor and Traditions held by the members and their Departments.  Visit Sioux Falls on the web by clicking HERE .

From there, it was out to Sioux Falls Station #4 where Adam Frick was assigned for the day. Adam has been a huge help and contributor to the South Dakota Firefighters Benefit so Shane presented him with his very own, custom Phenix Leather Helmet. I think he’s still smiling!

From there, we made our way out to the Chancler VFD. Of course, we were running late but the Brothers of Chancler hung around anyway.

Actually, they did more than just hang around … they had a surprise waiting for us. These folks have a 1903 Waterous Pumper and they had her out on the front pool. Not only that, they had her set up to pump!

The Pump was originally purchased by Chancler and seen her last fire in 1951. Shes a 20 hp, single cylinder rated at 375 gpm.

Typically, they set her up by the cistern at the Station and laid line from it to where ever they needed to go in town. They still had the 2 original hose carts and the leather coats / helmets issued with the pumper. IT WAS AMAZING!

You could see the PRIDE and HONOR in the Brother’s faces as they showed the pump and shared their story and TRADITION…. it was awe inspiring!

I have seen some old pieces up close but now, we were about to see one run and PUMP.

I went straight into negotiation mode to see if there was a chance for Rhett and I to get on the nozzle. I was searching through my suitcase for pictures of my wife, digging for cash or anything of value to trade….LOL

They just grinned and nodded having known all along that this this entire setup was just for us and that we would indeed have the opportunity to take the “pipe”.


I’d dare say that there are not many Brothers or Sisters around today that can say they have actually discharged water from a 1903 Waterous pump! The Brothers and Sisters of the Chancler VFD gave Rhett and I the opportunity of a lifetime!

I don’t know if I will ever be able to repay the HONOR these Brothers bestowed upon us!

It’s all we could do to sleep that night but we had to … the Benefit started the following day.

Like the entire trip, the Benefit was a HUGE success and it was due to the hard work and effort put in by Bob Gard.  Everything he did … the calls, e-mails, trips. The time away from his family, the gas money out of his pocket … everything was done for the Brothers and Sisters of South Dakota. His actions were the true essence of BROTHERHOOD.

Bob’s work resulted in several folks supporting the event. Please take the time to visit and THANK each of these sponsors for their support … Spartan ERVRide Backwards,All About TravelFranklin SilveradoFirehouse BreweryGrand Falls Casino ResortAllegiant Emergency ServicesPhenix Fire Helmets, Danko Emergency Equipment, Sanford HealthGoeman AuctionFarm Country Trader IncBoltes SanitationDarleyMSA CairnsResQmeTrue North GearMn8 ProductsBlack HelmetFatIvanPelican,Wall Shields, and Black Jack Helmet Holder  (Links can be found on HERE )

Rhett and I left Roanoke, Va intending to speak about the Brotherhood and maybe even “infect” a few members along the way. In the end, we threw away our intended speech and spoke off the cuff and from the heart. It didn’t take us long to figure out that they didn’t need us to “take” the Brotherhood to South Dakota. They didn’t even need us to explain what it is …to us or anyone else for that matter. You see,  THEY ALREADY HAD IT … the Brotherhood was alive, well and very strong in South Dakota! We seen it first hand, from Rapid City all the way to Sioux Falls; and we returned home the better for it!

Rhett has over 170 photos on the Fire Critic’s Face Book page. You can view them by clicking HERE

Stay Safe and in House!

Captain Wines