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Officers, firefighters face off for charity

Police officers and firefighters will face off in the Guns Versus Hoses Charity Disc Golf Tournament on the course at Redeemer Lutheran Church.

All law enforcement officers and firefighters are invited to participate in the competitive event set for Saturday. In fact, anyone who wishes to participate is welcome to do so and pick a side to support.

Proceeds raised from the event will go to Peace Officer Ministries and the Autism Society. The winning side gets 51 percent for their chosen charity with 49 percent going to the other charity.

Entry fee is $20. However, all donations are welcome.

"This is our first competitive event," said the Rev. Frank Ruffatto, the church's pastor who is a former police officer and homicide detective. "The rules are similar to club golf."

The event will include a cookout with free food as well as trophies and prizes. Because everything is donated, all of the money raised goes to charity.

The Redeemer Lutheran Disc Golf Park will be two years old in July with much of it built by Steve Koepsel, church member and retired U.S. Marine. However, it is a work in progress with attractions such as a new fish pond and wishing well being added on an ongoing basis.

Ruffatto believes it is the only disc golf course in the state with a pro shop on site offering everything from various discs and T-shirts to towels and bags.

For those who wish to try out the course, it is free and open to the public.

The course is so popular that people from out of town make a point of playing there when passing through the area.

On a recent day, Nick Week and Kyle Minch, both of Detroit, Mich., stopped by to check out the course that they had read about online.

"At first glance, I'm very excited," Minch said.

They have played courses in Michigan, California, Texas, Arizona and Ohio.

"This course had high ratings online," Week said.   

They note that disc golf offers good exercise as well as stress relief. Plus, many courses are free.

In disc golf, players throw weighted discs into mounted metal baskets that are spaced at various lengths apart. Chains around the baskets are geared to keep the discs from bouncing back out. The 18-hole hilly course at Redeemer Lutheran has a portion of the Lord's Prayer at each basket site.

Ruffatto, who recently began playing disc golf himself, hopes lots of folks will sign up for the upcoming tournament, which he calls a "friendly rivalry."

"You don't have to be a gifted athlete to participate," he said.

The church is located at 1 Deerwalk Lane, Charleston. Follow Corridor G south, go right on Paula Road, left toward Winterfell and up the hill. Go to or call 304-345-6251 for more information.

Registration and skills contest is 8 a.m. Players meet at 9 a.m. Tee time is 9:15 a.m.  

Ways to participate in the tournament include taking part as well as watching or donating cash or prizes. Contact Steve Koepsel at 304-546-8398.

Contact writer Charlotte Ferrell Smith at or 304-348-1246.


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