Connie Carpenter | Fort Leavenworth Outdoor Adventure Series
Orienteers took advantage of cool temperatures and a short respite from spring rains to participate in the spring Bing-O Orienteer Meet April 1.
The meet used a bingo theme where each racer or team received a bingo card containing various navigational control numbers. Unlike a pre-planned course where racers have days to develop their race strategy, racers were unaware of their course’s distance and technical level until they received their individual bingo card at race start.
With 30 random controls scattered throughout the installation’s urban landscape, no single card had the same numbering, configuration or technical skill level. For a few unlucky racers, their bingo patterns demanded long distance captures accompanied by increasing levels of technical skills. Groans and glee were heard around the registration table as racers highlighted their maps with card numbers and plotted their route choice.
The orienteer meet offered a staggered start format where racers entered the race course between 8-9:30 a.m.
The most advanced bingo pattern was the coverall where racers elected to capture 24 controls filling their entire card. The capture required approximately seven to 10 miles of trekking over mud-caked lowlands, light vegetation and urban landscapes.
Five solo racers and one family team set out to score the coveted coverall bingo. Solo competitor Mike Eglinski set a brisk pace as he trudged through mud and puddles and sprinted between buildings and landmarks covering his card in one hour, 26 minutes.
Family team Venton Vipers — Rob, Tiffany, Loren, Ethan and Peyton Venton — selected two bingo cards seeking to achieve multiple coveralls. To assist younger family members in trekking the longer distance, Rob and Tiffany rotated their younger children on the family’s cross-country stroller. Two hours and seven miles later, team Venton Vipers crossed the finish line capturing 26 controls.
Sixteen family teams and three solo racers sought to complete intermediate courses consisting of border box and x-shape bingo patterns.
Team Van Laar 2.0 — Debbie, David and Jake Van Laar — captured the top border box of 16 squares and four bonus controls in 3:39.
Team Hilburgh — Adam, Kay, Anna, Sarah and Mason Hilburgh — rotated navigational responsibilities among the younger members with each sibling orienteering to a different marker location. Hilburgh’s strategy resulted in a top place finish on the x-shaped pattern with team members grabbing nine markers and three bonus controls in 1:19.
More adventure series event information can be found at FTLVAdventure.com or (913) 683-5634.