Fellowship Through Competition…
WHAT A FIRE MUSTER IS ALL ABOUT
Most of those who have participated in firemen’s musters to any extent have heard the standard definition of a muster as being a gathering of antique equipment for the purpose of competition.
But for most of those participants, musters mean something a little more.
Firemen’s musters have come to mean lasting friendships between people and organizations who normally live and operate great distances from each other. Through the competition and camaraderie comes a mutal understanding, friendship and caring that few other activities seem to generate.
Being involved in musters means a willingness to loan another team a length of hose when one of theirs bursts or loaning them your hose cart for racing even though you have the fastest hose cart in competition.
It means being willing to run with another team when they are short a person, even though your team will run later and it means you may be tired from that first run.
Musters mean going to the barbeques and supporting the local sponsors, even though you may not care for the food being prepared. It can mean sharing an extra drink, or offering a meal to someone who has come to participate but may only have $10 to his name.
Participating in the musters means being able to establish a rapport with the others participating, being in friendly competition and helping out, being able to pull practical jokes without hurting someone; being able to go to the dance and having fun.
It can mean being able to call someone you know from another team and talking to them for endless hours about personal problems, with a willingness on their part to listen and try to help because they are your friends – friends that have come about because of the common thing you have shared at musters.
It also means establishing ties between teams and going out of your way to help another team such as the time a particular team sent a cash donation to a team to help them defray costs of their muster, or the time another team sent a cash donation to one team to help purchase a transport. It means helping out when help is needed, and being able to sit down and talk and joke about things afterwards.
Yes, musters are a gathering of antique equipment for the purpose of display and competition, but there is also much more to musters than the standard definition indicates.
Those of us across California, who have been fortunate enough to attend musters through the years have enjoyed that part of musters that is not in the standard definition, and have come to feel a part of the “muster family” and all that “muster” really means.