The Conway Fire Department took home a trophy and bragging rights following a friendly softball match against the police department Wednesday night.
The competition, held at the Don Owen Sports Complex, gave the Conway police and fire departments the opportunity to let off some steam and relax with one another apart from their daily duties, which often causes them to meet up during stressful situations and scenarios.
"The softball game was just a friendly competition between the Conway Police Department and Conway Fire Department," CPD spokesman LaTresha Woodruff said. "However, the CPD played in honor of late Conway Officer Will McGary."
Each officer wore a jersey featuring McGary’s badge number — 474.
Officer Tim Gray said the game allowed the two departments to show appreciation for one another, noting the two generally work together in stressful environments.
"It was a great opportunity for all of the officers that typically may not work together to have fun together," he said. "What started off for a fundraiser for Officer McGary turned into an impromptu [competition] with the fire department. Since we work with them on several calls, the game gave us the opportunity to show a camaraderie and build relationships with the firefighters."
Woodruff said the two departments used to battle it out regularly but that it had been years since the two picked up a bat and headed to the field.
"The softball game used to be a tradition between the CPD and the CFD but we haven’t played in years," she said. "Both departments thought it was time to strike up the friendly competition again. We work together so often in stressful situations and felt it necessary to do something fun to strengthen the camaraderie between the agencies. We had a wonderful night and hope to have more events like this in the future."
Fire Captain Gene Neumeier said that while the fire department now has bragging rights after winning Wednesday’s game, it was a great way to come together, remember the fallen and strengthen relationships.
"It’s about all of us coming together for one of our own and to remember him, but the CFD did win so we might brag just a little and mess with [the officers]," he said.
Firefighter Tyler Berry agreed the softball battle allowed the two departments to let off steam and strengthen team relationships.
He also said the fire department plans to keep its hands on the trophy.
"It’s always a good time when you can get together off duty and get to see a different side to them," he said. "As police and firefighters, we are always giving each other a hard time so any time the CFD can keep the trophy and the bragging rights, it’s a good day."