Students clambered under wires and vaulted over obstacles as they competed for bragging rights and charity at the Second Annual ROTC Gauntlet this weekend.
During the boot-camp-style charity competition at Anisq’ Oyo’ Park on Saturday, four teams of UCSB students faced off in various events, including one-on-one pugil-stick combat, push ball, capture-the-flag and an obstacle course. All proceeds generated by the event were donated to the San Marcos Children’s Fund, an organization that provides money to the San Marcos Parent Child Workshop.
Event co-organizer Beau Bommer, a second-year cadet and global studies major, said the non-profit group provides affordable pre-schooling for families in the area and offers night classes for parents.
“In the Santa Barbara area, preschool is extremely expensive,” Bommer said. “So parents drop off their children and go to work four days of the week, but then donate their time to help the teacher one day of the week. At the preschool some [of the money raised] is used on equipment and some goes to scholarship funding for parents who are having a hard time covering some of the minimal costs.”
In their quest to raise money for the charity, challengers dashed through an obstacle course and clashed with pugil sticks – heavily padded training weapons utilized by military personnel for bayonet training. Members from opposing teams pummeled each other with the foam-covered weapons, attempting to knock their opponents out of a designated circle. The final round featured a capture-the-flag assault course fought with water balloons.
In the end, the team named I.V. Vets emerged as the victors of the Gauntlet. Team member David Affonso, a fourth-year political science major, said he was proud of his exemplary pugil-stick fighting abilities.
“It’s really fun to kick other people’s ass,” Affonso said. “Actually, asses, plural. I kicked multiple people’s ass, including a girl.”
Those who call the park home also enjoyed the day’s entertainment. Ron Woods, a Vietnam veteran who has gained the nickname “Professor” from the frequent visitors of Anisq’ Oyo’ Park, said the Gauntlet was more than a simple athletic competition for a good cause.
“We’ve got to save the country,” Woods said. “[We’ve got to] protect our beautiful women. And not only them, but their children and our donkeys and ducks.”