Public safety workers square off in Guns & Hoses

Bragging rights are on the line in a mechanical bull competition that comes to a head Saturday.

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Holly Jones tries to hold on to the mechanical bull but just can't find the hold as she begins her slide from the twirling, bucking beast. September 2, 2010

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Walla Walla Police Department's Kevin Huxoll becomes a ride em' cowboy cop on the mechanical bull during Thursday's Guns and Hoses competition at the Fair between the Police and Fire Departments. September 2, 2010

WALLA WALLA -- Crowds gathered for the first of two competitions between the Walla Walla area's bravest and finest Thursday night.

The Guns & Hoses event brings the rivalry of police and fire departments to a head on a mechanical bull at Walla Walla Fair & Frontier Days. This is the second year the departments have faced off, and hopefully just the beginning of a long tradition, according to Walla Walla police Sgt. Randy Allessio, an organizer.

Those gathered in preparation for Thursday's competition were from the Walla Walla and College Place police and fire departments, the Walla Walla County Sheriff's Office and Fire District 4.

"Everybody looks like they're doing OK," College Place firefighter David Jardin said of the practice. "But it'll be interesting," he said with a laugh.

Walla Walla police Officer Jeremy Pellicer also mentioned the previous day's practice, not sure that the practice would help them stay on the bull.

"This is going to be our department's first mass casualty," joked College Place firefighter Jacob LeBaron.

Many officers on hand Thursday remembered experiences on the bull last year and had high hopes to last longer than their previous record. Though there was some question as to whether the men and women could hold their own against the bull, many of them survived their full time aboard and have been entered into the final showdown Saturday starting at 5 p.m. at the Got Bull booth next to the Pepsi Stage.

The competition is held as a memorial to Tim Corfield, former executive secretary of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association, who helped set this event in motion before his death in 2009.

"It was really his dream to kind of liven up the fair a little," Allessio said.

The trophy has been made by Mike Hammond of Melody Muffler in honor of Corfield. Whichever department wins the contest will take home bragging rights and the Tim Corfield Memorial trophy until next year's competition when the trophy will be up for grabs again.

Jennifer Jorgenson can be reached at jenniferjorgenson@wwub.com.

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