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HURLBURT FIELD — Jordan Dixon wasn’t sure what to expect when he walked into the Commando Hangar on Saturday.
The Pryor Middle School sixth-grader is a big fan of the TV show “American Ninja Warrior,” so when his mom suggested they check out the Alpha Warrior competition at the base, he was eager to attend.
“At first I thought maybe it was going to be like a triathalon or something,” Jordan said. “When I walked in and saw that big rig, I was like, ‘Woah — this is just like the show!’ ”
The “big rig” is an oversized jungle gym/obstacle course designed to challenge a competitor’s physical fitness and strength. On Saturday, the Alpha Warrior team brought their youth- and adult-sized battle rigs to Hurlburt to boost morale and fitness among the base’s personnel and their families.
“We’re traveling to Air Force bases across the country, meeting people and promoting fitness,” said Bennie Wylie, a former strength coach for the Dallas Cowboys and several college football teams, including Texas Tech, the University of Texas and the University of Tennessee. “We love coming to Hurlburt. It’s almost like home to us.”
Wylie, who recently came in first on the NBC competition show “Strong,” has been serving with the Alpha Warrior team for about a year and a half. On Saturday, he and other Alpha Warrior personalities posed for photos with kids and adults alike, many of whom, like Jordan, were eager to give the battle rig a try.
“I was a little nervous at first, but once I got on it, all my nerves went away,” said Jordan, a 12-year-old who plays football, baseball and basketball. “It’s a real challenge to the upper body.”
Kids of all ages joined Jordan on the rig, with some zipping across the rings and bars like old pros. On the adult rig, some participants quickly learned that crossing the entire apparatus is a lot harder than it looks on TV.
Seeing airmen and their families taking part in the Alpha Warrior challenge was exciting for Lisa Pizzo, the manager of the base’s Riptide Fitness Center.
“This is all about promoting the body, mind and spirit,” Pizzo said. “Everyone likes a challenge.”