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Rodeo participants start event with fitness-minded competition

Airmen from the 62nd Airlift Wing perform sit-ups Saturday during the Fit-to-Fight portion of Air Mobility Command's Rodeo 2007.

Airmen from the 62nd Airlift Wing perform sit-ups Saturday during the Fit-to-Fight portion of Air Mobility Command's Rodeo 2007.

Belgian air force adjutant Bernard Gilson waits at the entrance of the fitness competition.

Belgian air force adjutant Bernard Gilson waits at the entrance of the fitness competition.

MCCHORD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- Air Mobility Command Rodeo 2007 competitors got an up-closeand- physical introduction to the event Saturday as the teams competed in the Fit-to-Fight competition. 

The event ran smoothly and no one suffered serious injuries, said Fit-to-Fight coordinator Patrick Conway, 62nd Medical Operations Squadron. 

"A few people got sick because they ran so hard, but overall people were pretty happy with [their performances]," Mr. Conway said. 

The overcast weather and proper hydration played a big role in everyone avoiding serious injuries, he said. 

There were some initial concerns that there would be bottlenecking at portions of the running course due to the fact so many teams were participating, but it never materialized, Mr. Conway said. 

"I think the international teams really liked it," Mr. Conway said. 

Each Fit-to-Fight 10-person team was selected by Rodeo officials at random to participate in the competition. McChord's 62nd Maintenance Group team member Tech. Sgt. Ron Robinette said he was excited about participating once he found out he'd been selected. 

"One of the first things we did three months ago was start training for the Fit-to-Fight competition so that we'd be ready if we were picked," Sergeant Robinette said. "I wanted my name to be on that list." 

The 62nd MXG team got a little extra motivation during the pushup and sit-up portion of the competition because a team of Marines was competing on the other side of the canopy, he said. 

"You could hear them yelling at their guys, and we were yelling at our guys, so it definitely added some extra motivation to everything," Sergeant Robinette said. The team dug deep to finish strong because of the extra attention brought on by being the host base, he said. It helped push each member of the 62nd MXG team to improve their run times by nearly a minute, Sergeant Robinette said. 

"I wanted to run as fast as I could to represent for McChord," Sergeant Robinette said. 

For Staff Sgt. Clayton Greenwell, a member of the 62nd Security Forces Squadron team, the Fit-to-Fight competition was finally a chance to compete against opponents outside of their own ranks, as they had during training. 

"It makes you hungrier when you see those other teams out there," Sergeant Greenwell said. 

In fact, Sergeant Greenwell said he had to pace himself out of the gate because the adrenaline and excitement gave him such a big boost. 

"All the training made everything easier and helped build my endurance," he said. "But when I was done, I was beat. I ran as hard as I could."