By Staff Sgt. Julius Delos Reyes
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
The 50th Civil Engineer Squadron’s Duck Commando Engineers clocked in at 25.89 seconds to grab 10th place during the 18th annual Coffin Race and Parade Saturday in Manitou Springs, Colo.
Dressed as the characters of the popular television show “Duck Dynasty,” the Duck Commando was one of the 54 teams featured in the annual autumn event. A record high of more than 8,000 spectators watched the race on Manitou Avenue.
“The race was for a good cause,” said Tech. Sgt. John Muehlhausen, 50 CES Infrastructure Section chief and Duck Commando team captain. “Proceeds go to a charitable organization and it’s a good race. It was just something to get us out of the base to participate as a team.”
The race and parade are in honor of Emma Crawford who, legend says, came to Manitou in search of the miracle mineral springs to find a cure for her tuberculosis; she died in 1891.
Before her death, she asked her fiancé to bury her on top of Red Mountain. A group of men carried her body to the top of the mountain where she was buried. However, years of stormy weather washed her remains down the side of the mountain. Hence, the story inspired the city of Manitou Springs to create the coffin racing event.
“We were all excited to be out there and race for Team Schriever,” said Muehlhausen. “We used the same coffin as last year but changed our theme. Last year, we were the Celtic Crypts. This year, we were inspired by Duck Dynasty. We put on camouflage and decorated our coffin with plastic ducks.”
Though the team didn’t beat their fourth place record last year, the members still had fun participating in the event.
“I think the coffin race was a good community event to get people involved and have some fun,” said Senior Airman Jennea Jenkins, 50 CES. “It was very interesting to see all the different costumes and coffins the groups made. It was a very fun and exciting event and I encourage everyone to attend next year.”
Though the event is still one year out, Muehlhausen and his team have already signed to participate.
“We are going to have two coffins; we will use the same coffin this year and build another faster and lighter coffin,” Muehlhausen said. “Also, we would like more people from Schriever to come out there and race. It’s a good community event that we could participate in and represent Team Schriever.”
The following are the members of the Duck Commandos:
Tech. Sgt. John Muehlhausen
Staff Sgt. Andrew Schlaupitz
Staff Sgt. Jared Saavedra
Staff Sgt. Cody Ott
Staff Sgt. Jon King
Senior Airman Jennea Jenkins
Senior Airman Joshua Manske