CAMP RIPLEY — The Minnesota National Guard is hosting the Eastern/Central Regional Biathlon event this weekend at Camp Ripley.

Several members of the Minnesota National Guard Biathlon Team are scheduled to take part in the 7.5K sprint race and the 10K Patrol race on Camp Ripley’s biathlon course. Their efforts will help to ensure their place at the National Guard championship in Utah next month as well as an opportunity to place on several other teams competing in the U.S. and overseas, a news release stated.

The stated mission of the National Guard Biathlon program is to develop the highest levels of skiing and rifle marksmanship necessary to focus the abilities of individual airmen and soldier athletes. Further, National Guard Biathlon selects and trains teams to represent the National Guard and the U.S. Armed Services in national and international competition, to include Biathlon World Cup and Winter Olympic events.

Since the early '70s, the biathlon program has encouraged competitors within the Army and Air National Guard to take part in the sport that develops their professional career and personal growth, the release stated. As an understanding between the adjutant generals of Vermont and Minnesota, the construction of two facilities and the mutual responsibility of the biathlon program would go forward to exemplify the fundamental skills this sport brings out in a service member.

Two races are scheduled over two days. The individual Sprint Race, originally scheduled Thursday but postponed because of cold weather, will begin 10 a.m. Friday, Jan. 17. The final race, a team Pursuit Race, will be 10 a.m. Saturday.