COLA WARRIOR TESTS YOUR STAMINA, SHOOTING SKILLS
In the real world, you better have a little fitness to go along with your shooting skills. The Cola Warrior provides a test of both.
Chances are, if you routinely frequent firearms- or tacticalrelated forums or social media groups, you may have heard of Cola Warrior. Getting an exact definition of what Cola Warrior is differs, depending upon whom you ask, however.
Tactical World received a complete insider’s view to this unique event at Cola Warrior West IV held outside Reno, Nevada recently, and we left with the knowledge that this event is much more than it seems.
Cola Warrior was started by a few active-duty Marines who tested each other by seeing how many push-ups they could do after downing a 2-liter bottle of Coca-cola. It evolved into more rigorous exercises and food challenges, until it became an actual competition outside the Corps.
We can best describe it as a combination Tough Mudder and 2-gun match during which participants must negotiate obstacles, shoot firearms, eat a box of Marshmallow Peeps and chug a six-pack of soda. The overall score is based on time. Each Cola Warrior event is similar, yet unique.
Cola Warrior West IV began with an obstacle course with five obstacles of varying difficulty that tested the participants’ strength, speed and stamina.
At this event, the first obstacle was the sled—a 55-gallon drum, about 50 feet from the rear axle of a dump truck. Participants had to sit in the drum and pull themselves to the dump truck by using their upper body strength and a towing strap. After pulling themselves to the end of the truck, participants had to crawl underneath it from the rear to the front, while carrying two weights, and without activating a tripwire beneath the chassis.
Next was picking up what best can be described as an 8-foot-long weighted barbell. Cradling it in their elbows, the Cola Warriors had to run through tires placed on the ground like an oldschool military/police obstacle course.
Following, the race was to the next hill, where an oversized tractor tire
had to be rolled, or otherwise moved, up and down four hillsides. With the tire out of the way, contestants were tasked with climbing a 10- to 12-foothigh pole and touching the top of the platform.
Dropping off the pole, the Cola Warrior had to sit in a chair and eat a package of Marshmallow Peeps while field stripping and then reassembling an AK-47 rifle.
When the rifle was back together and dry fired to prove functionality, the race continued.
The next step was to run a little over a half-mile to the shooting range. Some folks fast-walked it, but the run time is a part of the overall score; so, nobody really wanted to stop and smell the roses, or in the case of Cola Warrior West, the sagebrush.
The firearms, safety gear, ammunition and beverage of choice awaited each shooter at the range. Upon arrival, eye and ear protection was donned so each shooter could load and make ready their handguns. Targets were provided by the event’s host, Mitch Gerlinger of MOA Targets. The steel targets were placed anywhere from 25 to 500 yards. The first one was a spinning Texas Tree that was much harder than it initially appeared. It was followed by various alien-shaped silhouettes, a standard Ipsc-style target, and a small spinner with a hostage taker for the pistol portion. Once the pistol part was complete, Cola Warriors switched over to their rifle of choice, with several challenging steel targets to test their skills. Again, two magazines were the only limit. Like the handgun course of fire, capacity was whatever the shooter desires.
After the last rifle round was fired, we arrived at how Cola Warrior earned its name. Contestants must perform the “Chug,” as in downing 72 ounces of soda or their favorite non-alcoholic carbonated beverage.
Navigating an obstacle course, shooting at steel targets under extreme conditions, not to mention the eating of Peeps and chugging of soda … how is that “tactical” or even training-related?
We feel that anytime you get a chance to put yourself or your gear to the test, you are training. People practice rigorously for these events, but with the layout kept secret until the last minute, most of it is a surprise. Contestants need to think on the fly and adjust. Adding to the frustrations of the Cola warriors was an uncharacteristic rainstorm that turned the playing field into mud-like quicksand. Some Cola warriors even ran the course after dark using night vision.
To us, this is the true essence of tactical training, and I experienced it first-hand (minus the soda and Peeps) as a Marine Rifleman back in the day, as a run-up to MEU (SOC) training. You may have a mission and only an hour or two to rehearse it beforehand. You may have not trained specifically for the mission previously, so your overall physical fitness, body mechanics and skill with your weapons and gear need to adapt quickly. TW