Carrying packs and M-16 training rifles, Army ROTC students from Utah colleges competed with each other and their own physical limits in the "Ranger Challenge" Saturday at Fort Douglas.
The nine-member teams competed in four events, including a grenade toss, running across a 120-foot rope bridge, putting together a rifle and a machine gun from a box of parts in about two minutes, and a 10K run in full battle dress."It brings out the leadership, to take it out of the gut and win," said Capt. Ed Guisbert, University of Utah.
Teams from the U., Brigham Young University, Utah State University, Southern Utah State College and Weber State College competed, with USU winning, BYU taking second and the U. third place. The first two teams will go on to regional meets in Washington.
"I wouldn't have made it without these guys," said BYU cadet Rick Springsteen. Throughout the 10K run that looped over the hills around Fort Douglas and behind the campus, tired cadets carried rifles and packs for each other to improve their teams' finishing time.
"The hardest part was going over the `U', it was so steep," said BYU cadet Anthony Bohn.
"The feelings are good after it's over,"said WSC cadet Tami Redfern. The only female Ranger at the event, she said she has the support of her male teammates in the program, and the extra challenge of "keeping up with the guys."
Teamwork is one of the best lessons for cadets in the Ranger program, said Maj. Brian O'Conner, because "you're only as strong as your weakest member." "When you keep on going when you feel like quitting, that's when you really know who you are," said Springsteen.
Feeling like quitting would be understandable considering the work load for many ROTC cadets. Many students work part- or full-time, and the ROTC classes are added on to their regular class load. The Ranger program is an extra-curricular activity within ROTC. "These students sacrifice a lot", said Guisbert.
The Ranger Challenge started in Utah in 1982 when ROTC students at the University of Utah and Brigham Young University carried the traditional football rivalry to military skills. The Army thought it was such a good idea it was expanded into area, regional and national competition, said O'Conner.