Sides have been chosen. The lines have been drawn. In a few short months, the long-standing rivalry between police officers and fire fighters will continue for a good cause.
Members of the Ardmore Police Department and the Ardmore Fire Department have been enlisted to help fill out the co-ed Ardmore Corporate Fitness Challenge ranks for First National Bank and Citizens Bank.
“A lot of these guys have always wanted to get involved, and there is already the police-fire rivalry,” Mike WhItson, event planning chairman for the Ardmore Corporate Fitness Challenge, said.
It didn’t take long for the police-fire rivalry to emerge. First National and Citizens faced off in a coin toss Thursday at City Hall. Neither bank wanted to choose, so the winner got the Fire Department. Ardmore Fire Chief Cary Williamson joked that the loser gets the police department.
“This will be our first year involved as active participants,” Williamson said. “We are usually out there as medical standby. The guys have been out there and they see what is going on. They are a competitive group, so they are definitely interested in being involved.”
Fire fighters will join up with Citizens Bank, while the police will join forces with First National Bank.
Ardmore Assistant Chief Kevin Norris said that APD officers were unaware of their enlistment to which Williamson added, “they will (know) today.”
“We can’t make it mandatory
with shift work and different days off, but in the past we have had them ask about being part of the corporate challenge and we have not been able to. Fortunately, this year we will be able to team up with First National Bank,” Norris said.“I anticipate that we will have several officers that will want to do something. We have a lot of guys who are competitive and like to stay fit.”
The challenge will hold its kickoff luncheon Thursday, with the event taking place in May.
Cities in Schools and Girls on the Run are the primary benefactors for the annual fundraiser that began five years ago.
Whitson said the event was able to raise more than $22,000 in 2017 with about $15,000 going to CIS’s after school and summer camp programs and $5,000 going to GOTR.
Whitson said about 12-16 teams typically compete in the annual games, while the recent addition of the GOTR 5k brought in about 600 runners in 2017.
“Last year we had more than 1,000 people involved. This really brings in a lot of folks.” Whitson said. “The girls work up to this 5k. It’s really neat to see them come out for this. For a lot of them, it’s their first (5k).”
The event offers multiple ways to get involved, from corporate teams to the 5k to sponsorship to volunteers.
“One of the things we joke about it is that we’ve changed the hiring practices for some of these companies for the summer months,” Whitson said. “They tend to bring in more athletic interns, that’s the running joke.”
With the inclusion of APD and AFD, the event continues to become more accessible to smaller businesses that may be unable to fill teams for all events but could team up with other small businesses to take on the larger competitors.
“It’s not just a fitness thing, it’s a team building exercise for the company,” Whitson said. “It also creates networking opportunities with a competitive atmosphere.”
For questions or to register or sponsor a team or event, contact Whitson at (580) 226-4059.