We are facing the late afternoon sky as we pan down to see the back of someone indistinguishable from the distance walking to a 1970s red Ford truck. Cut to truck’s interior, close-up on keys in ignition starts the truck. Next, closeup of a football, the 50th anniversary Guns & Hoses football. We hear the truck go into gear and we back outside of the truck watching the truck pull away from us, a low angle closeup on a custom license plate “OLTMR.” As the truck maneuvers through Sacramento we see landmarks along the way: golden bridge, ziggurat, capitol, and others. We pass fire and police stations, and first responders. During this drive following the red truck through Sacramento we her a familiar voice, Mike Rowe talking about the start of a football game that took place almost 50 years ago. While we listen to Mike say “In Sacramento, California at Hughes Stadium on January 11th, 1975 an innocent scrimmage between the police and sheriff departments turned into a charity fundraising event now spanning 50 years dedicated to helping forgotten first responders and their families. This charity has helped over 75 different charities and raised close to $1.6 million dollars while strengthening its community. Some say that the 50th will be the final year of this charity game; others argue it’s just the beginning of the next 50 years. Follow us on the journey though the past of the Sacramento Pig Bowl and its transition into Sacramento’s Guns-n-Hoses. This game is the longest running non-profit public safety charity football game in the United States.” As Mike Rowe speaks the red truck pulls into Hughes Stadium by the field. The truck stops and the person exits and walks towards the 50 yard line. We begin to see that the person is wearing a jacket with the number 01 and the name CHAPMAN above the number.
The song “Pig Bowl Jubilee” fills the air. As this person approaches the 50 yard line we hear the voice of Gene Chapman: “there’s no losers in this game, charity always wins”. Overhead, we see the 50 yard line as the person puts down the football on the field, cuing the film’s title: “CHARITY ALWAYS WINS”. The screen blurs, fades into the beginning of a re-enactment. During the reenactment, Mike Rowe narrates as pictures unfold of the very first game between police and sheriffs. These words begin to intertwine with identical or very similar statements made by those interviewed. The next 20-30 minutes covers engaging interviews, interweaving visuals of the past and its connected stories with pictures/video/film of past games. We learn the game’s history and stories behind the charities the Pig Bowl Association has helped.
For the next 20-30 minutes we are jolted with the possibility the game may not continue and then fire intervenes to save it, changing its name to Sacramento Guns-n-Hoses. Mike Rowe narrates: “By 2003, the Sacramento Pig Bowl had run for 29 years and was faced with its demise, that’s when the bond between first responders was ignited. Learn how the transition from “Pig Bowl” to “Guns & Hoses” originated, its significance in the story, and the relationship between police/sheriff and fire. It’s important to highlight how this game helps the relationship between the different departments.” Prominent community, from commanding officers to celebrities to politicians voice how important this game is for Sacramento’s communities and across the US. We discuss the importance of first responders and illuminate how the funds raised are donated to those who need it the most.
We follow the first responders to Washington DC for the CAP-to-CAP meetings to see how fire and police work together to help their communities from the highest levels.
For the duration of the film we will ask questions to our interviewees that will cause doubt in the viewers mind if the game will continue by either all of the circumstances that have already happened to the game including Covid. We hear Mike Rowe state some of the stats from Covid and he sets up the scenes for haw the organization navigated the covid situation. Will Covid keep the game from ever happening again; more importantly not being able to raise money to support our fallen heroes? We will show 2021 game and how the organization navigated the Covid situation to keep the game alive. As we go though the Guns-n-hoses years we check into the organizers of the game for 2023 and ask the question, will the game happen on its intended date at its intended location. During these checkins it’s anticipated that there will be a lengthly discussion about how the game will be handled. As we come to a close the viewer will be immersed in the amount of time and energy that goes into a game that raises money for charity and how dedicated those are around the game that keep the ball going down the field. We also discuss how it was the players idea to eventually put stickers on their helmets representing fallen hero’s.
In the final 10 minutes we will show 2023’s game, actual footage highlights, and reveal the victor. Additionally, we show overall wins/loses standings through the years and amount of money raised for the 2023 game. Final segment is 2024’s game highlights and reveal massive money raised for charity in the game’s 50th year anniversary. We leave the viewer with the inspiration to get involved to ensure the 51st Pig Bowl – “Guns & Hoses” charity game is a success, becoming the leading charitable game in the world. This will all be captured film style and intercut with actual footage of the 50th Guns’n-Hoses game. At the end of the field beyond the goalposts we see the red truck from the opening segment. We pan down from the scoreboard to the red truck and see the person who looks like Chapman get into the truck and pull out of the field. It’s close to sunset as we follow the red truck from different vantage points, as Mike Rowe says: “I believe Mr. Chapman was right when he said “ Nobody loses in this game, charity always wins.” We are better when we work together as it has an affect on countless others, so maybe it’s time we all did some good and offer help in whatever way we can. This reminds me of a Bible verse, Acts 20:35 “In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”
As we fade to black we bring up the game’s statistics, amount raised for charity, years running revealing amount raised over 50 years of the game (over $2 million mark). The current goal is to send them to the film’s website and the game to help support. As credits roll we put the credits on the right 2/3 and on the left 1/3 names and/or images of all fallen heroes, memorializing them. At the end of credits: names of all players, coaches, and volunteers over the years, website address to the organization for people to help and learn more.
The documentary’s mission is to chronicle the contributions that firefighters and cops have made in their personal time for nearly a half century. As the game evolved, so did society, and as such the documentary highlights the human spirit of connection, resolve, and a steadfast dedication to preserving a communal engagement. Fiscally, the documentary intends to drive awareness and financial resources to the plethora of charities with which the annual football game supported.