“It’s a lot of fun and I really enjoy the competition,” said Bilodeau, 33. “It’s a great outlet and a great way to stay in shape. For me, this is how I relax.”
This year Bilodeau took home three bronze and two silver medals in the Olympic-caliber competitions that feature more than 50 sports, from baseball, soccer and weightlifting to paintball, horseshoes and archery. Law enforcement officers and firefighters from across the country – retired and active – are eligible to compete in the biannual event.
The 2009 WSPFG event marked Bilodeau’s fifth go-around at the regional games and his second run at the biennial World Federation Games held last August in British Columbia, where he won a silver, bringing his total medal count to 25.
The lifelong cyclist competes in the road and mountain-bike events, but this year Bilodeau – who transferred to the Brentwood Police Department a year ago from Union City – also managed to bring two fellow officers and avid fishermen along for the ride.
“Wherever I go, I always try to get my co-workers involved in this (WSPFG),” said Bilodeau. And this year, fellow Brentwood officers Chuck Jacobs and Ozzie Cruz took the bait and hooked themselves silver medals in the team fishing competition.
“It was a great time,” said Jacobs. “We didn’t expect to win anything, so we were very surprised. But it was a lot of fun. We’ll definitely go again.”
For Bilodeau, the medals are a welcome reward for his hard work, but even more important, said the married father, is the solidarity the games instill. “I love the competition, I really do. I train seven days a week and I work hard. But the other reason I love it is the camaraderie with the firefighters and officers. It’s a lot of fun to meet up with the same group each time, and for us (his wife and son), it’s how we spend our vacations. It’s good to have outlets other than your work, and this is a good one.”
So who are the better competitors, firefighters or cops?
“I honestly don’t know the stats on that,” laughed Bilodeau. “We’ve joked about it before, laughing that firefighters have more time to work out because they’re just hanging around the firehouse. But really, everyone is an amazing competitor, they’re all very impressive.
“For me, having a good healthy outlet is important, especially in my line of work, because it’s easy to get hardened and negative sometimes. Being healthy and in shape is not only important for my job, but it might also save my life on the job some day. To me, that’s a pretty good motivation.”