Prairie Band Firefighter Wins Toughest Competitor Alive at World Police and Fire Games

July 17, 2015 –

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MAYETTA:  Bruce Coates, 45, Lieutenant-Paramedic for the Potawatomi Tribal Fire Department (PTFD), won the Toughest Competitor Alive in the 40-49 year old heavy-weight category at the Fairfax World Police and Fire Games held June 26-July 5 in Fairfax, Virginia.


The games are designed to honor and celebrate public safety officers from around the world and have been held biennially since 1985.  This year 12,000 competitors from over 70 countries participated in 65 sports that ranged from  swimming and basketball to combination categories like Ultimate Firefighter and the contest Coates entered called the Toughest Competitor Alive.


Coates competed on June 28 and began his day at 7 a.m. by running in a 5 K.  Following that, he heaved a shot put, sprinted 100 meters, swam 100 yards, and then climbed a 20 foot rope using only his arms. After that, he participated in power lifting a bench press, completing a maximum of 23 pull ups (3-second-pause dead hang ), and running in an obstacle course to finish out the day around 4 p.m.   Out of eight competitors Coates finished first in overall points to claim the gold medal.


The Potawatomi Tribal Fire Department partially funded Coates’ trip and he financed the rest. He told the News that winning the Toughest Competitor Alive category had been a goal of his for a long time and that he had finally attained a lifelong dream.  “It is a test of fitness and that happened to be my day,” he said.  He also said that in order to prepare for each event he worked out from three to five hours each six days a week and trained in each sport.  For more information about the category go to


EMS Director/Fire Chief Doug Schreiner said that Coates has worked for the department for almost 5 years and that he and others in the department are really proud of his achievement.

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The PTFD is a 24-hour service that provides emergency medical care, rescue, and fire suppression.  It is staffed by 21 full-time firefighters, EMTs and paramedics who are housed in a state-of-the-art fire station located at 15482 K Road on the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation (PBPN) Common Land near Mayetta.  The PTFD has been in operation for 35 years and serves the PBPN and surrounding communities.  For more information about the PTFD go to