Rifle Police Department, Colorado River Fire Rescue compete to see who can do more pushups | PostIndependent.com

Rifle Police Department, Colorado River Fire Rescue compete to see who can do more pushups

Shelby Beitzel y Haley Walker, del departamento de policía de Rifle, hacen lagartijas el martes.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent

Trash talk exchanged between members of the Colorado River Fire Rescue district and Rifle Police Department was sweeter than ever this past week.

Both emergency services were engaged in a competition to see who can do the most pushups within eight days. The department that accumulates the most pushups among their members — official tallies began Feb. 8 and the final count ends at 5 p.m. Thursday — wins the competition.

“They have nothing but time for pushups,” Shelby Beitzel, RPD records and evidence manager, said of CRFR on Tuesday. “They just get to hang out in their building all the time and relax.”

As of Tuesday morning, CRFR held a 981-762 lead in pushups over their police counterparts. Detectives Jose Valadez and Kalob Foreman, however, especially helped the RPD close in on CRFR earlier this week. 

During a shift, Valadez notched 122 pushups in one sitting — sometimes with the department’s unofficial resident cat, Lucky (it’s actually Valadez’s), clinging to his back. Foreman also put forth another 75 pushups early Tuesday morning.

“When we’ve been doing the pushups, a lot of people are like, ‘I think I can do like 10,’ and they end up doing 20 or 35,” Beitzel said. “I can see them pushing themselves more than they thought they could do, which is awesome.”

Rifle Police Officer Haley Walker holds a plank after doing a pushup at the station on Tuesday.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent

The competition all started after a video of CRFR Emergency Medical Technician and Firefighter Ben Crow doing pushups with RPD spokesperson Angela Mills’ son, Tristan, on his back surfaced on social media.

Rifle police then publicly wagered that they could in fact do more pushups than CRFR. Firefighter and Paramedic Chelsey Johnson couldn’t help but accept the invitation.

“I commented and said, ‘Let’s go,’” Johnson said on Tuesday. “‘What are the rules?’”

Ever since the challenge was accepted, the competition has exploded on social media. Amid the hundreds of “likes,” locals jokingly placed bets to see who wins as more videos of CRFR and RPD members doing push ups in their stations emerged.

“It took on this bigger life, and everyone seems to be having a good time with it,” Mills said. “I would love to have it grow next year.”

Mills said this could include turning the pushups competition into a fundraiser, with members of the public taking official bets to see who wins.

This isn’t the first time RPD and CRFR have butted heads. In December 2018, these two organizations bet to see who could raise more money while ringing Salvation Army bells outside of the Rifle Walmart over the holidays. Combined, they raised about $1,550 but, in the end, Rifle police won the competition by an $83 margin.

Members of the Colorado River Fire Rescue district do pushups inside the Rifle firehouse on Tuesday.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent

“We’ve got a great rivalry with the PD — we always have,” Johnson said. “They’ve called us out in videos in the past and we’ve always come back. But, honestly, they’ve always been there when we need them and we’re there, as well.

“There’s times when we’re short on manpower because of our call volume, and those guys always pitch in.”

But as far as the smack talk from the RPD directed toward CRFR is concerned?

“It’s because we’re better looking,” Johnson said. “We have naps and recliners, so of course they’re mad at us.”

Colorado River Fire Rescue’s Chelsey Johnson does a pushup inside the Rifle firehouse on Tuesday.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent

When it comes to CRFR, Beitzel maintains that “you can still like people who aren’t as good as you.” But she also acknowledges the help they provide for the police department on a regular basis.

Beitzel, an RPD member since 2018, remembers when she first became a detective. There was once a scene that involved an unattended death, and CRFR offered to do more than what was expected.

“There was someone who had to get carried out, and (CRFR) waited on scene for us for a while,” Beitzel said. “They were like, ‘We’ll stay here, we’ll help you guys carry.’”

“Because there’s stairs, a small room, and they had no problem waiting and helping. They didn’t have to but they always do.”

In spite of friendly rivalries, CRFR and RPD’s newest joust produced perhaps an even closer bond. During a pushups session earlier this week, Firefighter Crow came to the RPD office, dropped to one knee and proposed to RPD Officer Haley Walker.

Colorado River Fire Rescue’s Ben Crow and Rifle Police Officer Haley Walker — with their dog Mowgli — after Crow proposed to Walker earlier this week.
Courtesy/Angela Mills

On Tuesday, Walker summed up the experience in four words.

“Interesting,” she said. “Lots of emotions.”

Videos of firefighters and police officers doing pushups can be found on both CRFR and RPD Facebook pages.

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