July 23, 2014

Elyria
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First-responders to get physical in June games

It’s time for police officers and firefighters to put down their guns and hoses and show off their athleticism.

The 2013 Ohio Police and Fire Games, hosted by Oberlin and the Lorain County Visitors Bureau, will be June 9 through 17. Law enforcement and safety forces compete annually in dozens of different games to test their mental and physical strength and agility in mountain biking, running, obstacle courses, boxing and swimming to snag a gold, silver or bronze medal.

“It’s just guys getting together. They get to walk away from work and have fun,” said Joe Mahan, president of the Ohio Police and Fire Games. “Just about everything we do has some sort of athletic component, so they also get to test their strength.”

All first-responders, including out-of-state, active and retired law enforcement, fire service and military, can participate in the games, which are suitable for the rookie as well as expert. Spouses, support staff, volunteer law enforcement and volunteer firefighters are also eligible to participate.

“We believe there will be at least 1,000 competitors, all bringing their family and friends to Lorain County,” said Elyria firefighter Craig Camp, the event’s co-coordinator. “Oberlin is the host city, but we have events all over the county from Rochester Township to Oberlin to Elyria.”

From a tourism standpoint, the games will be a boost.

“We will have visitors staying in our hotels and patronizing our restaurants. It’s exciting to be able to showcase all of Lorain County,” said Heather Fraelich, the county visitor bureau’s marketing coordinator. “Our fishing in Lorain County is world class, and I imagine the walleye tournament will be a big draw.”

Mahan said Oberlin and Lorain County were chosen after an extensive visit to the area and potential venue locations. As host, Oberlin gets to provide a donation to two charities of their chose. Oberlin police Lt. Kevin Scalli said Oberlin Community Services and the Angels for Kids Foundation were chosen. In addition, the group sends proceeds from a silent auction to the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

New this year to the games will be a triathlon that is open to the public. It’s the only event open to the general public, but will bring a community-building component to the competition.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com.