By STEVE DYE
Neither passing rain showers nor subsequent blazing sun dissuaded the local community from turning out in droves on Saturday to support the Ponca City Police Department and other local law enforcement agencies at the annual Back the Blue event.
From noon until 10 p.m., the crowd enjoyed delicious barbeque while also being entertained with live music, taking part in kids games, playing on inflatables, and taking part in fundraiser raffles on the 101 Rodeo Fairgrounds.
“What began four years ago — with some friends and I just wanting to support our friends in law enforcement one evening — has really exceeded our expectations,” said founder Alan Hobbs. “After the first year in my pasture, this has grown into a full out community event. This gets bigger every year, and so does the support for law enforcement in Kay County.”
The third-year event, having been moved to the 101 Rodeo Grounds for the past two incarnations, was orchestrated by Hobbs along with organizers Brandon Buell and Jason Troutman.
“All of us with the Back the Blue barbeque would like to thank everyone that showed up and braved the heat and the rain on Saturday to show their support for not only our local law enforcement, but for us too,” Buell said on behalf of the group. “We know it was hot and miserable sometimes, but you all made us proud and showed our law enforcement officers that we support and appreciate them. It was a great day. Thanks again, and we look forward to seeing you all again next year.”
Other primary volunteers putting the event together included Cory Goodno, Jessica Short, Sara Troutman, Misty Hobbs, Kacey Buries, Brandon Alley, and numerous others.
Live music was provided by Chad Harrell, the band Bisket, and headiner Morrison 33 for the adults in attendance while kids got their faces painted, played in the bouncy house obstacle courses, and played corn hole.
“The Back the Blue event is a phenomenal show of support for Kay County Law Enforcement,” said Police Chief Don Bohon. “The officers, deputies, and troopers of this area don’t need to wonder if the community supports them — they can clearly see that here.”