Area firefighters and law enforcement officers will play basketball to raise money for the Boonville R-1 School District's special education department and the MU Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders in Columbia.

It’s blue vs. red on the Boonville High School hardwood this Saturday, as law enforcement take on firefighters in a charity basketball game.

For the second year, the SuperFinn Autism Foundation is hosting the Guns & Hoses basketball game. This year, proceeds will go toward the Boonville R-1 School District’s special education department and the MU Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders in Columbia.

SuperFinn

Jordan and Emily Shikles started the foundation after their son, Finn, was diagnosed with autism when he was one-and-one-half years old. Jordan said “SuperFinn” is a nickname his father, Chris, gave to Finn, and it stuck. The Shikles started making SuperFinn t-shirts, which Jordan said “sold like crazy.” Along with the support of the Boonville community, people from as far as Maine and California bought shirts, he said.

The Shikles wanted to give back to the people who had done so much for them when Finn was diagnosed with autism. The Thompson Center and First Steps were a major part of that.

The Thompson Center is where Finn was diagnosed and often goes for treatment, Jordan Shikles said. First Steps provides treatment in Boonville, with therapists who make house calls. The Shikles donated almost $10,000 from t-shirt sales and last year’s game to the two groups.

The Thompson Center offers more than just treatment, Jordan said. Around Christmas, the center brought in Santa Clause. At most places, you only get a short moment with Santa after waiting in a long line. At the Thompson Center, children with neurodevelopmental disorders and their siblings got 15 minutes with Santa, Jordan said.

For a child with autism, it can take some extra time to adjust to a new situation. By giving the children 15 minutes, the center allowed them to get more comfortable.

Jordan Shikles said the family wants to give to the center in Finn’s name, because they want to be a part of what it is doing for the children and their families.

“They do amazing things,” he said.

Giving to the Boonville schools’ special education was also an easy decision for the Shikles, because their children will be going to Boonville schools. Jordan said they want to make sure the schools have the best of the best for their students with special needs.

Play ball

A basketball charity game was a natural step for the Shickles family. Jordan played basketball for Boonville High School. His father, Chris, is the athletic director and was the basketball coach.

Jordan is a deputy sheriff with the Cooper County Sheriff’s Department. Teaming up with fellow law enforcement officers to take on fire protection just made sense. Plus, it was a way to step up the friendly rivalry between the two groups of emergency responders, Jordan said.

The blue team’s roster includes officers from the Boonville Police, Sedalia Police and Cooper County Sheriff’s Department and the Missouri State Highway Patrol. The red team features firefighters from the Boonville and Blackwater fire departments, and the Cooper County Fire Protection District.

In the first game last year, the red team held off a comeback attempt from the blue team to come away with the victory, Shikles said. He admitted the blue team got some help when some of the firefighters had to leave during the game to respond to a call.

This year’s game will start at 6 p.m. on Saturday in the Boonville High School gym, and there’s a $5 entrance fee. There will also be a silent auction, including several items donated by local businesses and a shotgun, Jordan said.

There will also be concessions, including pulled pork. The Mizzou Golden Girls will be performing at halftime. The game will be broadcast on KWRT and live-streamed online.

Forecasts on Wednesday show a possibility of snow Friday night and Saturday morning. If the weather gets too bad, the game could be postponed to Feb. 2, Jordan said.

bcrowley@gatehousemedia.com