by Kathleen St. John on April 23, 2010
It was hot. Music thumped. Lights flashed. The excitement in the room was frenzied, helped along by ample pours of booze. The music swelled, and then, on the stage, the curtain parted with a flourish. Shrieks filled the air because there he was: An oiled-up, perfectly sculpted fireman wearing nothing but his bulky “bunker” pants.
He wasn’t a cheesy strip-club fantasy, however. He was a real-deal fireman, a guy who saves lives — and he was mighty good-looking. The screams increased as he strolled down the runway. He did his best to make the most of his assets, but a shy grin belied his slight shock at the fawning reception.
It was the judging event for the 2010 Colorado Firefighter Calendar, held in March 2009, and it was absolutely raucous. This year’s event, tonight at the Exdo Event Center, 1399 35th St., will likely be just as mad. Who doesn’t love hot heroes?
The calendar and its attendant parties are produced by Fired Up For Kids, a local nonprofit that raises money for the Burn Center at Children’s Hospital. Fired Up uses the money from ticket sales and, eventually, sales of the calendar to benefit the center.
The judging event is the first step toward putting together the 2011 calendar. Firefighters from all over the state, male and female, apply to strut their stuff for a panel of judges and win a spot on the calendar. Tonight’s show is a perfect girls-night-out, but the eye-candy is not just for admirers of males.
“We have five female firefighters this year — the most we’ve ever had,” says event organizer Kirsten Hamling. “It’s all up to the judges and we’ll see if there will be more than one (on the calendar) this year. We’ve also had the most male firefighters apply this year, so the calendar is building more and more momentum … for both men and women.”
Hamling says the event’s buzz has been growing as showtime nears, especially online.
“We are experiencing significant growth in the number of fans we add on a weekly basis,” she says. “Whenever we or the firefighters post news or comments, we have a fast response time of fans ‘liking’ posts or making comments. They are a very loyal and active base of fans, which is a great asset to have.”
There’s a new twist at this year’s judging event too. In the past, the celebrity judges have had the final say in who makes the cut. But tonight, for the first time, audience members can take part in choosing the top models. Guests who buy a program will be able to cast a vote for their favorites.
With this new power comes new responsibility. It can be hard to rate one firefighter over another, especially with the costume changes. Firefighters compete wearing their snappy dress blues and also in their bunkers, shirtless. Add that to the stories they tell and fun questions they get asked, and they all seem so lovable. Keep that in mind, firefighter fans. Don’t let the greased-up muscles get to you.
Tonight’s calendar-judging event begins at 8 p.m. General admission tickets are $25, but don’t guarantee a seat. For $50, a VIP ticket includes a seat, a free drink, a preshow cocktail reception, a copy of the calendar and more.
Prices are higher at the door ($75 for VIP, $35 for general admission), so buy advance tickets, quickly, by visiting firedupforkids.org. Can’t make it tonight? Don’t fret: A big release party for the calendar will happen later this year, with plenty of drinks, fun and fine-looking firefighters.
– Kathleen St. John