Here we go again… somehow the Cola Warrior post is always my most-popular, so of course I have to share a recap of the third annual Cola Warrior—a masochistic challenge dreamed up by my Marine older brother that involves running, obstacles, shooting, peeps (yes, those Easter marshmellow peeps) and coke in middle-of-nowhere Mississippi.
Again, it makes no sense to the untrained eye (you can read last year's recap here) but as my battle-hardened brother explained in his "final ceremonies" speech, "anyone can go out and shoot plates under a controlled situation—it's a true test of your ability to go out and shoot after being forced to undergo the most uncomfortable of situations." (or something like that - not a direct quote)
the see the full course, go here:
Now that you've had a little preview, let's talk about course specifics.
Similar to last year, Cola Warrior was a two-day affair but I only showed up on Saturday to witness in the activities. This year included a much larger crowd (including a waiting list!) and an unofficial poll of the attendees included the following states: Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Georgia, Virginia, Maryland, Missouri, California, Arizona, Nebraska, Texas, Arkansas... and some guy who flew in from Canada. The sponsors from last year were back, including the very generous company Geissele, who provided goodies for everyone who attended and ended up contributing something crazy like over $20,000 in prizes and swag.
This year the course was changed up a bit, including a few more physical challenges during the obstacle part and a lot more mud. The peep and coke requirements were the same and overall I'd say the course was similar or even a teeny bit harder compared to last year. Same as last year, there was a five minute penalty for every single obstacle messed up, peep gone un-eaten or cola not chugged.
First up: the hurdles. This year you didn't have to carry a weighted bag but it was an over-under-over-under deal, with six hurdles total.
You then had to run to the conex box, where this year you had to actually hang, instead of the hand-over-hand trick plenty of participants used last year (including myself). Lots of failures here.... you can bet that folks will be working on their pull-ups in anticipation of CW4.
From there was the upside walk, with the added difficulty of a box added to the middle of the plank that you had to walk up and over while still upside-down. But the worst part about the box in the middle is that if you put your hands in the wrong place, it would flip up and knock you off balance and you'd have to start all over.
The next one involved tossing a weighted bag over a set of shelves. According to sources, the bag was 60-70 pounds, but mostly it was just long and awkward to maneuver. There were several techniques to get the bag over but lots of knocked shelves and lots of 5-minute penalty.
This guy was much more successful:
From there, last year's rhino-push was replaced with a tire flip, followed by a drag back to the start. This made for some sweet photos with the "Cola Warrior" spray painted on the interior:
Finish the tire flip and you're done with the obstacles. You now get to eat a pack of peeps (yes, peeps) while disassembling and reassembling a beaten up AK. It's rusty and in poor shape - I attempted this obstacle and, unfamiliar with gun construction, it took me a few tries to get it back into place.
Of course, you're slamming peeps down your mouth and still huffing from the obstacles the entire time you're trying to reassemble the shoddy gun, which makes for an overall unpleasant experience.
What most people don't realize about eating peeps is that there's this fine dust coating the marshmellow peep. So in addition to having to chew through the peep itself, you have to be careful not to inhale and choke on the pink powder. Drinking water to wash 'em down helps (see above).
Most people set off on the half-mile course with peeps still coming out of their mouth. As the days ran on, the road got more and more TORN UP until the point that it resembled a slip-n-slide.
A few of the folks who ran the course returned to camp covered head to toe in mud from a fall on the slip n slide.
After the run, you have to collect yourself in order to hit 5 rifle and 5 pistol targets. Good thing is my brother is a great weapons instructor so (depending on how much he likes you), he'll coach you through it and provide pointers. PRO TIP: last year I forgot earplugs - NOT a good idea! Was flinching with each shot.
From there comes my very very least favorite part of the competition, and my downfall from last year. You have six cokes to drink, with a five-minute penalty for each coke you don't fully consume.
Some folks struggle to even get half of the 6, some manage most and then puke everywhere and some are just straight CHAMPS:
Last year I was a little more involved in the Cola Warrior proceedings but this year my favorite little troublemaker was there to entertain me/be entertained so I spend much of the afternoon chasing my niece around the property and making sure she didn't get too tipsy after she figured out how to work the tap on the keg:
And my favorite photo from the weekend, my brother and I with our matching/mirror-image scars. Between his incident last fall and mine this winter, my poor mom has more than her fair share of scares in the past 6-months.
Dear Mom, this is the year we'll both try not to get killed....
note: I borrowed a good number of these photos from the Cola Warrior forum - please let me know if you'd like to be credited for your photo or have your photo(s) removed. Thanks!