UPDATE: The fundraising final results were tallied. Mayor Kabat finished at $110.88 versus Mayor Chilsen who was able to collect $79.35.
Some friendly competition for a good cause took place on Tuesday. The Mayors of La Crosse and Onalaska donned the red aprons and rang bells for the Salvation Army. It marks the second year for the battle of the mayors.
"Whoever loses has to buy lunch!" Mayor Chilsen said.
"I got a different location now, so I'm not on my home turf," said Mayor Kabat
It's a friendly competition raising money for the Salvation Army's Red Kettle Campaign, one of the largest portions of their yearly budget.
"[The Salvation Army] takes care of some of our most vulnerable citizens," said Mayor Chilsen. "We would be less of a city without them."
"Just what it does to give back, I think is a good thing to do," said Mayor Kabat. "I know both Mayor Joe and myself really look forward to doing this every year, and the fact that we can kinda go head to head makes it all that more fun."
This year is a rematch. Mayor Kabat won last year, but Mayor Chilsen wants to even the score.
"Mayor Joe's gotta take it up a notch!" Kabat said.
"I need to beat him this year, because if he goes two-up on me, that's bad," said Chilsen.
Aside from the nature of a fun rivalry, both mayors say the success of the Salvation Army depends on the kindness of community members and inspiring active participation.
"We hope that leading by example, other people will come on out and volunteer and donate. Everybody wins then," Chilsen said.
"It's not a spectator sport so to speak, right?" said Kabat. "If you want to have a great community, you've got to get engaged, and this is just one small way to do that."
No matter who wins, they say the real winner is the Salvation Army, and those who depend on their services.
Mayor Kabat rang bells at the Village Festival Foods in La Crosse from 10 to noon while Mayor Chilsen did his fund raising at the Onalaska Festival from noon to 2. The Red Kettle Campaign traces its roots to 1891 in San Francisco. Today, it provides a major portion of the Salvation Army's budget.
The fundraising final results were tallied. Mayor Kabat finished at $110.88 versus Mayor Chilsen who was able to collect $79.35.