by Jamie Lasorsa Writer
If you have ever attended a fireman’s muster, there is a certain expectation that you may leave the
event a little “less dry” than when you arrived, however this year’s 96th Running of the Wachusett
Fireman’s Muster, held on Saturday June 17th at Nashoba Regional High School, brought this
expectation to a whole new level.
Each year, firefighters, families, and town spectators gather to watch the comradery, skill, strength,
and speed brought forth by their local fire departments. The Wachusett Muster League, comprised of
eight towns; Sterling, Princeton, West Boylston, Harvard, Boylston, Holden, Bolton, and Rutland, is a
competition of four separate scored events, plus 2 non-scored events, which demonstrate skill and
speed in fire related tasks. The tower event, broken hose, pump, and bed race being the scored
events, while the women’s race and Old Timer race (for firefighters who have been with their
departments for over 20 years) are the non-scored events. The team accumulating the most points
after all the events is deemed the winner, receiving bragging rights for the year and being awarded the
As can happen in real life situations, sometimes you need to request “mutual aid” from a neighboring
department to get through an emergency situation. This year, the Princeton FD needed to request
mutual aid from the Sterling FD, as their muster truck, which is required to have been in service for the
department at some point, and be at least 20 years old, was in need of repair, so for the muster,
Sterling FD’s muster truck assisted Princeton FD in their events.
Unfortunately, this year, both participants and spectators alike were disappointed, as Mother Nature
had different plans for muster day weather. Although some were hopeful at the start, halfway through
the events, thunderstorms rolled in, weather became unsafe, and after sheltering in place to see if the
weather would pass, the muster had to come to an end. Results were calculated after just 3 scored
events had been completed: Pump, Bed, and Broken Hose.
Although neither Sterling nor Princeton placed in the top three, fun was had by all despite the
damper Mother Nature tried to lay down. Holden Fire Department came away with the overall win for
the day, with Harvard and West Boylston rounding out the top three. Sterling was one of 3 towns who
had a women’s team this year and although it was a non-scoring event, their team placed 2nd in that
“We knew the weather was forecasted to be terrible ahead of time, and the whole team still came out
in force with smiles and energy, ready to take on the competition. The goals for the day were safety
and fun, and aside from some minor scrapes and bruises from enthusiastic races, both those goals
were accomplished. Bolton did a great job sheltering everyone in the school while lightning rolled
through, and we finished up the day with a delicious BBQ dinner and the good company of friends. It's
always a nice opportunity to see our fellow public service brothers and sisters outside of the stressful
environment of an emergency call.” – Princeton Muster Captain Tom Connors.
“Despite the weather, it was a great day being together and continuing this great tradition! We can’t
wait for next year!!” – Erin Cullinane, 10-year Sterling Fire Department member who was able to
participate in her first muster this year, as she has been on duty each year prior.
Deane Day, Sterling Fire Department member and Muster Captain of 38 years, spoke of the
muster becoming a “dying art” and how he enjoys seeing the younger members joining the
muster team to keep the tradition going strong.