Taking the Hill one location at a time
Rachel Cobb, wife of 1st Lt. Micah Cobb, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, left, and Darlene Strumm, wife of Chief Warrant Officer 3 Heath Strumm, Hea... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

Teams ran, walked and ran again to Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation facilities March 16 in the spring version of Taking the Hill.

The free event introduced and showcased each facility to the participants during the Fort Riley version of the CBS television show "The Amazing Race."

Participants had to solve riddles, for example, they had to figure out where to go using the clue "Zipity do-da Zipid-eay my oh my what an adventurous day!" Once there, the facility staff offered challenges based on their location.

"It's kind of like the 'Amazing Race,' they will give them two options," said event coordinator Hope Jackson, special events, DFMWR. "One sounds easier but it might take a longer time. One may sound harder and doesn't take as long. Some facilities chose challenges that they feature. I know the Warrior Zone is big on gaming so they are featuring gaming options for them. Which is something you can do on a normal day."

Participants began at Warrior Zone where they were given the rules, clues and a map of the locations. Once they started, it was up to them where they went first and how they got there as long as they returned prior to the deadline.

"It depends on how they work their route," Jackson said. "The map shows the distance if you go from here up to auto all the way around to the library and back. It's about 6 miles. So that takes about three hours to complete on its own. We gave the library, Outdoor Rec and Parent Central more points, because we're covering more ground with less challenge opportunities than if people just stayed up on the hill and hit Robinson and the Warrior Zone."

The deadline to return was 1:45 p.m. with a 2 p.m. disqualification time, Jackson said.

"They have to be back by 1:45 p.m., every 5 minutes they are late they lose one point," she said. "So, if they don't get back by 2 p.m., which is the cutoff, then they will be disqualified."

The DFMWR facilities stepped up to help by opening their doors early or by planning for the extra guests, Jackson said, which surprised her.

"I didn't really think they would want to help out, especially to open up early, have people come in and dealing with their regular customers," she said.

Travis Engle, supervisory recreation specialist, Outdoor Adventure Park and Leisure Travel, DFMWR, said the event was a great way for people to learn where the facilities are and what they can do while there.

"It's great because it gets new people who may not have been here and don't know that Leisure Travel and Outdoor Adventure are co-located in one facility," he said. "They get to know that operation, they get to kind of see that operation. It's kind of an intro to this side of the house."

Race participants completed a name-the-capital-of-the-states challenge for Leisure Travel and had to complete the number one hole of the disc golf course.

"We are not going by the rules," Engle said. "It may be a par-5 but if you make it in 15 shots, hey congratulations you just tried disc golf. Maybe that gets them invested in that sport."

Other locations featured were; Post Library, Hobby Studio, SpareTime Interactive Entertainment, Auto Skills Center, the four gyms, Child and Youth Services, Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers and Army Community Services.

"I thought it was awesome, it's good exercise and (allows us) to figure out what's going on up on the hill," said Darlene Strumm, wife of Chief Warrant Officer 3 Heath Strumm, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 1st Infantry Division. "There is a lot of different places that a lot of people don't know about."

She and her team partner of Rachel Cobb, wife of 1st Lt. Micah Cobb, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Inf. Div., finished side-by-side with Chief Warrant Officer 3 Heath Strumm who ran the event solo.

He said the event was a great way to explore the options available to Fort Riley Soldiers and families.

"Everybody complains there is nothing to do on post, and when there actually is stuff they don't come out and do it," he said. "There are fun things to do. We did a very similar version of this at Fort Polk, (Louisiana), last year and it was fun. I said, 'don't complain there isn't something to do. You just have to get out and look for it.' Look at the advertisements on the wall when you go places. Get outside your comfort zone and do something besides get drunk and hangout in your barracks."

The two teams were the first to return and had mixed reactions to what events were their favorite and which challenged them.

They all agreed the video game challenge at Warrior Zone was hard because they are not gamers.

"Making the card (at Hobby Studio) was funny," Heath said. "There was bare minimum (standards) you had to meet and they were getting a good laugh at everybody's cards. You had to check the box, OK I wrote the word 'Hill.' OK, it has a pipe cleaner."

Darlene said her favorite was changing a baby's diaper while following the 12 recommended steps at CYS. With her daughter turning 21 in a couple of weeks she admitted it had been a while since she had to change one.

For Cobb, she liked how Long Fitness Center incorporated the outside to their challenges.

Final results, a combination of points from bonus questions, place finished and how many points earned while on the course, were not available, but early totals looked like two of the teams might have needed to settle it with a tie-breaker.