Students from Calera schools gathered in Durant to do their part by recycling and support the Durant Police Department and Durant Fire and Rescue.
As the Red versus Blue Trash off began Friday morning, both departments tried to sway the children to donate recycled goods to their department.
The two departments are now in a nine week competition to see who can collect the most recycled goods.
Two drop-off locations will have bins marked blue for police and red for fire. Those donating can drop off their recyclables into the bin of the team they want to win.
Bins are located at the old Goody’s Store parking lot on the east side of the building and at 1415 W. Main St. The contest will end on May 10.
The winner will be announced May 31 at the annual Magnolia Festival in Durant. The losing team will have to participate in a dunk tank at the festival.
The event is in collaboration with the Choctaw Recycling Center. Choctaw Recycling Center’s Tracy Horst said that she had gotten the idea from a town in North Carolina.
She then got together with the city of Durant to see if this would be possible. This event also coincides with the annual Great American Clean Up.
Keep America Beautiful’s Great American Clean Up is an annual national community improvement program.
The program began March 1 and lasts until May 31. Horst said that the hope for this competition is to get 100,000 pounds of material and develop a habit of recycling in the community.
During the kick-off Friday, children heard from Choctaw Chief Gregory Pyle, Durant Mayor Jerry Tomlinson, Fire Chief Roger Jones and Police Chief Durward Cook.
After speeches and friendly banter from both department chiefs, the children were invited to unload all of the recyclables they had brought and enjoy hot dogs.
Chief Jones said that the hope of the event is not only to collect material for the event but to educate everyone on recycling.
This sentiment was shared by Durant PD Captain Mike Woodruff who said he hopes it reminds people even after the competition to be conscious of their recycling habits.
Though the two departments have been swapping insults with each other, they all say that they have a good working relationship.
“We have an extremely good relationship.” said Jones, “We may play pranks but it’s all in good fun.”
Woodruff said he feels as though if the departments did not have such a strong relationship they could not have fun with a competition such as this one.
He said he has visited many other cities and feels that the relationship between the departments here is one that does not exist in other towns.
Despite the brief friendly remarks both side insist they are the better department and will win this competition. They said they want to remind citizens to get out and donate material to their bins.
By the end of Friday’s kickoff event, the Durant Fire Department was in the lead with 494 pounds of material to the Police Department’s 405 pounds.