Firefighters and law officers duke it out for the kids

AUSTIN (KXAN) -- Firefighters and local law enforcement officers traded punches Friday night. Not in anger, but for a good cause. Their second annual Battle of the Badges at the Austin Convention Center was a benefit to support the Partnerships for Children, a non-profit that provides important resources for abused youngsters under the care of Child Protective Services.

Firefighters and law officers traditionally have a rivalry between their forms of service, work that is noble and often dangerous. It is usually in good fun but Friday you knew someone was going to take it in the chops and the deputies and police were look to avenge last year's match.

This wasn't child's play in the ring. These are USA Boxing sanctioned events, with seventeen bouts, four of them involving women contestants. The law (the blue team) took the opening bout, but the firefighters (red) took the second. In that fight, Travis County deputy Marco Rico put up a good fight against Georgetown firefighter Clifton Schuneman, but Rico was knocked down and lost the decision. After, his niece took it in stride, "It's all for charity, all for charity. He is my sweet nephew and we're all in for him." Rico's mom echoed the sentiment, "His heart was in it for the children, that's all that matters. He hung tough."

There was good natured ribbing in the crowd, fire supporters claiming the cops always lose because they are eating donuts in their patrol cars. Not so, replied a chuckling Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo, "No, no, no. Firefighters work that 24 hour shift and all they have to do is eat, sleep and work out, while we're out on the street answering calls."

In the first Battle of the Badges, firefighters won 11 of the 17 bouts and the team in blue was hoping for revenge. If that doesn't pan out and you're stopped this weekend by a cranky cop or deputy, you might want to cut them some slack.

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