John Burke comes to talk about Guns ‘n’ Hoses

Everybody has good ideas. But every once in awhile an idea comes along that goes above and beyond expectations.
When John Burke, former St. Louis Police Lieutenant, and a group of a men, came up with an idea for a boxing event, they had no idea the potential it had.
Burke’s team included then current mayor Vince Schoemehl, fire chief Neil Svetrimes, police chief Bob Sheetz, Grey Eagle Distributors owner Jerry Clinton and Myrl Taylor of St. Louis Amateur Boxing. Clinton was the biggest funder of the event.
The event started in 1987 as a competition between the St. Louis city and St. Louis county police officers. They would box each other and all the proceeds would go to charity.
The proceeds were donated to Backstoppers, a charity that aids the families of those lost in the line of duty.
But the event’s popularity didn’t take off like everyone thought.
“If you’d of saw the look on my face that first year…I wanted to get in there and beat somebody,” said Burke.
Over time, the event has evolved into what it is today. Guns ‘n’ Hoses is now not only just police officers. Now, the St. Louis Police Department competes against the St. Louis Fire Department.
This brings good competition because for years STLPD and STLFD haven’t really gotten along.
“You got two entities that historically don’t like each other,” said Burke. “But should something happen, they will give their life for the other.”
It’s now tradition that the event takes place on the day before Thanksgiving.
At an event like this there are a lot of risk for injury. But Guns ‘n’ Hoses does a good job of keeping fighters safe and well trained so not get hurt.
“The worst injury we’ve ever had is a broken nose. Which is nothing,” said Burke.
This year’s Guns ‘n’ Hoses takes place on Wednesday Nov. 21 at the Scottrade Center. There are a total of 21 bouts including three bouts between females.
Guns ‘n’ Hoses started as a small idea and has evolved into something nobody expected. The event started with a couple hundred people going to now over 10,000 sometimes as high as 15,000 people in attendance.
“More than the sport itself, it’s the show that sells,” said Burke.


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