Rifle police officers, firefighters square off for a good cause
One’s of Rifle’s oldest rivalries, and in fact a centuries-old rivalry in communities across the country, was on display in front of the Rifle Walmart Nov. 24.
Rifle Police Department officers squared off against Colorado River Fire Rescue crew in a friendly competition to see whose bell-ringing would win out at the end of the day.
The bell was not at the end of an obstacle course or race, but rather the Salvation Army red kettle bell ringers who can be seen out in front of retailers and on street corners throughout the holidays.
Karen Lee with the Salvation Army said the friendly competition between the two departments helped raise double, maybe even quadruple the funds that the kettle will normally raise outside the local Walmart store.
The Rifle Walmart kettle is still very new, she said, and as the organization continues to try to build a volunteer base for it, it will continue to grow. Lee said it may typically be manned for about only four hours on a Saturday, yielding anywhere from $50 to $200 in only a few hours.
Last Saturday, both the RPD and CRFR had volunteers at their kettles from noon to 6 p.m., as $1,550.81 total was raised for the area’s Salvation Army.
While that number far exceeded the $1,000 goal the two departments set forth, a winner still needed to be named between the two.
By a margin of just $83.39, the Rifle Police Department took home the ultimate prize, and bragging rights between the two.
“Not that we are bragging, but we are bragging,” Rifle Police Chief Tommy Klein said. “It was obviously a great event for everybody involved.”
CRFR Fire Marshall Orrin Moon said he felt the final result simply came down to the police department’s better kettle location setup, which saw more foot traffic from start to finish. According to Moon, the locations were determined by a coin flip, which CRFR won, but because their team was larger, they generously gave RPD the prime location.
Next year, the spot might be a hotter topic for the fire crews.
In the end, it remained a friendly competition between two of Rifle’s most essential services.
“Long before I came here to Rifle, the police department had a great relationship with the community,” Klein added. “We like to be involved in activities outside the realm of enforcement. Of course, when we heard the fire fighters were our competition, we could not pass that up.”
Throughout the afternoon, both sides attempted to throw the other team off. CRFR crew members going so low as to offer the police officers free doughnuts as a distraction. Moon said the move was more out of camaraderie than spite.
“We are going to bring our A-game next year,” Klein added.
Lee called it a wonderful competition that really seemed to unite the community.
“I’d like to say the winner is the people,” she added. “It was a cold, ugly day, but everybody had a good time with it.”
CEO Operating Inc. also offered a $1,000 match if the goal was met and Alpine Bank agreed to match the $1,550.81 the two teams raised for a total of over $4,000 raised for the local Salvation Army on Saturday.
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Between Thursday and Saturday morning, local law enforcement arrested nine people accused of soliciting children for sex as part of a sting operation.