A charity dodgeball tournament ended with Kelly Walsh student Jace Palmer standing above a firefighter, knocked flat by a vicious undodged ball, waving goodbye to his foe.

Just in case you thought it was just a game.

The firefighter (who — like every other player on every team — was number 19) had just knocked out a KW kid via a line violation (somewhere, White Goodman shivered) when Palmer stepped up and gunned him down with one of the red balls. The firefighter might have trained to put out flames, but he simply couldn’t handle this heat.

Palmer, fresh off a state wrestling championship, bid the firefighter adieu with a flap of his hand. He led the tournament with 10 kills, eight dodges and four catches. (Note that these stats are entirely made up.)

The Kelly Walsh kids topped the field of eight teams — five squads of teachers, one of students, and one each of policemen and firefighters. The dodge squads took to a Kelly Walsh gym Friday night to raise money for Crest Hill Elementary. The goal was to raise $300, a target that kindergarten teacher Emily Murdock said was likely to be hit.

As were the Crest Hill teachers. Repeatedly. The school came away with fuller coffers for future projects, but its pride took a beating. None of the school’s four teams made it past the opening round. So Murdock organized a “consolation” bracket for the squads to play each other again.

The eventual champions, members of KW’s student councils, had to first beat the Dodge Darts, a Crest Hill teacher squad. After a strong start, the young guns found themselves down (although they did inadvertently smack a parent in the stands — a souvenir for the lucky fan). But the KW kids mounted a spirited comeback, eventually downing the last teacher with a laser to the shoulder.

The Kelly Walsh teachers’ team won next, with science teacher Trish Williams turning in a Hall of Fame performance, standing firm as the last one alive, catching one ball and bringing a teammate back in and turning the tide. A local reporter’s notes of that match are as follows:

“She has a cannon.”

“KW catches one!”


“Lady catches it. Comeback complete.”

The cops played another Crest Hill team next. It was not pretty. An officer who looked like he warmed up by tearing phonebooks in half got the match started by drilling a teacher from about 25 yards. The lack of preparation by the teachers was evident: As one asked the ref what the boundaries were, Strong Cop nearly took her head off.

The Crest Hill team (who dubbed themselves the Untouchables) ended up making it a match but ultimately fell to Casper’s Fittest, with a cannonball finding the last educator’s thigh.

The Kelly Walsh kids then knocked out the cops, and the fire department knocked out the KW teachers. (“Did you see that S-curve? I don’t understand physics!”) Williams again attempted to claw the Elder Trojans back in the game but was swiftly drilled in the face.

So the championship was set: firefighters versus KW kids. The Kelly Walsh teachers were clearly in the camp for their pupils. One quipped that half of the proceeds for the night would go to the fire department for squat racks, as it looked like the firefighters had been skipping leg day.

After Palmer’s cannonball knocked the final firefighter flat, the Kelly Walsh kids had found themselves in the pantheon of dodgers. It was an incredible achievement for a team that had never competed in the event before (since this was also the event’s first year).

Still, the action was apparently not sufficient for one parent, who sat in the font row calmly reading Harlan Coben’s 1990 classic “Play Dead,” a nonstop thrill ride about a supermodel and her missing NBA star husband.

Follow education reporter Seth Klamann on Twitter @SethKlamann


Education and Health Reporter

Seth Klamann joined the Star-Tribune in 2016 and covers education and health. A 2015 graduate of the University of Missouri and proud Kansas City native, Seth worked for newspapers in Milwaukee and Omaha before coming to Casper.

Load comments