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Two Waco firefighters compete in World Pipe Band Championships in Scotland

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Posted at 10:11 PM, Aug 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-28 23:23:02-04

Two Waco firefighters are back in Central Texas after competing in the World Pipe Band Championships in Scotland.

Jeremy Downs, a drum sergeant for the Waco Fire Honor Guard Pipes and Drums, has only been playing drums for about three years.

He runs a business that sells retails bagpipes and kilts. He was talking to a band in Ireland about new kilts and asked if they ever invited guests to play with them.

"They said 'sometimes,'" Downs said. "They invited myself and Lt. Kaminski to come play in their band. They sent us the music and we did Skype lessons."

From March until August, the two did a lot of practicing in their spare time to make sure they were ready to jump in and play with the band for their competitions. 

"There's nothing quite like it. I've competed in other aspects of sports and things like that and there is nothing quite like it. Because you have one shot," Downs said.

Downs said it's an extremely competitive competition, even more than in the United States.

"In Portrush, the top three bands in our grade were within one point of each other," Downs said. "Over here [in the United States] it's like if you win a competition it's pretty decisively."

In Portrush Northern Ireland, the band won third overall and third in drumming.

At World Pipe Band Championships, the band finished 10th overall out of 54 bands and won first in drumming.

Downs said he and Kaminski have been invited to play again next year at Worlds, and another big event, too.

"The whole band has been invited to the 75th anniversary of D-day next year in Belgium," Downs said.

The honor guard is going to start fundraising for their trip to Belgium in the next few months.

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