by Monica Mendoza
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — It was a brisk morning June 9 as about 30 archers stepped up to the line to take aim at five targets from 20 to 40 yards.
“Fire when ready,” shouted Staff Sgt. Christopher McDonald, 21st Civil Engineer Squadron and archery event organizer.
The swish of the arrows and the sound they made hitting the targets broke the silence as spectators watched the event next to the softball fields on Peterson Air Force Base.
An archery competition was just one of 26 events that brought out the inner competitor of Airmen and Department of Defense civilians across Peterson Air Force Base, which included the 21st Space Wing and all the base’s mission partners. The annual Sports Day was hosted by the 21st Force Support Squadron.
Maureen Boynton, of the 544th Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group, was a little rusty on her archery and cheered when her arrows hit the life-size antelope target.
“This is fun,” she said.
Over in Eagle Park, a party with food, music and games went on all day. About 70 bicyclists raced for 10 kilometers in a loop starting on Ent Avenue; tennis players fired aces at their opponents; and spectators oohed and awed as sprinters dashed down the track.
The 21st SW Safety Office had a little fun with their safety message too. They had folks wear “drunken goggles” – goggles with lenses that make a person see blurry and double – and ride a bike around some cones. Colorado Springs Police Department volunteer Robert Scott helped folks in and out of the “Seatbelt Convincer,” which allows riders to experience force up to five times their body weight similar to that of a 5-7 mph crash.
“They might think 6 miles per hour is nothing, but, once they feel the impact – 6 miles per hour is something,” said Mr. Scott, who has volunteered with the CSPD for 15 years.
The seatbelt machine was sponsored by the 21st SW Safety Office as part of the Critical Days of Summer safety campaign, which runs now to Labor Day weekend in September.
Later in the afternoon, teams tested their strength in a tug-of-war competition and enjoyed a free picnic and lots of give-aways. Some lucky folks went home with such prizes as three tandem hang gliding or paragliding flights valued at $175 each provided by U.S. Hang Gliding & Paragliding Association and tickets to U.S. Women’s Open at The Broadmoor, July 4-10 provided by TriWest.
“It was wonderful and we couldn’t have asked for a better day,” said Dan Schofield, 21st FSS deputy director.
At the end of the day, participants gathered at The Club for awards. Col. Stephen N. Whiting, 21st SW commander, inducted Maj. James Bales, 21st FSS orthopedic surgeon currently on staff at the U.S. Air Force Academy Hospital, into the wing’s “Ring of Fame” – a fitness center program recognizing outstanding wing athletes. Major Bales is U.S. Air Force Male Athlete of the Year for 2010 and is one of the military’s elite athletes who are part of the two-year U.S.A.F. World Class Athlete Program, which allows him to train for the 2012 Olympic Trials and Olympic Games. He will compete in Brazil this summer.
“What a great day,” Colonel Whiting, who played on the winning volleyball team, said at the awards presentation. He thanked the volunteers and event organizers and recognized squadron champs.