Police, fire departments to battle on basketball court for Relay for Life

By Mickey Winfield: PNT Staff Writer

The Portales firefighters are fighting the law Saturday for a good cause, and at least one of the firemen is guaranteeing victory.

The Portales Police Department tips off against the Portales Fire Department in “Guns vs. Hoses”, a friendly-competitive basketball game Saturday night at the Portales High School gymnasium benefitting Portales’ 2008 Relay for Life.

And already, the friendly trash-talking is at a fever pitch.

“I guarantee we’ll win,” Three-year veteran of the Portales fire department Dathan Culpepper said. “We’ve got better athletes, we’ve got guys that are in shape. I just think we exercise more than they do.”

While Culpepper’s guarantee may not rise to the prestige of Joe Namath’s infamous guarantee in Super Bowl III against the Colts — it certainly raised eyebrows over at the Portales police station.

“I don’t know that he needed to make a guarantee,” PPD Sgt. Brack Rains said. “They are a bit younger than we are.”

Culpepper also has history on his side, as the firefighters boast a two-game winning streak over the cops. The fire stoppers beat the police in softball and basketball last year.

But Saturday’s game really isn’t about competition, it’s about helping the Portales Relay For Life cancer cure event which kicks off later this month.

And it’s especially poignant this year for both the cops and the firefighters, as both groups have members who have survived, or are currently suffering through cancer.

“Unfortunately, (the Portales police department) has had a long history with cancer,” Rains said. “Several officers have faced that disease. We’ve lost three to (cancer) and we have three who are back at the department right now who are literally survivors. It’s an issue that we know way too well.”

There will also be food, drinks and plenty of fundraising opportunities to benefit the Portales Relay For Life.

“I think it’s going to be fun,” Culpepper said. “It’s going to a good cause.”

The game gets under way at 6 p.m. Saturday night at the PHS gym and admission will be taken in donations.

“The fire department and police work extremely well together,” Rains said. “Those guys are the best crew that I’ve ever known. We give each other a hard time, but everyone works together on one team.”

“We won’t be too hard on ‘em,” Culpepper said with a smile. “(We’ll beat them by) only 20 points.”

What: Guns vs. Hoses basketball game
Who: Portales Police Department vs. Portales Fire Department
Where: Portales High School gymnasium
When: 6 p.m. Saturday
How much: Any donation
Why: Benefits Portales Relay for Life cancer event