34th annual Guns ‘N Hoses event raises money for fallen first responders

ST. LOUIS — The 34th annual Budweiser Guns ‘N Hoses event returned to the Enterprise Center Wednesday night. It ended in a 6-6 draw.

The annual charity fight night brought together those in red and blue, raising money for the Backstoppers organization. Backstoppers supports families of fallen first responders.

The Enterprise Center was packed with fans, but there wasn’t any ice. Instead, the Enterprise Center was turned blue for area police officers and red for firefighters.

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It’s the first time this event was held in person since 2019. It was also the first time the charity fight night was televised and had a telethon to raise money from those watching at home.“We pay out $2.5 million a year to support 90 families now, and it doesn’t end in one day, and it’s ongoing, and we want to be there for them to support them, and if any others fall in line behind them which we pray they don’t, we want to be prepared to help them,” Ron Battelle, the executive director of Backstoppers said.

The event the night before Thanksgiving has become a ritual.

“It’s a tradition in St. Louis, and we decided to come out and support our first responders and Backstoppers its great to be back together,” said Mindy McNamee, who attended the event.

Alexia Bohannon’s husband Tamaris Bohannon was killed in the line of duty. The Backstoppers foundation has helped her family.“They’re almost extended family at this point, not just financially, but that emotional aspect as well,” Bohannon said.

She said walking back into the event for the first time without her husband brought back memories.

“This is my first year obviously without him, but it feels good to know that I have so much support right here in this building,” Bohannon said.

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She said her and her late husband came to the event right after he graduated from the police academy and now, the foundation she supported, is supporting her.

“We would hope that no other officer is shot in the line of duty, but unfortunately, it’s just something that happens, but it’s good to know that organizations like Guns ‘N Hoses raise money for Backstoppers,” she said.

“St. Louis is amazing, we do love our police and firefighters,” said Melanie Ray, who attended the event.

Their goal is to raise one million dollars. The last time this event was held in-person was in 2019 when they raised $900,000.

The organization said it will tally up the amount raised from proceeds, a 50/50 raffle, and the telethon and announce it next year.

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