FORT HOOD, Texas - For the first time in over a year, the Fort Hood Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation hosted an in-person event April 17: the Strongest Competition.
Thirteen participants came out to Hood Stadium to test their strength in four challenges: the Log Clean, Dead Lift, Atlas Stones and Vehicle Pull.
“It was amazing,” Toni Kornegay, recreation specialist for DFMWR, said about having an in-person competition. “(I) Loved the energy and the excitement of those participating.”
Capt. Richard Rainey, 4th Battalion, 3rd Security Force Assistance Brigade, who was one of the two men in the male super heavyweight category, came out to participate with his peers and admitted that pulling the 8,500-pound Ford F-650 was the most challenging for him.
“I didn’t know they made F-650’s,” he said laughing. “It was a difficult pull, but it was a lot of fun to have the team there with me.”
He believes it’s good for Soldiers to participate in competitions like this together because it is a great way to be competitive and a great use of their time.
“This is what we do, we compete, we work as teams,” he said. “If you get a couple of your buddies to come out here on a Saturday it’ll be a lot better use of your time. It’s physical fitness, teamwork, (and) it’s competition.”
This year, DFMWR had real atlas stones that ranged from 95 to 240 pounds. It was Kornegay’s favorite event to watch.
“It showed real strength and determination to get that stone over the bar,” she said. “The Super Heavyweight Alex Brown was throwing it over like it was a plastic beach ball.”
Sgt. 1st Class Latoya Greene, 3rd Cavalry Regiment, was the winner of the female heavyweight category. She wore a special shirt to honor her peers who have passed, and one in particular, who had passed away recently.
“I did this for my 'LT' (lieutenant), who committed suicide last Friday," she said. "The last thing we talked about before she passed, was me doing this competition."
Greene pulled the dually, a 5,600-pound truck, in the vehicle pull event, willing herself to make it the full distance. She said she was motivated by the cheers from the crowd there, and the deeper purpose she had for competing that day.
“I knew who I had on my shirt, and that’s the only way I made it,” she said. “It meant a lot for me doing that for her.”
Greene likes these types of events for the camaraderie they provide from, not only people they know, but others as well.
“It brings out the camaraderie, even though I did it for my LT, but just having everybody out here from different units, different organizations cheering for you to keep going it just makes the camaraderie a lot better,” she said. “Even if you don’t think you can do it, when people are cheering you on, it gives you that extra motivation because everybody is watching you.”