Ada firefighter Zack Ashcraft has claimed his second consecutive title in the annual Smoke & Guns competition.
The event, held April 27, pits Oklahoma law enforcement and firefighters against each other in MMA-style competition to raise money for two charities — Oklahoma Firefighters Burn Camp and Oklahoma Special Olympics.
“It’s really cool because the whole event is centered around these kids,” Ashcraft said. “They get to go all through the area and the arena, and that’s what the whole night is about.”
Ashcraft said firefighters are fighting to benefit the Oklahoma Firefighters Burn Camp, and law enforcement is fighting for the Oklahoma Special Olympics. He said both organizations will receive donations, no matter who wins. The winning side gets 60% of the proceeds from the event donated to their charity, while the losing side’s charity will receive 40% of the proceeds in donation.
“This is my third year to do it,” he said. “It’s something I enjoy — MMA and kind of doing that kind of training. It helps me stay in shape for my job, and it’s something I enjoy.”
Ashcraft enjoys the training and the competition, but he said the kids are the real winners.
“I got invited to go hang out with the kids at burn camp last August and got to see what the camp is all about,” he said. “You see these kids that are burn victims or have some kind of burn-related injury and they get to just hang out and it’s all judgment free. We get to let them know we care about them and let them have a ball. It’s a cool thing to watch these kids go and get outside of thinking that no one likes them because they’ve got these injuries. Fighting for this event sponsors those kids to get to go do that free of charge.
“That’s the whole part of our job — we go out to help people, we desire to help people, and this is just another chance for us to be able to do that.”
Ada Fire Chief Rob Johnson said Ashcraft has his full support and the support of his fellow firefighters.
“We support any of our guys that want to benefit kids or people who need it, so we get behind him and we make sure it happens,” Johnson said. “He’s got guys here who train with him and guys who are his corner-man and his manager that go up there with him.”
Johnson said he would like to see more firefighters participate, and maybe a few area law enforcement officers as well, though they may have a tough time besting Ashcraft.
“Zack is the kind of guy who stands for everything that’s right and good,” Johnson said. “He’s a good role model and it’s turned out to be a pretty neat event and he enjoys it. He’s just a good-natured young man. He’s a good family man and that’s what it’s all about with him.”
Contact Carl Lewis at 580-310-7520, or by email at email@example.com.