2017 The World Police & Fire Games in Los Angeles

September 30, 2017

The World Police and Fire Games are an Olympic-style competition with 10,000 athletes representing law enforcement, firefighters, and officers from corrections, probation, border protection, immigration and customs from 70+ countries across the world competing in 60+ sports. The Games are open to active and retired law enforcement and fire service personnel.

The impetus for the WPFG was the Police Olympics first held in San Diego in 1967. San Diego Police Captain Veon “Duke” Nyhus recognized the need to promote physical fitness and camaraderie amongst members of the law enforcement community.

The name of the original games has changed several times throughout the years. From 1967 through 1989, the Games were known as the California Police Olympics. In 1990, the name changed to the California Police Summer Games. With the inclusion of firefighters in 2000, the name changed to the California Police and Fire Games. 2005 brought the inclusion of several states in the western US and a change to the Western States Police and Fire Games. Starting with the games in 2012, they were known as the United States Police and Fire Championships.

With the continuing success of the California Games, planning began in 1983 for the first World Police and Fire Games, which were held in 1985 in San Jose. The aim of the World Police and Fire Games is to offer the same variety of sports, and same high caliber of venues, officials and athletic achievement as the California Games, but on a global scale.

Subsequent World Police and Fire Games have been held biennially in San Diego; Vancouver, Canada; Memphis; Colorado Springs; Melbourne, Australia; Calgary, Canada; Stockholm, Sweden; Indianapolis; Barcelona, Spain; Quebec City, Canada; Adelaide, South Australia; British Columbia, Canada; New York City; Belfast, Northern Ireland; Fairfax County, Virginia; and Montreal, Canada.

The size and scope of the World Games continues to grow. Attendance has steadily increased as have the number of countries involved. While attendance averages about 9000, the 2011 WPFG in New York holds the current attendance record with over 16,000 athletes competing in 67 sports from almost 70 countries

The next World Police and Fire Games will be held in Chengdu, China on August 8 – 18, 2019.

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BOWLING

The bowling event at the WPFG has had some problematic history. With the 2017 Games coming to Los Angeles, Dan Curry jumped on the grenade and agreed to coordinate the event with hopes of giving the 174 bowling entrants a better experience. Curry assembled a strong team of volunteers who kept score, kept the tournament on a firm footing and awarded the medals in a timely fashion.

The LAFD was well represented in the field at Pinz Bowling Center and came away with 10 medals. Curry bowled with his normal World Games team: retired San Jose FF’s Greg Spence and Steve Goytia and retired Canadian police officer Kevin Schofield. Curry struggled in Singles, but managed a 5th place finish (212 average) paired with Schofield out of 31 Open Division squads. In Team, Curry’s Cal-Canada combo team methodically tallied up a 199 average in cruising to a 3rd place finish out of 16 teams in the Open Division – earning a bronze medal.

Keenan Porche assembled his usual crew to torment the B Division. In Singles (50+), Porche averaged 196 to earn the first of three silver medals. In Doubles, it was the pair of Raymond Keene and Edward Martin that found themselves in a 3-way battle for 2nd place. In the end, Keene and Martin edged a Malaysian squad by just 12 pins (over five games) to grab 3rd place and the bronze.

For the Team event, Porche, Keene, Martin and Alex Molina were scheduled on the same pair as their Australian friends from previous World Games. The two squads ran away from the rest of the field. Ultimately the Aussies squeaked out a 21-pin victory for the gold, and “LAFD 1” settled for silver. Porche and Martin’s consistency throughout the tournament also earned them silver and bronze medals, respectively, in the All Events 50+ B Division.

Moe Torres competed with his Disneyland team, and invited current LAFD member Kevin Smith to participate in the Doubles and Team event. Smith and Torres finished 10th in Doubles (A Division) and the Disneyland team finished 5th out of 14 teams in B Division. They were medal-less, but not a bad showing.

Porche was the big winner: if you’ve been keeping score, he won three silver medals at the 2017 Games. Martin won one silver medal and two bronze medals. Keene had one silver and one bronze, while Molina had a silver and Curry took home a bronze.

More importantly, we showed the World how to run a bowling event! Some of the bowlers are already making plans for Chengdu, China in 2019 and Rotterdam, The Netherlands in 2021.

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BOXING

The boxing matches were held at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The LAFD had two fighters in the ring: Shawn Lenske (MFC) and Marco Franco (9-C). They both competed in the 156 lb class. Lenske dropped 25 lbs in three months to compete. In the finals, Franco fought a boxer from FDNY. He knocked out the New Yorker in the 2nd round, bringing home the gold for the LAFD.

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CYCLING

Armando Martinez (FF retired) competed in the 60+ cycling events. In the Road Race out in Acton, with 35 miles and 2600 feet of climbing, he took 2nd place out of 14 riders. Out at Lake Castiac for the 2.5 mile hill climb – at a 6.7% grade – Armando was able to win the silver medal. But the Sprint competition is his forte, and Armando was able to beat the pack and win the gold.

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LAFD HOCKEY (18+)

The 18+ Novice Division Hockey games were played at the familiar Iceoplex on East Street in Simi Valley. But the tournament was anything but easy for the LAFD club. They were able to defeat the US Department of Homeland Security team but then lost games to the Calgary PD, the NYPD and Northern Ireland.

The team was led by Brett Willis and included Bryan Willis, Dan Will, Danny Wu, Chris Miyasato, Rob Shaw, Dominic Marquis, Kyle Levindofske, Nick Prange, Matt Bortel, Matt Potter, Brendan Cavanaugh, Al Boctor, Chris Gunzel, and Toma Nua.

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LAFD HOCKEY (35+)

LAFD Salty Dogs Take on the World’s Best

Your hometown LAFD Salty Dogs stepped onto the ice against some of the finest competition in the world in the 35+ division of the 2017 WPFG.

The tournament kicked off with a tough match up against the Calgary PD Cowboys. The team featured four players with a NHL pedigree. The Salty Dogs had less than four. The Cowboys went up early but the Salty Dogs battled hard the whole game, killing a crucial penalty to keep the game from getting out of hand. While unable to overcome the deficit, the Salty Dogs played a hard 60 minutes, with players leaving sweat and blood on the ice in the effort.

In the next match, the Salty Dogs took on the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The game featured some controversy as the Mounties refused to play the game on horseback. Once the officials sorted that out, the puck was dropped for a real barn burner. The lamps were being lit regularly in this game on both side of the ice, but again the Salty Dogs came up just short of victory.

The Salty Dogs wore their stars and striped shorts to channel their inner Rocky Balboa in their next game against the Moscow PD. The Russians featured four players who are active in the Kontinental Hockey League, the Russian version of the NHL. They also had 20 players, two coaches, a trainer and a skate sharpening machine and operator brought in from Moscow.

The Salty Dogs went Rocky on the Russians, scoring the only goal the Russians would allow in all of pool play. Unfortunately, the Salty Dogs went full Apollo Creed for the remainder of the game, again playing hard throughout, but again taking a close loss. Motivation could have been a factor, as it was revealed that each member of the Moscow team would receive $100,000 and a month of vacation for a gold medal. Calls for comment on this inequity made by this reporter to the 18th floor were not returned.

The next match-up was a familiar foe as the Salty Dogs took on the LAPD. Fans packed the stands as the two local agencies slugged it out for local bragging rights and a berth in the bronze medal game. The game was tight from the drop of the puck, both teams fighting for every inch of ice. The score was tied at the end of regulation, and would require overtime to declare a victor. And in that overtime the Salty Dogs emerged victorious. To see the three Salty Dogs make a scoring rush, the bright colors of their jerseys flashing against the milky ice, was to see a work of art in motion. The fans erupted in celebration as the Salty Dogs advanced to play for the bronze medal.

The Mounties arrived ready to play, but again without their horses, forcing another delay. Unfortunately, the RCMP advance scouting department had done their homework as they exploited the subtle weaknesses in the Salty Dogs transition game. The Salty Dogs again showed no quit, playing a hard 60 minutes of hockey, even dropping the mitts to stir up the fans and show the Canadians that the local boys mean business. But it was not enough to overcome the deficit as the Mounties took home a well-earned bronze.

In the end, a great time was had by all. Participants universally reported that playing with and against great players from all over the world was a great honor.
Fans, make sure to mark your calendars for future tournaments. The Salty Dogs will be back and better than ever. The scouts said they showed a lot of promise.

LA City Salty Dogs: Marty Mullen, Matty Mullen, Chris Dupertuis, Roger Sackaroff, Adam Davis, Mike McRoberts, Jason Getchius, Justin Bactat, Austin Smith, Mark Anderson, Mike Colbert (Long Beach PD) and Jeremy Bactat (Torrance FD).

Submitted by Dickie Dunn

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HORSESHOES

August 10th and 11th were mid-90 degree days in Santa Clarita at the Stevenson Ranch Horseshoe Club, the venue for the World Police and Fire Games Horseshoe Competition. Competitors from many parts of the United States, Canada, Norway and Australia signed up to pitch horseshoes at this beautiful facility that sports twelve professional clay courts. Three ladies from the Northern Territory Police, Australia, and one from the Los Angeles Fire Department joined eighteen men in the two-day contest which broke down into four divisions of singles and three divisions of doubles.

During the contest it is estimated that the twenty-two competitors pitched 12.4 tons of steel and walked 26.6 miles. As a result of this effort, three members of the Los Angeles Fire Department took home four medals. They were Kory Clark – two silvers, Dan Martin – one gold and James Martin – one silver.

Everyone thought it was a great tournament, especially the Australian women. They had never pitched a horseshoe before, but after a little instruction, they were starting to score some points and even tossing a few ringers – which caused some high-fives. I hope this will encourage some of our women to come out and try pitching from 30 feet, and pitch in the annual Fire Olympics.

Submitted by Dan Martin

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MOTOCROSS

The Motocross competitions were held at the Glen Helen Raceway. Todd Gravitt (21-A) finished 2nd in the 40-44 year old class. Scott Nelson (107-B) competed in the 50-54 year old class. Blake Fair (49’s) competed in the 55-59 year old class, capturing the silver in the Men’s Grand Prix – 50+ – Novice Class and also a bronze medal.

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SOFTBALL (45+)

A team composed of LAFD members, seven active and four retired, joined ball players from Alameda County Fire, LA County Fire, Riverside Fire, and California State Corrections to compete as the “SoCal Seniors” in the 45+ softball division in the WPFG. Due to a lack of competition, play began against very talented teams from Orange County Probation, L.A. Sheriffs and FDNY in the 35+ age division. SoCal held their own against the younger teams. The seniors won the first game and made terrific late inning charges in losing two games in the last inning.

Qualifying for a winner take all 45+ division championship game against the potent NorCal team, the SoCal Seniors kept the game close with clutch hitting from Keith Bandy, Jud Ream, Frank Urquidez, Russ Barnes and Craig Fletcher. Defensively, crowd pleasing play was turned in by Kurt Wyrick, Scott Melanson, and Russ Barnes. In the end NorCal had too many offensive weapons and won the championship by the score of 23 -12.

Every member played a key role at the plate and on the field. Dennis Hunt hit a pressure packed late inning inside the park home to prolong a game, Dan Olivas tied for the lead in hits, Dave Olivas pitched three terrific games, and Stan Fernandez played solid at 3rd base. Contributions were also made by Greg Linton, Fritz Neuhaus, Ted Nonini, Joe Vigil, and Dick Markota.

This is the 1st time in memory the WPFG has held softball competition in the 45+ age division.

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SOCCER

SoCal Fire Competes in Soccer

Player/Manager Darin Laier (62-B) organized two teams made up of several players from SoCal Fire Departments. The teams competed in the Men’s Open and 35+ Division.

LAFD firefighters Jason Yim (57’s), Chris Napper (60’s), Chris Erazo (26’s) and Darin Laier played alongside firefighters from LA County FD, OCFA, Newport Beach, San Diego and Australia in the Open Division. After going 3-1 in pool play and scoring 13 goals against teams from Hong Kong, Mexico, Israel National Fire and CA Dept Corrections, SocCal met Burnaby Canada Fire in the Round of 16 Playoffs. Down 2-0 at half, a physically drained team having played five games in three days, battled back to go into extra time 2-2. Conceding in extra time, SoCal was knocked out after a really well played tournament on the pitch.

LAFD firefighters Adin Waldrep (6’s), Pablo Gomez (4’s), Dave Hernandez (70’s) and Ryan Chance (QAU) competed for the SoCal Fire 35+ squad alongside Santa Monica, LA County FD, San Diego and others. Unfortunately, the side was riddled with injury and bad luck, and failed to make it out of pool play. In this type of tournament you need your health, skill and numbers . . . and all we had was skill.

The experience on both sides was amazing as we hosted literally the world in our back yard. Good football, great camaraderie and a lot of class was shown by every player.

Thank you to the LAFD, LAPD, and Soccer Coordinator Ruben Nava of the LASD for an incredible tournament and World Police and Fire Games.

For more information on how to join LAFD members on the field, please send your information to lacityfiresoccer@gmail.com

SURFING

Surfers from as far away as the Taiwan FD, South Oz PD, and the Brazil Fed PD competed in three days of surfing at Leo Carrillo State Beach. There were competitions in both short board and longboard.

The only surfer to represent the LAFD in the games was William Fischer from FS 50-B. He is a former state parks lifeguard at Huntington Beach and has been surfing all his life. William competed in the Open Water Swim, and both the longboard and shortboard surfing events. He was proud to take home the silver medal in the Men’s Longboarding Open Division.

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SWIMMING

The swimming events were held at the Exposition Park Swim Stadium, adjacent to the Coliseum.

In the Men’s 55-59 (Individual) races, Robby Cordobes (3-C) captured the silver medal in both the100 Meter Freestyle and 200 Meter Freestyle.

In the Men’s 35-39 (Individual), Dan Ferrari (13-C) competed in the 50 Meter Backstroke. Ferrari also competed with “Unified USA,” a team with FDNY members. They grabbed 4th place in both the Men’s – 30+ – 200 Meter Freestyle Relay and the Mixed – 30+ – 200 Meter Medley Relay. In the Men’s 30+ 200 Meter Medley Relay, the Russian Federal Police and Hong Kong Allied Law Enforcement took gold and silver. Unified USA Fire took the bronze, passing Brazil National Police in the final five meters.

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TRACK AND FIELD

This was the 4th WPFG for 28-year LAFD veteran Leah Fleischman (99-B). This year she concentrated on the Track and Field events and for the first time, entered into the Heptathlon. In the past few years she has had two major back surgeries as well as a major shoulder and bicep tendon repair to her throwing arm but she still loves competition and wanted to challenge herself and try to continue to represent the LAFD even as a senior athlete.

And the hard work paid off. Her medals were: Gold in the Heptathlon, two silver medals in the Discus and High Jump, and four bronze medals in the Hammer, Javelin, Shot Put and 200M – all competing in the 55-59 age group.

Leah says, “It was an honor to represent the Los Angeles City Fire Department and as always, it was an amazing experience meeting and competing with my fellow firefighters and police officers from around the world. I will cherish the memories forever.”

Dick Markota (B/C retired) is another Track and Field veteran – in the last five WPFG’s he has won four gold medals and one silver in the javelin. This time out he took the gold again in the javelin and the bronze in the discus, all in the 65-69 age group.

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VOLLEYBALL

Team Boat 2 slammed Beach Volleyball, winning the gold in the Two-Man competition. Gary Brigandi and Derek LeDuff teamed up to defeat Russia, China, New York, and in an exciting finals match, beat Canada 22-20.

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