Engines revved and tires spun as the ultimate showdown between Dawson County’s finest was about to begin.
The Dawson County Sheriff’s Office and Dawson County Emergency Services came out to Atlanta Motorsports Park May 5 to find out who was the best of the best in the Battle of the Badges contest, a charity go-kart race that raised money for Relay for Life of Dawson County.
“We’re excited about it. It’s for a great cause,” said Sheriff Jeff Johnson.
Due to a scheduling conflict, the sheriff’s office was short a few members on their team as many officers were participating in a citizen’s firearms safety class, but that wouldn’t stop the Sheriff’s Office from putting the heat on the fire department.
“We’re going to do our best. We’re all going to do our best,” said Assistant Chief Danny Speaks.
DCES came prepared to win the gold, sporting handmade white t-shirts with their team name: Bacon Slayer.
“I didn’t come up with that but don’t blame me,” said Speaks to Johnson, laughing.
After a safety briefing, the boys in blue and Team Bacon Slayer made their way to their karts, waved to their friends and family and sped off to battle for the trophy.
DCES paramedic Travis Long was gunning for the win. With his family cheering him on, he was the one to beat as he expertly maneuvered around the other drivers and negotiated the hills and curves of the course.
Excited community members gathered around the track, looking for the best spots to view the action. It seemed like Long was going to smoke everyone. No one could beat his time.
That is, until he made a fatal mistake in one of his final laps that would cost him the gold.
Long took a turn too sharp, causing him to lose control of his kart and spin out – costing him his first place position.
At that point, it was anyone’s game with DCSO Corporal Brandon Shaw right on Team Bacon Slayer’s tail.
But Team Bacon Slayer had more fire power and a bigger team which gave them an advantage.
With mere seconds determining the race, Shaw took home second place for the sheriff’s office, with Bacon Slayer and DCES Battalion Chief Jason Dooley claiming first.
“I was behind (Long) the whole time and could never catch (Long) but luckily he spun out on the big turn there so after that it was racing the track instead of everybody else,” said Dooley.
Ultimately, the trophy went home to DCES after a hard fought race. Long, Shaw and Dooley took their places in the winner’s circle and popped sparkling cider in celebration.
After the intense Battle of the Badges, the DCSO boys went back to the track to go head-to-head with members of the community who challenged them to a race in the Hot Pursuit chase while the DCES went to celebrate their victory.
“It was a blast. I wish we could do it once a year. It was a lot of fun but I’m glad we raised some money for the (American) Cancer Society,” said Long. “Hopefully we’ll get the word out and get a lot more people here next year.”