Adaptive adventure sports teams vie for win near Fruita | PostIndependent.com

Adaptive adventure sports teams vie for win near Fruita

Caitlin Row
crow@gjfreepress.com
Rafting on the Colorado River was one component of Adventure TEAM Challenge last year, which moved to Rabbit Valley from the mountains in 2012. This year's Challenge will return to the Grand Valley this weekend.
Submitted photo |

To test physical limits with an emphasis on partnership, the seventh annual Adventure TEAM Challenge returns to Rabbit Valley (near Fruita) for the second year, with up to 10 adaptive sports teams vying for a win. The competition will run from Friday through Sunday, Sept. 13-15, with teams arriving in Grand Junction on Thursday. Main stages of the event will run Saturday and Sunday.

“I find the teamwork that emerges in this event is what makes it so special,” World T.E.A.M. Sports Chief Operating Officer Van Brinson said. “Watching the teams work together to utilize each other’s strengths is amazing. I also think that bonding and employing that teamwork is the hardest thing about the event.”

Teams are made up of both Colorado athletes and participants from out of state, World T.E.A.M. Sports Director of Communications Richard Rhinehart said. And each team consists of five people, three able-bodies and two disabled (one must be in a wheel chair).

“We had a great experience last year,”Rhinehart said. “Everyone finished safely. That’s why we are coming back for another year.”

This year’s course will definitely be kept secret before the event starts, Rhinehart added, and courses vary from year to year to challenge event participants.

Vail’s own adventure sports athlete Billy Mattison designed this year’s course at McInnis Canyons NCA.

“Event organizers keep routes and activities secret even from headquarters staff so there is an element of surprise for competing teams.”

Activities may include mountain biking, river rafting, hiking and rock work.

“Sometimes they put in zip lines,” Rhinehart said.

Last year, the Denver-based Lumber Liquidators won the Adventure TEAM Challenge for the fourth year in a row. Rhinehart said that this year they’ll sit out of competition to give another team a chance to take gold.

Teams to watch include the Berserkers from Boulder and the Special Operations Bionic Warriors (a team made of veterans who served in special operations). Every member of the special operations team is “exceptionally fit” and has some type of disability, Rhinehart said.

“Since the inaugural challenge in 2007, disabilities of participating athletes have ranged from individuals who are missing limbs to veterans with PTSD and traumatic brain injury to blind and quadriplegic athletes,” a World T.E.A.M. Sports press release noted.

For more information, visit http://www.WorldTEAMSports.org.


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