The Third Annual Fredericktown Blackcats Battalion Raider Challenge will be April 23 in Fredericktown.
Competitors from eight JROTC Raider teams throughout the state will be participating.
Two teams each from Missouri Military Academy, Ozark, and Waynesville, and one from Wentworth Military Academy will join the FHS Raider Team April 22 in the high school gymnasium, where they will spend the night.
Saturday they will wake up at 4:30 a.m. for a 5 a.m. instructional meeting. They will then convene at the high school track at 6 a.m., where the competitors will take part in the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT).
According to Blackcat Battalion Instructor, US Army 1st Sgt. (R) Brian Cofer, competitors will be assisted by 25 members from Southeast Missouri State University’s Show Me Gold National Guard Program.
The APFT includes sit-up, push-up, and running speed tests.
After that, the teams will have breakfast in the gym lobby.
The next event is the 5K Run. This year, the Raider Challenge 5K will coincide with a worldwide 5K (at 11 a.m. eastern time), which will mark the 100th anniversary of JROTC service in the United States. Students across the globe will run/walk/march on their nearby running course with a simultaneous start time. This is designed to allow the units to connect with one another and view the locations via social media.
The competing teams will take off on the local 5K, which starts at the FHS flagpole. After they embark on the run, any civilian is invited to run as well. The price for civilians to run in the event is $24, and includes a 100th anniversary commemorative T-shirt. Also, $5 of that $24 comes back to the Fredericktown JROTC program.
The 5K route continues down North Chamber Drive to Z Highway. Then it turns on to South Chamber and continues to Marvin. The route turns on to Marvin, taking it to the intersection with High Street. The competitors will then turn around and continue the same route back to FHS.
The Fredericktown Student Council will help mark the route and keep runners on the course.
The Raider Teams will then take a bus to the Fredericktown SRT site (off of South Chamber). There, they will compete in five events. Those are the Gauntlet, Biathalon, Cross Country Rescue, One-Rope, and Obstacle Course.
The host team will provide competitors with a military-style lunch, according to Cofer.
The last event is the “Ultimate Raider,” where each team will have its best person or persons compete in a run.
The trophy presentation is expected to take place at around 4 p.m.
FHS JROTC Battalion formed a Raider Team seven years ago. The Blackcat Raider Team is a special unit within the Battalion which strives to achieve and maintain a superior level of military preparedness. Members participate in a more rigorous set of physical fitness and training exercises. This specialized group of cadets must make the cut each year at tryouts. High school raider teams compete on the District, Regional and National levels.
Last year, Cofer said of his particpating cadets: “I want them all to have input and to have the opportunity to lead.”
Cofer added all of the Cadets who compete have several potential takeaways, including leadership, discipline, perseverance and team work. The cadets are responsible for the logistics in addition to a difficult training routine that sometimes begins before sunrise.
Local businesses and volunteers provided a wealth of support which produces this annual event. Cofer said the 2016 sponsors include: BNSF Railway, Cap America, Paul and Janet McFerron, Jon and Jo Daniel, Country Mart, Olympic Steakhouse, Donnie Owens, Liberty Tax, Ozark Federal, Dr. Kenneth Haas, Larry Merrill, Country Lane Florist and Gift Shoppe, Torrez Sanitation, Sargent Construction, Versa-Tech, New Era Bank, Gifford Lumber, Auto Plaza Ford, Madison Medical Center, BREC, Domino’s Pizza, Follis & Sons Funeral Home, Parkland Healthmart Pharmacy, Chuck’s Shortstop, IBS Print & Promo, Texas Roadhouse, Prairie Farms, and Little Debbies.
For more information about the event, contact 1st Sgt. Brian Coffer by phone at FHS 573-783-3422 or cellphone 573-561-4441 or by email at Brian.Coffer@fpsk12.org.