• Adventure racers fan out over post

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  • Connie Carpenter | Fort Leavenworth Outdoor Adventure Series
    Fifteen teams and six solo racers sought a morning of outdoor adventure by competing in Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation’s version of an “Amazing Race” May 12.
    The Lewis and Clark Adventure Challenge consisted of six different sections where solos, two-person teams and family teams plied their skills in trekking, paddling, shooting, navigating, biking and managing teamwork while capturing 25-34 controls scattered over Main Post and the wetlands. The race consisted of two distances — a 34-control olympic course and 25-control sprint and orienteering challenge. Racers also had the opportunity to gain bonus points.
    The event offered a twist with a staggered start. Racers were given the option to start the course anytime between 8 and 9:30 a.m. The staggered start allowed for rain and thunder clouds to clear the Leavenworth area and provided racers additional planning time. The twist also added to racers’ decision-making processes as the participants were unsure of each other’s strategy, route choice or capture plan.
    Most participants chose to compete in the sprint and orienteer challenge with 10 family teams, four two-person teams, and four solos navigating the course. With 87 percent of the teams never having competed in an adventure race, the registration area was filled with excitement and curiosity as race staff answered questions and familiarized teams with clue sheets and navigational flags.
    The orienteer challenge consisted of urban terrain, historical landmarks and assorted vegetation. Team Ryberg — Deanna, Shery, Joysen, Jayden, Jayce and Dennay Ryberg — developed a winning strategy where team captain Deanna divided responsibilities among members when navigating, locating a hidden cache and completing the “fun with farm animals” memory challenge.
    The memory challenge featured alternating rows of small, plastic farm animal figurines. Racers had to memorize both the type of farm animal and the placement of the six or seven animals in the row, scamper back to the start table and reconstruct the row using pictures. Teamwork proved the key as often family teams assigned an animal to each young and old member. As the team re-huddled back at the start table, each member placed their animal’s photo in the proper row.
    Team Ryberg’s management strategy resulted in a winning combination as the team topped the family team orienteer challenge leader board capturing 24 controls in two hours, 12 minutes. Master orienteer and solo Reta Roe led the orienteering challenge division securing 26 controls in 3:45.
    Route choice also played a factor in the canoe section as teams and solos paddled a lap around Smith Lake. For some, the lake’s fountain spray served as an opportunity to douse the entire family with cool water. Squeals and laughter were heard as Team Destroyers — Nick, Kelly, Lexi and Gideon Roukas — rounded the mid-lake fountain and dad Nick guided the canoe under the spray.
    Page 2 of 2 - The event’s shooting section also brought shouts of joy as well as groans as racers shot paintballs at Halloween decorations flying in the breeze. Racers young and old hit targets, tree leaves and dirt piles while seeking to knock down five targets.
    At first, Elaine Scott, of Team Scott, encountered difficulties while husband Chris Scott mowed down targets with ease. However, after a few minutes, Elaine channeled her inner warrior spirit and proceeded to knock down several ghostly creatures. Team Scott captured 27 controls in 2:44.
    Team Love, Bryant and Nikki Love, cruised to victory topping the sprint division scoring 27 controls in 2:37.
    Family Team Matiskella — Keith, Finn and Paty Matiskella, led their division clearing the course in 2:37.
    In addition to the event’s six sections, the olympic course contained a second trek where racers navigated to the far eastern portions of the post’s wetlands. The section tested the racers’ abilities to read lowland terrain features and to determine the shortest route in between control points. In all, the olympic course contained 34 navigation markers stretched over 20 miles of terrain.
    Fritz Menninger topped the leader board capturing 34 controls in 3:46.
    Sandy Beverly placed second securing 31 controls in 2:44.
    More adventure series event information can be found at FTLVAdventure.com or (913) 683-5634.
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