Third annual Rib Mountain Adventure Challenge kicks of the 2017 Badger State Summer GamesSubmitted: 05/27/2017

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MARATHON COUNTY - Saturday's weather made for the perfect day to spend time outside. For some that meant competing in the Rib Mountain Adventure Challenge. The third annual adventure race kicked off the 2017 Badger State summer Games.

"It's not always the fastest team that wins. It's sometimes a combination of the fastest and the smartest team that wins," said Race Director Tim Buchholz.

In adventure racing, teams of two to four competitors run, bike, and paddle their way through the wilderness. Teams are only allowed to use a compass and a map to determine which way to go, and all team members must stay together from start to finish.

"You have to use your brain. You have to be able to analyze a map and plan your route choice, and use a map and compass and orienteer and find the fastest way," said Buchholz.

Saturday's competitors had the option between a three-mile and eight-mile race. Buccholz says the three-mile option makes this event unique.

"The majority of the racers out there doing the three-hour course have never done an adventure race before, so it's kind of a unique aspect that we offer the three-hour race for beginners," said Buchholz.

For more serious racers, the eight hour option is a qualifier for the adventure racing national championship, but that's not even the best part.

"What's also great about this event, it's 100-percent a scholarship fundraiser for students at UW-Marathon County, and this year it looks like we'll have raised, with help from our sponsors, over $10,000 for student scholarships," said Buchholz.

Buchholz has competed in adventure racing for more than a decade and directed the Rib Mountain race for three years. He says it's common for racers to attempt bigger challenges each year.

"Adventure racing is a sport that's easy to become addicted to," said Buchholz. "It's so enthralling, and exciting, and invigorating, that once you've tried an adventure race, you're probably going to be back for many, many more.

This was the first year the race was added to the Badgers State Games. Roughly 235 racers on 85 teams competed. A team named "Dream Team" finished the longer distance race in a time of 7:08:31.

Story By: Mark Spillane

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Photo Courtesy: Central Wisconsin Sports

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