By Scott Prater | Mountaineer staff
FORT CARSON, Colo. — Fort Carson is set to host one of the first spectator-friendly competitive events since the international pandemic shut down most activities last year.
The K9 competition, cohosted by the 69th Military Police Detachment (Military Working Dog), 759th MP Battalion; and the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), is slated to begin June 13, 2021, and will run through June 17, 2021, at multiple sites on the Mountain Post.
Military working dog teams from both units will compete against fellow military working dog teams from the 89th MP Brigade as well as K9 teams from local and state law enforcement agencies.
“We may also have teams associated with local Air Force units competing,” said Staff Sgt. Brandon Spears, kennel master, 69th MP Det. “We’ve got 30 slots, so we’ll be capable of accommodating 30 teams during the competition that will include five separate events.”
Teams that enter the event will work through detection, combat detection, obedience, an agility course and controlled-aggression lanes. Awards will be presented for winners in each category and an overall champion. All events will take place at Iron Horse Park, the 10th SFG(A) compound and at various ranges on the installation.
“After all this time, we know people have been itching to get out and experience something live and interesting,” Spears said. “We’ll set up Iron Horse Park, for instance, with events spaced out, so that will allow spectators to watch and visit with on-site sponsor vendors.”
Working dog teams under the 89th MP Brigade umbrella have already committed to compete. They’ll travel from the brigade’s home post of Fort Hood, Texas, as well as Fort Riley, Kansas; Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri; and Fort Bliss, Texas.
The idea for creating the competition stemmed from Lt. Col. Ranjini T. Danaraj, commander, 759th MP Bn., who made clear her desire to see a K9 competition early in her tenure at Fort Carson.
“From idea inception, we wanted to include the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) military working dog teams because they’ve partnered with us for the past 18 months, providing pre-deployment training for our teams that go overseas,” said Capt. Justin Scott, commander, 69th MP Det. “They bring a much more combat-focused direction to training, whereas we tend to skew toward the law enforcement side.”
K9 competition events will be centered around the skills military working dog and K9 teams must master in order to be effective in real-life scenarios, both combat-focused and law enforcement-focused.
“We’ll have some live shooting events, some shooting with simulation rounds, events with dogs at heel and some advanced obedience tasks,” Spears said.
Competitors will need to accomplish tasks that are vital for law enforcement and combat patrol work, demonstrate capabilities at apprehending suspects in a controlled manner and work through obstacles designed to test their agility.
While this competition could be a highlight of summer 2021 at the Mountain Post, MP leaders said it would also serve as a precursor to a much larger event planned for 2022, when they hope to draw as many as 80 teams to Fort Carson for an Armywide military working dog competition.
“If this competition is an overwhelming success, it will provide a proof-of-concept so that next year we can expand it,” Scott said. “(U.S. Army Forces Command) leaders have already expressed interest in sending out teams from all of the kennels in FORSCOM.”