CINCINNATI -- Twenty-two police officers and 22 firefighters will square up in a boxing ring to raise money for the families of first responders who have died in the line of duty.
But now, just 16 days before the event was scheduled to take place, Guns N’ Hoses Southwest Ohio will have to find a new venue to host their fundraiser.
The event, initially scheduled for Oct. 8, has been held at JACK Cincinnati Casino -- formerly Horseshoe Casino -- for the past two years. The casino said it cannot host the tournament this year due to technical and insurance issues following the change in ownership.
"We tried to help the promoter secure supplemental insurance coverage to protect the event participants, but despite a national search we were unable to find a suitable policy," casino general manager Chad Barnhill said in a statement Sunday.
Jim Knapp, an event organizer with the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office, said the initial news came as a shock.
"It was the frustration that we felt,” Knapp said. “It was like a punch in the gut. Two weeks before, you tell me, ‘We can't do it.’ And I'm not even boxing."
Knapp said last year’s boxing tournament raised over $70,000, and despite the switch in venues, they’re hoping to raise even more this year.
The money will benefit the first responders that never make it home, Cpl. Mike Fritts said.
"The money that we raise goes to families that have lost their lives, their spouse’s lives, or their son's lives or their daughter's lives in the line of duty,” Fritts said.
Guns N’ Hoses posted on Facebook Saturday evening, thanking the casino’s general manager for “his personal commitment to help our organization secure a venue for our event.”
Knapp said he is thankful the casino’s general manager is working with him on the logistics and finding another venue.
"Insurance-wise, at this point -- October the 8th, they're unable to do it,” Knapp said. “He's more than willing to help me. In fact, he's offered to help me find another venue."
Fritts has been training six days a week for the match-ups. Despite the change of venue, he is hopeful this year’s tournament will be a success.
"I hope we can raise a bunch of money for our guys, and I think that we will,” Fritts said. “We're not giving up and the show must go on."