The men and women wrestlers from Wayland Baptist University are tackling the three-mile course from the bottom of Palo Duro Canyon to the top as a way to honor and support veterans.
“This is our annual tradition for our servant leadership project that we do and today we are helping out the organization America -Celebrate, Honor and Serve,” said Head Coach Aaron Meister of Wayland Baptist University Wrestling.
“It’s really neat to see college students take the time and honor the United States of America,” said Doug Messer, Vice President of America – Celebrate, Honor and Serve.
It is the 8th year they have done the race, with many of the students making multiple appearances. Coach Meister admits the challenge is tough.
“It’s not really the length that gets you, it’s the elevation because we drop them off at the bottom of the canyon, and then it is about three miles in distance going up, but you have got to consider it’s probably a little longer when you add the elevation,” said Coach Meister.
While the three-mile run was harder for some than others, it was the message they sent with their journey that is more important.
“We really wouldn’t be here without them and we wouldn’t have a lot of freedoms that we have,” added Coach Mister. “Many people before us have come and sacrificed for us, people to this day are sacrificing for us.”
The wrestlers are not just waving flags. They have raised thousands of dollars, partnering with America-Celebrate, Honor and Serve to help local veterans and first responders.
“It’s very cool, it’s very honorable. I can’t get enough of it actually,” said Messer.
Waiting for the athletes at the end of their route is a hamburger grilled up by Mel Smith, who has supported this event for several years. Another big adventure awaited. A ride down Mel’s zip line course.