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139th Airmen take first at ground transportation rodeo

(from left to right) U.S. Airmen, Senior Master Sgt. Robert Ward, Tech. Sgt. Michael Morris and Staff Sgt. Michael Hill, vehicle operators with the 139th Logistics Readiness Squadron, Missouri Air National Guard, pose with a trophy after winning the Best in the Midwest Ground Transportation Rodeo, at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., May 21, 2017.

(from left to right) U.S. Airmen, Senior Master Sgt. Robert Ward, Tech. Sgt. Michael Morris and Staff Sgt. Michael Hill, vehicle operators with the 139th Logistics Readiness Squadron, Missouri Air National Guard, pose with a trophy after winning the Best in the Midwest Ground Transportation Rodeo, at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., May 21, 2017.

A U.S. Airman maneuvers a 4k forklift through an obstacle course during the Midwest Ground Transportation Rodeo at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., May 21, 2017.

A U.S. Airman maneuvers a 4k forklift through an obstacle course during the Midwest Ground Transportation Rodeo at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., May 21, 2017.

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. --

A team from the 139th Airlift Wing brings home a trophy for the first ever Best in the Midwest Ground Transportation Rodeo held in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.

Senior Master Sgt. Robert Ward, Tech. Sgt. Michael Morris and Staff Sgt. Michael Hill, vehicle operators with 139th Logistics Readiness Squadron, Missouri Air National Guard, won first place against six other U.S. Air Force bases in the region on May 20-21.

The two-day competition included an Air Force Instruction test, and obstacle courses for the 4k forklift, 10k all-terrain forklift and 25-foot tractor trailer. The final scores of each event added together, determined the overall winner.

The timing of the event had a personal significance to team leader Ward. On May 21, 1997 he started his technical school at Fort Leonard Wood learning the same skills that 20-years later, to the day, would earn him and his team a first place trophy.

Among seven teams, the 139th AW was the only Guard unit in attendance. That was a detail that didn’t seem to matter. “Everybody at the event had a positive attitude,” Ward said. He reflected on the times during breaks when all the team would meet up for games of washers and corn hole.

The Ground Transportation Career Field manager, Chief Master Sgt. Jason Hohenstreiter, repeated those sentiments. He told “The Guidon”, the newspaper for Fort Leonard Wood, that the main goal of the rodeo was to bring the “family” together for friendly competition.

Even though to Ward it felt “awesome” to win, the opportunity to trade knowledge and experience at a “family reunion” that the rodeo provided was the main take-away from the event.