Several Fort Smith Police officials are about to playfully "take on" some former University of Arkansas Razorback athletes, and the interaction will be tense, fun and everything in between, said one official.

The second annual Fort Smith Boys Shelter Basketball Tournament: Fort Smith Police Department vs. University of Arkansas Razorback alumni fundraiser will be held from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday at Northside High School, 2301 N. B St., and the family friendly event will serve multiple purposes, said Eddie Donovan, executive director for the Fort Smith Boys Shelter.

"This is a great community event that we started last year, and I'm very proud of it," he said. "It's a good way for kids to see that the police are very good people."

"And the tournament raises money for the Fort Smith Boys Shelter," Donovan added. "The money raised from our event will go to support the shelter's day-to-day operations."

So far, eight teams have signed up to play, he said. The goal is to have 10 teams play from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., followed by the autograph session at 5 p.m. and the Fort Smith Police Department Vs. the Razorbacks alumni game to start at 6 p.m., Donovan said.

"Teams can call (479) 769-5624 to get signed up for this," he said. "We are hoping to get more teams and players involved."

The benefit also will include the Halftime Half-Court Shot, which will feature a $200 prize for the winner, Donovan said. A giveaway also will take place, and those attending will be able to enjoy concessions and a free autograph session with the Razorback alumni members and Fort Smith police, he said.

"People also will be able to have the chance to take photos with the former Razorbacks and the police," Donovan said. "They really like offering that, and that will be fun."

Many of the Razorback alumni members participating are former football players who played during former Razorback football coach Houston Nutt's tenure at UofA, he said.

"The players who have committed so far are probably in their mid-30s at the latest, and we would love to also get some young Razorbacks involved, too," Donovan said. "All of these guys who are playing for us have had good careers, and it's great they are doing this."

Donovan also praised the players from the Fort Smith Police Department, adding that they had "really strong" playing skills on the court.

"I'm a big sports fan, and I also appreciate what the Fort Smith Police Department does," he said. "I wanted to get them involved and have something where the community can all get together. We thought the tournament would be a good way to do that."

James Ball, social director for the Fort Smith Boys Shelter, agreed.

"Eddie brought it to my attention last year — it was his idea — and I think it's an exciting event," he said of the fundraiser. "It was great last year watching everyone laugh, and seeing the kids and parents who came out was great. Everyone laughed and had a good time.

"And the boys at the shelter got to watch them, too," Ball added. "I watched these Razorbacks when I was the kids' ages, when they played for Houston Nutt, so I was just as excited as the kids. It was great."

One of numerous United Way community partners in the area, the Fort Smith Boys Shelter currently has 12 boys as residents, Donovan said. Each year, the shelter averages as many as 80 boys who are 18 and younger. Some of the boys eventually become adopted or placed into the care of a grandparent or other responsible relative, Donovan said.

"The shelter touches a lot of lives here," he said. "And we're proud that Gerdau is our partner. They donate a lot of money and food to get things started, and Sam's Club, Glidewell Distributing and Western Sizzlin' have donated a lot to help with this. We're thankful to all of them."

About 1,500 people attended last year's basketball fundraiser, said Donovan, who hopes that 2,000 children and adults will show up for this year's event.

"We had a really good crowd last year, and I would love to thank Fort Smith Public Schools and Northside High School for letting us do this at the school," he said. "They have a wonderful facility at Northside, and we couldn't do this without them."

The competitiveness at last year's event could be felt by players and spectators alike, but it was a "fun" competitiveness, Donovan said.

"What was great was, since last year's event, the Fort Smith Police Department has a basketball team that plays in events throughout the community," he said. "We think that it's really special that they do that now."

Like Donovan, Ball also appreciates the community support for the shelter. Ball is hoping the basketball event raises $14,000 for the shelter.

"Each year, I meet people who don't know us and the shelter, so with us getting out there, it's making a difference every time," he said. "When I add an email address to our newsletter and when someone comes by the home to see us, that's one more person who knows about the Fort Smith Boys Shelter and these boys."