2017-10-12 / Sports

It takes a true warrior to complete this challenge

Thousands raised for emergency responders at grueling fitness event
By MATT JOHNSON
Sports/Education Editor


From left, Mountain Fitness team members Jake Veilleux, Russ McBride and Josh Alsup flip a tire down the field at the Mariposa County Fairgrounds Gold Bowl. They were competing in the third annual Rudy Warrior Challenge. 
Photo by Matt Johnson From left, Mountain Fitness team members Jake Veilleux, Russ McBride and Josh Alsup flip a tire down the field at the Mariposa County Fairgrounds Gold Bowl. They were competing in the third annual Rudy Warrior Challenge. Photo by Matt Johnson Those who took part in the third annual Rudy Warrior Challenge on Saturday might have been crazy, because it’s certainly not easy, but nobody doubted their toughness.

The event was held at the Mariposa County Fairgrounds, and it required competitors to go through a grueling CrossFit-style regimen of exercises that tested their strength and cardiovascular levels in the fastest time.

Event organizer Josh Keheley summed it up by calling it “pretty brutal.”

“Physically, you’re done from the beginning,” Keheley said. “From halfway on, it’s 100 percent mental. Your body is already long done.”

“I would say it’s just as hard mentally as it is physically,” added Weston Carroll, who also helped organize the event. “Some people think they’re in good shape and can do it, but once they get uncomfortable, they want to quit.”

One competitor, Josh Alsup, said, “There are guys saying this was one of the hardest things they’ve ever done.”

Mid State SWAT won first place, followed by the Merced Police Department in second and a team of locals called Blue Steel rounding out the top three.

Teams of four competed against one another, with several challenge stations set up. Some of the exercises the competitors completed included burpees, kettle ball swings, bear crawls, buddy carries, lunges, tire flips, squat thrusters, running and a large climbing wall.

“To compete in something like that, it’s not anything I’m used to,” Alsup said. “I’m more on the weightlifting side. Coming into something like that for me was very tough. I don’t run a lot.”

“For a highly trained or well trained CrossFit-type athlete, I’d say it’s moderately difficult,” said event volunteer Mike Rollinson.

Rollinson also happens to be a CrossFit certified (Level 2) trainer.

“For the average guy that just goes to the gym a few days a week that lifts and maybe occasionally runs, it’s very difficult,” Rollinson said. “I heard a couple guys say this didn’t look that hard. ... I think a lot of guys found out the hard way.”

In total, 40 competitors took part and $4,505 was raised.

The funds raised from the competition will go toward the Public Safety Hardship Fund, which has been established to help any employee who serves the community, whether it be the Sheriff’s Office, CAL FIRE, County Fire, Mercy Medical and/or allied agencies, who find themselves in a time of loss or need.

“It’s cool because it makes it so we can help people quickly,” said Keheley. “Everybody likes to come together to support the cause.”

The event began in 2015 after Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Rudy Mirelez was shot in the line of duty. Mirelez survived and was in attendance on Saturday.

“It’s a great feeling that we started this Public Safety Hardship Fund and now, at the drop of a hat, we can help somebody,” Carroll said. “We don’t have to worry about where this money will come from.”

Keheley said he, along with Carroll, sees the event “absolutely” being an annual event from here on out.

“It’s one of those things where the week before you’re stressing out and pulling your hair out,” Keheley said. “But once we’re sitting there afterwards, we’re bouncing ideas off on how to make it better next year. ... It’ll definitely be around for a while.”

Matt Johnson is Sports and Education Editor of the Mariposa Gazette and can be reached at matt@mariposagazette.com.

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