By Sam Shapiro
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (WENY) – Law enforcement from sheriff’s offices across New York faced off for a friendly race at the Glen starting Thursday morning. The Sheriffs’ Showdown raises funds to help send roughly 900 kids to the New York State Sheriff’s institute summer camp for free.
“It’s free to the kids; kids that might be in poverty or having some difficulties in life get to come together for a week-long camp, and we raise the funds to send them there for free,” Monroe County Sheriff Todd Baxter said.
The Showdown started In 2019 with sheriffs racing on horseback through an obstacle course in Livingston County. Sheriff Thomas Dougherty had a home-field advantage back then, winning first place at the inaugural completion.
Dougherty was thrilled to see more sheriffs drive through WGI in 2022 after COVID-19 postponed the 2nd showdown for the past two years. On Thursday, they hit the track at Watkins Glen International for the sequel Showdown.
“We have more sheriff participation. I think they feel more comfortable in a car than on a horse; that might be a little unknown and maybe a little more risk on a horse,” said Dougherty, adding, “Here, we’re going to be driving at high speeds, so I think there’s risk with this too.”
A total of twenty-seven sheriffs came out to the friendly competition in 2022 and Schuyler County Sheriff Kevin Rumsey said he was thrilled with the turnout.
“It’s just really good comradery and the networking, talking amongst the sheriffs about current events and stuff that’s going on,” Rumsey said.
Chemung County Sheriff Bill Schrom was crowned the winner of the time trials. Many of the sheriffs at the Showdown are already looking forward to next year, not just the competition and camaraderie but also to continue supporting children in need.