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Blue Collar Boxing

What a night! Thanks to countless supporters, our first Blue Collar Boxing event was an absolute knock out.

An Idea Was Born


When Mike McDonnell, President of the Omaha Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, first came to our CEO and President, Shawna Forsberg, with the idea for Blue Collar Boxing, she didn’t know quite what to think. Boxing? That was a little bit out of the United Way wheelhouse, so to speak.

But Mike’s enthusiasm was contagious. And, if the event was a success, it would benefit countless people in the community. So, with that in mind, Shawna agreed – United Way of the Midlands would partner with the AFL-CIO to host the first EVER Blue Collar Boxing event at the Baxter Arena. The event would feature match-ups between local labor union members, and the proceeds would benefit United Way of the Midlands and the Nebraska Center for Workforce Development and Education.

Training Begins


There were plenty of local labor union members that were up for the challenge! Individuals from eight different labor unions signed up to participate and began training for the big night.


  • IAFF Local 385
  • IATSE 42
  • IBEW 22
  • IBEW 1521
  • Insulators & Allied Workers Local 39
  • Ironworkers 21
  • Sheet Metal Workers Local 3
  • Plumbers 16

A Fight to Remember


The morning of November 27th dawned, and the official fighter match-ups were decided. When the doors to the arena opened at 6 p.m., spectators began pouring in. Everyone was excited to support their favorite fighters… and the teams to which they had been assigned.

After a rousing performance of the Star Spangled Banner by the Papillion La Vista South High School choir and the presentation of the colors by their honor guard, the fights commenced.

Team Red

  • Jason Paczkowski, Ironworkers 21
  • Connor Kirts, IATSE 42
  • Shawn Jennings, Ironworkers 21
  • Jake Julian, Plumbers 16
  • Jerami Rodriguez, Plumbers 16
  • Dustin Hiner, IBEW 1521
  • Joe Broich, Ironworkers 21
  • Matt Dragon, Plumbers 16
  • Dan Levy, Sheet Metal Workers Local 3
  • Ryan Washington, Ironworkers 21

Team Blue

  • Tony Dehart, Insulators & Allied Workers Local 39
  • Dillon Smith, IBEW 22
  • Dustin Lafferty, IBEW 22
  • Mike Plunkett, Insulators and Allied Workers Local 39
  • Joe Sharp, IBEW 22
  • Dan Rocha, IBEW 22
  • Dillon Uebel, IBEW 22
  • Tom Pulte, IAFF Local 385
  • Dan Dizona, Insulators and Allied Workers Local 39
  • Ben Novak, IBEW 22

At the end of the night, the points were tallied up, and Team Blue was announced as the champion!

But The Real Winner? Our Community!

Thanks to everyone who came out to the event as well as our wonderful sponsors, Blue Collar Boxing raised $250,000 for our community! The proceeds will be divided between United Way of the Midlands and the Nebraska Center for Workforce Development and Education, empowering them to help thousands of people in need and provide job training, job placements, and more.

Special Thanks to Our Sponsors


An event of this size doesn’t happen without the support of numerous businesses and individuals. So many people stepped up and said they were willing to stand in our corner, and we are so grateful for their support!

Title Sponsor:


Gold Sponsor:


Bronze Sponsors:

Steamfitters and Plumbers Local 464, Mechanical Contractors Association of Omaha, Plumbers 16

Ring Sponsors:

Baxter Auto, Battle, NP Dodge, Smith Kroeger

Weigh-in, Pre & Post Party Sponsors:

Building Omaha, Stocks N Bonds

Media Sponsors:

1620 The Zone, The Keg 101.9, Lamar

Save The Date

The second annual Blue Collar Boxing event will take place on November 25, 2020


Interested in sponsoring next year’s event? Click “Sponsor” to send us a note today.

Interested in fighting? Sign up today by clicking “Sign Up to Fight.” **Must be a union representative to participate.

SponsorSign up to Fight

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