Courtesy of Camp Ripley Public Affairs Office
Soldiers and airmen from the National Guard met at Camp Ripley Jan. 25-26, to compete in the Camp Ripley Regional Biathlon Competition.
The biathlon, an Olympic competition, is an event consisting of cross-country skiing and marksmanship with a known distance. During the race, contestants must stop and fire their rifles while in the prone or standing positions. The rifles had to weigh at least 7.7 pounds, shoot a .22 caliber round and have iron sights. The most common rifle found in the biathlon was the Anschutz which is made in Ulm, Germany.
Guard members from 11 different states were in attendance including Minnesota.
The Minnesota team was represented by 10 members plus their coach, SSG Jonathan Ksepka. The team members included Maj. Paul Peterson; Chief Warrant Officer 3 Derek Lindberg, Chief Warrant Officer 2 James Greenwood, Sgt. 1st Class Dale Emslander, Sgt. 1st Class Reade Hanson, Staff Sgt. Tyler Bradley, Sgt. John Kurtz, Sgt. Angelica Leal, Spc. Justin Brickman and Spc. Ted Strauch.
On Jan. 25, the competition consisted of the “sprint” race which is 10 kilometers (km) for men, and 7.5 km for women and all competitors fire 10 rounds. On Jan. 26, the event was capped off with the “pursuit” portion of the competition. The pursuit starts competitors off 15 seconds apart and in the order they finished the sprint the day before. Men ski 12.5 km while women ski 10 km. All competitors fire from the prone position and from the standing position.
The team from North Dakota took home the first place trophy with leading times from 1st Lt. Blake Hillerson at 45:21 and TSgt. Danelle Card at 58:50.
Minnesota landed in second place with Maj. Paul Peterson with a time of 48:54, and Sgt. Angelica Leal at 1 hour, 11 minutes.
“The National Guard Bureau sponsored event is held at Camp Ripley every year,” said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Marie Festler. “The Camp Ripley Training Center is one of two primary National Guard race training sites for the biathlon, the other being Camp Ethan in Vermont.”
At the end of February, Camp Ripley will host the National Guard National Biathlon competition. The event is free and open to the public.