By Everett Brazil, III
The Newkirk Herald Journal
NEWKIRK — Many communities host Boots and Badges activities, including Newkirk, Ponca City and Blackwell where fire, police and EMS personnel go head-to-head to see who is the toughest first responder organization in the community. First responders across Kay County are offered an opportunity to compete against one another, as Newkirk Main Street is sponsoring the Kay County program to celebrate all first responders across the county. While bragging rights are certainly up for grabs, Newkirk Main Street is hoping to provide first responders the opportunity to “cut loose” from the pressures of COVID-19, while encouraging some friendly competition and a chance to raise money for two great organization.
The event will start at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 24 at the Kay County Courthouse parking lot, also known as the Government Square. The Courthouse is located at 201 S. Main. Half-courts for basketball will be set up on the south end of the courthouse parking lot, with cornhole and tug of war set up on the courthouse lawn towards Main Street. Vendors will be located along Seventh Street with the relay race taking place on the actual street. Team sign in, drink sales, and facilities will be in the city parking lot.
All first responder organizations in the county are invited to attend, including police, EMS and fire departments, both full time and volunteer. Other organizations invited include the Kay County Sheriff’s Office, tribal police, Oklahoma Highway Patrol and Oklahoma Corporation Commission.
Teams of up to five individuals made up of police, fire and EMS technicians will compete in cornhole, three-on-three basketball, tug-of-war, gun belt relay and fire hose control, with the top three teams in each division earning a ribbon or trophy. Each team can also be a hybrid of the services, and include dispatchers or other direct support individuals.
Team fees are $100 each per team or $20 per person, and fifty percent of funds raised will benefit NMS, while the other 50 percent will be donated to a 501c3 charity of the winners’ choice.
While bragging rights are certainly up for grabs, Newkirk Main Street is hoping to provide first responders the opportunity to “cut loose” from the pressures of COVID-19, while encouraging some friendly competition and a chance to raise money for two great organization.
There will also be plenty of activities for the whole family, with numerous craft booths offering goods to participants, ranging from food booths to clothing, jewelry and other collectibles. Vendors will pay a small fee for their booth, which will be located on West Seventh Street, between Main Street and Maple.
“There is a $20 non-refundable set up fee for vendors, which is to make sure we keep your spot,” said co-organizer Bob Capone.
Food trucks will also be on site for lunch and are not being asked to pay a setup fee, however, they are asked to donate a percentage of their sales from the day to NMS.
Organization for the event is ongoing with layout and scoring models being firmed up this past week. Newkirk Main Street would like to sincerely thank citizens that have donated the temporary use of items such as basketball hoops and cornhole boards.
The Kay County Courthouse will be closed to the public, but restroom facilities will be located near City Hall.
“We’d like to thank Troy Brower Of Brower’s Portables for providing the facilities,” NMS Director Alyssa McCleery said.
While the focus of the activity will be first responders, it is also a chance for community members across the county to get out of the house and enjoy the spring weather.
“Because of COVID-19, Charlie Adams Day, as a community event, got cancelled. People are tired of COVID-19, people are tired of being at home,” Capone said. “This is a way for people to get out and pay tribute to first responders. They didn’t get a break in COVID-19, so this is something we wanted to do county-wide.”
For more information, including to enter a team, vendor band or food truck, or to simply volunteer, visit Newkirk Main Street, 116 N. Main, [email protected]or call (580) 362-2377.