The GORUCK Ruck Club Battle was the brainchild of occasional Ruck.Beer contributor, Luke MC. According to Luke, he was just looking for a reason to have a party at GORUCK HQ and then built the plan from there.
The pitch was for Ruck Clubs far and wide to show up at HQ and battle it out to see who was the king of clubs. That is all we knew. It was enough info to convince the Richmond Autonomous Rucking Collective (aka RVA GRT, aka Richmond Ruck Club, aka we’re still working on an official name) that we needed to show up and bring home the trophy (if there was a trophy… spoiler: there wasn’t).
Every GORUCK event is a team event. You show up and BOOM, there’s your team. The Ruck Club battle was unique in that every club had to show up with an 8-person team and compete against other teams.
The RVA roster filled up pretty quick, but as game day drew near we had some change of plans and the team dropped to 4 people and we went scrambling to find replacements. We picked up 2 RVA peeps, one who had never done an event before.
Seven days out we were still two short. We reached out the FXBG Rucking Group and managed to pick up one more team member. Then I posted on Ruck.Beer’s FB and Twitter account for anyone wanting to join, using patches as bribery. RJ Caster answered the call.
The team was assembled.
About a week or two before the event, HQ updated the event. We were told that even though this was a “light” it would only be a light in time and distance. Participants were to show up with Tough weight requirements. In addition, each team was required to bring a 30# team weight. HQ said it should either be a 30# ruck plate or a team weight that was American AF.
Since one of our new teammates (the newbie) is a metal fabricator, we opted for option two and put together a bad ass 30# battle shield with the Virginia seal on it. Because, in one teammate’s words, “What’s more American than some chick standing over a dead king?”
It wasn’t till the start of the event that we found out how ruck clubs actually “battle” each other.
Once at the Start Point we were briefed on how the battle would go down. Through the afternoon we would have a number of competitions. Each competition would have a time cap. There were points for first, second, and third place in each event. Finishing under the cap got your team 1/2 a point. Failure to complete the evolution (as a team) was a zero.
At the end of the day, the team with the most points wins.
At the Start Point, there were 11 team total. All of them looked like they showed up to win.
Like any good GORUCK AAR, I’m not going to spoil the event for you by telling you everything we did, or what all the events were. If you want to know, you’re just going to have to show up for the next one.
That said, after admin, we had our first competition and were painfully reminded that “Light” doesn’t mean “easy.” Forty-five minutes later we had earned our 1/2 a point and managed to be solidly in the upper-middle of the pack in performance.
As a group, we went to the beach. It was overcast, 58 degrees, and crazy windy.
The rest of the battle would be conducted at the beach and yes, there was water, sand, and pain.
Four more battles ensued. We managed to take at least one first-place finish. But, it sure as hell wasn’t in the team timed ruck. Palm Beach Rucking Crew thought cadre said “timed run” instead of “timed ruck.” They were damn impressive in that event.
The event was brutally perfect. We were given challenges that pushed us physically and mentally. We had to FFIO with some things and other things we just have to grind it out and DFQ. But, the team was cohesive, supportive, and damn near perfect. Have other teams to compete against made everyone push a little hard and dig a little deeper.
What I loved about the event was having a small team allowed us to really be a team. Every break was filled with every member of the team checking in on each other, offering encouragement, and building each other up. Since it was so damn cold and windy, penguin huddles quickly became our formation of choice whenever we had a break. Something about feeling beat to hell and huddling up telling jokes, laughing, makes the adversity so much sweeter.
If ya ain’t first…
Ricky Bobby: If ya ain’t first, you’re last.
Ricky’s Dad: That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. I mean, you could be second, third… hell, I guess you could even be fourth.
Well into the darkness, the event was over. We rucked back to HQ and points were tallied. The RVA (+Fredricsburg, +Jacksonville) team managed to come in a very respectable fourth place.
We were all happy with the result but deep down probably wished we had cracked the top three… until…
There was a tie for second/third place. The tiebreaker would be decided to a face-to-face Statue of Liberty battle (1-arm overhead ruck hold). When we heard that, fourth place suddenly sounded pretty darn good.
The teams lined up and 100 smelly GRT crowded around to watch the epic ending. It did not disappoint. 1 minute. 2 minute. 3 minute… team members slowly dropped out. There were shaky arms, grimacing faces. Then there were just two. The crowd went nuts. It came down to two badasses holding rucks overhead. Eventually one acquiesced and the crowd went wild.
There was beer, smiles, hugs, and patches.
Soreness and Smiles
We lingered at the afterparty for a little while but needed food big-time. We bailed out as a team and headed for pizza and wings.
At the dinner table, we laughed, ate, and enjoyed the memories of all the suck we had just endured.
As I said earlier, all GORUCK events are memorable, but it is the people that make the memories great. As I looked around at the team I had just suffered with, I was reminded how lucky I was to meet these people. The odds of our paths crossing in day-to-day life are pretty low. But because of this crazy GORUCK nonsense, there are a group of guys and gals I truly happy to call my friends.
The Ruck Club Battle was a great way to deepen those bonds of friendship and forge new ones.
So, if (when) there’s another Ruck Club Battle, grab those weirdo closest to you, ruck up, and enjoy the suck together.
Part of wanting to come to this event was to visit HQ, meet Bomber, Jason, Blayne, and the others. Sadly, we didn’t make it into town in time on Friday to stop by the PX. Then, Saturday and event were a bit hectic. Meeting those guys was incidental and in passing. However, Bomber, in true Bomber fashion, did see me at one point and stopped what he was doing, came over, gave me a hug, and went back to work.
I guess not getting to hang and chat with those guys gives me an excuse to make it back down there another time. Till then fellas, keep up the good work and keep my beer cold.