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By Richard Abshire
Dallas Morning News

DALLAS - There will be a lot on the line Saturday when area police officers and firefighters square off against each other at Resistol Arena in Mesquite for the seventh annual "Guns and Hoses" boxing tournament.
"We're tied at 3-3," said Garland police Lt. Dave Swavey, a tournament founder. "This is the rubber match."
The firefighters won last year, 10 bouts to six, in front of more than 6,000 fans, and the men in blue are talking of a comeback.
Tournament proceeds will go to a foundation that provides financial support to the families of police officers and firefighters killed in the line of duty. Fourteen families have been helped since the program began in 2002.
In addition, the two teams are competing for charities of their choice: the police for the Mesquite chapter of AMBUCS, a business organization that provides bikes and other equipment for special-needs children; and the firefighters for Camp Moss, a retreat for children with cardiac disease.
Tricia Swavey, Lt. Swavey's wife and a member of the Plano Fire Department, said opponents are chosen carefully.
"We look at age, weight class, height and experience," she said.
This year's competitors are coming from throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area, including Dallas, Denton, McKinney, Richardson and Waxahachie. While women have boxed at previous events, all of this year's fighters are men.
The winning team holds the trophy for a year, passing it around to participating police or fire stations like the NHL's Stanley Cup.
Organizers expect a record turnout Saturday.
"We're ahead of last year on advance ticket sales," Lt. Swavey said. "I'd encourage everybody to get there early."
This week at the Garland Police Department's Ninth Street gym, home to the youth boxing program that Lt. Swavey began and oversees, police officers and firefighters alike were working the bags and practicing in the ring with a coach, who ordered up punches in a staccato style: "Jab. Hook. One-two."
Among the aspiring pugilists were Joe Reese of Dallas Fire-Rescue and Matt Roller of the Garland Police Department.
When asked why they'd signed up to fight, both grinned and said it seemed like a good idea at the time.
"The training might help me out on the street," Officer Roller said.
For those who prize pulchritude over pugilism, the Guns and Hoses Ring Girls will be on hand to escort fighters to the ring, parade around with round cards and autograph their 2009 calendar.
Alyssa Murphy, whose boyfriend is a McKinney firefighter, is Miss August.
"We all have a good time, and it's for a good cause," she said. "I've never heard of anyone who didn't enjoy the event.
"If you come once, you'll come back the next year."

Wire Service
 
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