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Camp Ripley hosts Central Region Biathlon

National Guard athletes from the upper Midwest will compete in the Regional National Guard Bureau Biathlon Competition Feb. 7-8 at Camp Ripley.

Soldiers and airmen of the Central Region consisting of North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa and Ohio will compete at the Minnesota National Guard Biathlon Range on Camp Ripley.

“The Biathlon is a cross-country skiing and shooting competition in which competitors ski as fast as possible for several kilometers with a .22-caliber rifle strapped to their backs,” said Maj. John Donovan, a spokesperson for Camp Ripley. “At a designated shooting area adjacent to the track the skiers stop and shoot at several small targets before continuing along the next leg of the track.”

The mission of the National Guard Biathlon program is to develop the highest levels of skiing and rifle marksmanship necessary to improve the combat skills of individual airmen and soldiers. Further, the National Guard Biathlon selects and trains teams to represent the National Guard and the United States Armed Services in national and international competitions, to include the Biathlon World Cup and Winter Olympic events.

“Races start at 9 a.m. on the mornings of Feb. 7 and 8, 2014,” said Chief Warrant Officer Three Keith Silbernick, coordinating officer with Camp Ripley. “Both days are open to the public and people are welcome to come join us and cheer on the athletes.”

“Visitors to Camp Ripley who wish to watch the race will be able to park at the Range Control parking lot and bus transportation to and from the race will be provided free-of-charge,” said Chief Warrant Officer Four Marie Festler. Visitors wishing to attend the competition only need to present a valid driver’s license to front gate personnel.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
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