MARINETTE- For 364 days this year, area firefighters and law enforcement officers will work together as a team to protect and serve local residents.
This Saturday is the exception to that rule, as cops and firefighters will lace up their sneaks and square off in a battle for hoops bragging rights in the Marinette High School gymnasium.
Saturday's "Guns .N. Hoses" basketball game pits cops vs. firemen in a fund-raiser to benefit Marinette County and Menominee County Special Olympics. Admission to the game, which tips off at 1 p.m., is free. And in addition to the on-court action, there will be raffle prizes, door prizes and food and drinks. Donations will also be accepted, with all proceeds split 50/50 between Marinette and Menominee County Special Olympics.
The Marinette High School graphics club is making game programs and team shirts - blue for the cops, red for the firefighters - with each participant's name and badge number on the back.
"A bunch of guys are taking vacation to play - it's for a good cause," said Deputy Zak Albrecht of the Marinette County Sheriff's Department, who helped organize the event.
"It's kind of exciting, actually the firemen are really getting into it," he said, explaining that he recently encountered some trash-talking firemen while running an errand to the Marinette Fire Department.
Albrecht was hesitant to return fire, saying he doesn't want a bounty on his head while he's out on the court.
However, he was not as tight-lipped when it came to the cops' strategy going into the game.
"The firemen got 11 guys, so we're going to try to beat them with endurance - outlast them - because we've got 16 guys, so we're going to try to switch up our lines quick, that's our game plan," Albrecht said.
Asked which team would have an advantage in terms of height or skill, Albrecht said he couldn't say, because he doesn't know who the Marinette and Menominee County firefighters have on their roster.
As for his own team, Albrecht said they'll feature a mix of talented and not so talented players.
"We've got some guys that can play ball, and we've got some guys like me that can't - I played hockey all through school, I never played basketball," he said.
Albrecht thanks the following sponsors for donating numerous raffle items ranging from pizzas to a flat screen TV: Gateway Bar & Grill of Crivitz; Cooperate Piping Services of Marinette; Smith's Market of Wausaukee; Witt Ford of Crivitz; Marinette Shell; Lee's Family Foods of Peshtigo; Bank Mutual of Marinette; Firehouse Bar & Grill of Marinette; Little Caesar's of Menominee; Walmart of Marinette; Taco Bell of Marinette; Cozzy's Polaris of Marinette; 141 Shell of Crivitz; Exxon of Wausaukee; Forward Financial of Marinette; Marinette Marine Corporation; Taradise Tanning of Menominee; and Tony's Haller's of Marinette.
For more information about the event, people can contact Albrecht at 715-732-7600, email zalbrecht@marinettecounty.com or officer Craig Kopatz at 715-732-5200, email ckopatz@marinette.wi.us or search "Guns and Hoses" on Facebook.