Fort Bliss Army Trials team plans to bring experience and fresh faces to 2017 competition
FORT BLISS, Texas (KFOX14) —
Fort Bliss's team is gearing up to compete in the Army Trials, which will go down this weekend. The team is made up of people with some experience in the Trials.
The Army Trials are essentially the qualifiers for the Department of Defense Warrior Games. That event is the Olympics for injured service members.
Last year, retired U.S. Army Brandi Evans brought five medals back to El Paso in track and field and cycling.
"I get the jitters a little bit and try to get the nervousness out of the way since you've already competed once. But it's always great,” Evans said. “It's not just about the competition, it's about thecamaraderie."
Another member of the team, Michael Stephens, brought home two golds in track and field.
Evans is glad to be back on the field.
"It's kind of like Christmas morning all over again. We just get to start where we left off,” Evans said.
The Fort Bliss team is bringing experience to this year's Trials. Evans and the rest of the team think these Trials will still be tough but a little bit more manageable.
"I think for me it's about the camaraderie and learning and growing for myself,” Staff Sgt. Rachel Salemick said.
Returning team members include retired U.S. Army Shawn “Bubba” Vosburg. Vosburg also qualified for the 2016 Warrior Games.
"This will be my last year if I make the team,” Vosburg said. ”So if I can bring somebody else, we got a couple of new people that came through the W2 here at Fort Bliss that are competing this year."
New team members like Salemick and Sergeant Patrick Haney are already learning from the vets.
"I've connected with Brandi Evans, and she's been really wonderful,” Salemick said. “She's just said, 'If you need to take a break, just take a break and just take it easy.'"
"It was like building a family with these guys. Brandi, Bubba Vosburg, everyone,” Haney said. “These guys have been a tremendous help for getting me into the competition."
The Trials are a competition for injured service members -- a competition that can bring a medal, but also a lesson.
"My philosophy with shooting and in everything in life, you have one shot,” Haney said. “Once that shot is gone, you can't fill in that paper, you can't cover it up. Just forget about it and move forward."
For other the goal is simpler.
"For me it's just the camaraderie and learning and growing for myself,” Salemick said.
It's not only the rookies who are learning. Evans and Vosburg said the games bring back brotherhood.
"Just really creating a new family to move forward,” Evans said.
Vosburg said the Trials and the Games have saved his life.
"This gave me an outlet, as well as pushed me into my next outlet, which is going to school,” Vosburg said. “The biggest takeaway is that I'm still here."
A schedule for the 2017 U.S. Army Trials can be found below in the article. Please give yourself time to get a visitor's pass to get on to Fort Bliss before attending.
U.S. Army Trials Schedule from April 2-6:
Sunday, April 2 : 7 a.m. Cycling competition; 7 p.m. Wheelchair Basketball
Monday, April 3: 8 a.m. Shooting; 7 p.m. Sitting Volleyball
Tuesday, April 4: 8 a.m. Track and Field; 7 p.m. Wheelchair Basketball
Wednesday, April 5: 8 a.m. Archery; 7 p.m. Sitting Volleyball
Thursday, April 6: 8 a.m. Swimming