published Saturday, December 8th, 2012

Fighting for charity: Chattanooga area police take on firefighters

Kyle Odom with the Soddy-Daisy Fire Department and HCSO officer Blake Kilpatrick compete during bout 3 of the Guns and Hoses charity boxing event held at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga's McKenzie Arena.
Kyle Odom with the Soddy-Daisy Fire Department and HCSO officer Blake Kilpatrick compete during bout 3 of the Guns and Hoses charity boxing event held at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga's McKenzie Arena.
Photo by Dan Henry.

Local law enforcement officers were looking for redemption this year after losing the last few years in total matches in the annual Guns & Hoses boxing bouts with area firefighters and paramedics.

"I feel all right, I guess. Nervous. I'll do my best," said Chattanooga police Officer Kelly Downs, who was standing outside the ring before the bouts began. Downs was scheduled to fight Hamilton County Emergency Services' Kayla Morrison in the event's only female fight.

"I'm just going to go hard swinging," Downs said.

The proceeds from the event held at McKenzie Arena go to Y Community Action Project and the Forgotten Child Fund. The charities split the funds raised.

Clay Ingle, spokesman for the Forgotten Child Fund that provides needy families with toys for children on Christmas Eve, said the event raises public awareness.

"Our donations are a little down, and we're getting close to the end," he said. He added he's hoping more dolls, coloring books and games come in.

The 15 boxing matches lasted a total of five minutes each with one minute of fighting and one minute of rest between rounds.

Bodies clad in blue and red flew at each other in a frenzy, swinging and ducking, across the ring as the crowd cheered in a few of the fights.

The tournament began with Chattanooga fire Chief Randy Parker giving up the trophy before the matches began.

"Three years running, since we started, we've had it every year," he said. "They've tried to get it every year. They've got a tough bunch this year. I don't know if we're going to be able to hold on to it or not, but we're hopeful."

Soddy-Daisy police Officer Tyler Stout fought as a firefighter a couple of years ago. He fought this year as an officer.

"I've always been into contact sports. It's a personal challenge for myself and it's for a good cause," he said.

Joe Smith, founder of the YCAP program -- a prevention program that includes a Westside boxing program, said the boxing bouts are the organization's only fundraising special event. The money raised funds about 10 percent of the program's operating budget.

Final results weren't available as of press time.

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