FORT POLK, La. - The 209th Military Police Company, 519th Military Police Battalion, 1st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, overcame a false start to overpower five other teams and claim first place in the Fort Polk Intramural Sports Program's first truck pull competition April 6 at the post's Soldiers Athletic Complex.

The teams lined up for the first run shortly after the 6:30 a.m. Reveille and the 209th MPs were in the first heat. When given the word to begin, the MPs strained and struggled to move their assigned HMMWV. After a couple of minutes with no movement, Robert Smith, sports specialist for the intramural sports program, made a command decision.

"After careful review, it appears the HMMWVs are facing uphill, so we're going to move them to the other end of the 20-meter course and have the teams move them downhill," Smith said.

With that change, the event began again, this time with the teams able to pull their HMMWVs with much less difficulty. The 209th MPs, allowed a do-over, raced through the course in a time of 21.02 seconds, edging past the 51st Chemical Company, 83rd Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Battalion, who finished in 21.16 seconds.

The MPs' team captain, Sgt. Stephen Hueg, said the win was a true team effort.

"Everyone on our team works hard and does extra PT (physical training)," Hueg said. "They all have a good work ethic and enjoy competition."

Hueg said the event was easier than his team expected.

"We just leaned into it and pulled," he said.

When asked if there was any pressure for his team to defend its title at the next truck pull, Hueg smiled.

"We welcome the competition from anyone," he said.

Capt. Leah Wicks, the 209th MP company commander, said the team members were all volunteers.

"We were pretty confident going in to the contest," Wicks said. "We've got strong Soldiers on our side."

Wicks said friendly competition between units is a good morale booster.

"Competition is always a good thing," she said. "I'll enjoy bragging rights for the next couple of weeks, then there will be something else to come along and we'll see how we do."

Team members for the 209th MPs were Hueg, Pfc. Zach Stephens, Pvt. Ramon Acosta and Pvt. Tony Salazar. Acosta steered while Hueg, Stephens and Salazar pulled.

Sgt. Brian Root, captain of the 51st Chem team, credited a personal workout program for his team's success.

"We all participate in the GTL fitness program," Root said, tongue in cheek. "That's the Gym, Tan, Laundry program. We work out at the gym, work on our tan and then make sure our laundry is done.

"Obviously, we'll have to make some changes before the next competition."

Smith said the truck pull was selected as "something a little different" for Fort Polk Soldiers to do.

"We wanted something that was different and would test both strength and endurance," Smith said. "This did both and everyone seemed to enjoy it."