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Cole Hall, 2, hops aboard a Ripon police motorcycle at Tuesdays annual National Night Out at Community Park. - photo by VINCE REMBULAT

One of the fun events of National Night Out as sponsored by the City of Ripon, Ripon Ministerial Association, and community partners is the watermelon-eating contest.

The competition on Tuesday had several open divisions, not to mention the annual police vs. the firefighters.

Officer Stephen Meece took part in last year’s event won by the firefighter. He had a game plan of sort, as he and his partner, Officer Mike Perry, took on Scott Scheffel and Pete Rodriguez, who were representing the Ripon Consolidated Fire District.

“You just got to go for it,” Meece said.

He did just that.

Wearing Hefty bags, the four contestants were restricted from using their hands.

Meece then stood up and plowed face first into his sizeable wedge. He was the first to devour his watermelon while claiming victory for the police.

Watermelon were free, as was the hot dogs, bottled water, popcorn, cotton candy, balloons, and face painting, with the event once again being held at the Ripon Community Park.

Don Rowe of the Calvary Reformed Church had a team of 30 cooking up some 2,000 hotdogs. Last year, he said 1,600 hotdogs was served up at NNO. “Everything was donated,” he said.

Rowe is also part of the Ripon Ministerial Association.

According to Dusty Hoekstra, this organization is made up of several churches in Ripon. He’s with the Almond Valley Christian Reform Church.

“It was three years ago when (the Ripon Ministerial Association) stepped in to help the City of Ripon with National Night Out,” Hoekstra said.

This NNO partnership is starting to work like a well-oiled machine. Donations, he added, were made a little bit easier this year, with police also chipping in with some of the funding.