The inspiration behind Guns & Hoses holds special bond with a fi - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

The inspiration behind Guns & Hoses holds special bond with a fighter


This Saturday marks a major milestone for Guns and Hoses in Evansville.  

The annual boxing contest between local fire fighters and law enforcement hits its 10th year this weekend at The Ford Center.

Mickey Phernetton, the daughter of an Evansville Police officer, and fighter Rob Ralph with the Evansville Fire Department are well known to Guns & Hoses fans.

Separately, both couldn't be more different, but when you put these 2 in a room together, the laughs and hugs never stop.

At first glance, Rob Ralph can look intimidating. 

"Yah most guys are ball headed, tattoos and it's like oh my gosh look at the dude, he's scary looking," said Ralph.

He's no stranger to Guns and Hoses.

He and one other guy are the only 2 fighters that have competed in Guns and Hoses all 10 years.

"According to the guys at my station, they'll be wheeling me out in a wheelchair or with a walker for Guns & Hoses 23 or whatever," said Ralph.

Holding a 7 to 2 record, Rob has a set rhythm of how he preps for the big fight. 

"You've got 3 minutes to show what you've got, so it's a straight out sprint," said Ralph.

To some, you would think the prize is the victory or the charities the event give back to.

But for Rob, it goes much deeper than that.

10-year-friendship deep.

Mickey Phernetton is the inspiration behind Guns and Hoses.

Her father, Patrick, is an officer for the Evansville Police Department.

You would think she would be a guns fan, but Mickey chose a hotter path.

"She's definitely going to have a firetruck named after her someday," said Ralph.

Since day 1, Mickey has been Rob's biggest fan!

At the match, you'll always spot her sporting some kind of red.

Rob asked Mickey if she's going to wear something red to the game.

Mickey responded with, "I'll wear something. I'll surprise you!"

She refers Rob as, her big beautiful bean, after his nickname 'Butterbean'.

"This thing has done nothing but ruin my reputation but for Mick, anything. She''s great," said Ralph.

"He's my sweet big teddy bear," said Mickey.

"She's never disappointed me with the smile and the spirit and everything like that so for me not to decide not to fight- I wouldn't want to be the one to disappoint her," said Ralph.

Mickey said she'll never let Ralph retire.

But even if Rob decides to hang up the gloves, one thing is for certain, this friendship will never hear the bell ring. 

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