News: Chiefs turn out in droves for the CPO Goatlocker Challenge
The chief petty officers from the bases around Hampton Roads Virginia spent a bright, sunny morning sweating and laughing, March 31, in order to honor the anniversary of the chief petty officer rank in the U.S. Navy. Straining their muscles and their memories the chiefs took on the Goatlocker Challenge, 22 physical and trivia events designed to promote teamwork through the Chief Petty Officer Mess.
"The biggest thing that the mess achieves in this is esprit de corps and teamwork," said CMDCM Gregg Snaza, Naval Station Norfolk command master chief. "Yeah it's a competition, somebody's going to be named number one of 25 teams and there is a lot of bragging rights you get with that, but frankly every chief that comes out here and participates is a winner. No single individual will win this for a team, it takes teamwork to win."
Snaza feels that an added bonus is that chiefs get to lead the way in the Navy's culture of fitness, showing that there is fun to be had at a physical event. This is only the second time the Goatlocker Challenge has been held.
"This is the second year we have done this," said Snaza. He expressed that prior to the inaugural event a planning committee decided that the CPOs were going to get together to do something special to commemorate the chief's birthday. "It was dreamed up by ATG (Afloat Training Group) they thought it would be kind of neat to do a physical challenge. Last year it was so fun that everyone decided that we needed to make it an annual event."
Last year 14 teams competed in the challenge but this year the turnout was even larger.
"We have 25 teams that signed up — about 250 chiefs that are out here to compete head to head for the title "Most fit mess" in the Hampton Roads area," Snaza said. "I am very excited about the turnout."
According to Snaza, all around the Navy chief's messes try to find creative ways to publicly show pride in being a chief petty officer and the sense of heritage that goes along with the rank during the week of the Chief's birthday. The Goatlocker Challenge is definitely showy, but it's not an easy task to put together 22 events which use eclectic gear from potato sacks to tricycles.
"We have been planning this for about two weeks," Jodi Byrkett from Naval Station Norfolk's Waterfront Fitness. "We have been here since about 5:15 this morning setting up. It takes a lot of preparation and time to plan this and make it a good event for all the individuals. We have about 25 to 30 volunteers -- it takes a lot of volunteers to make this happen. We depend on the chiefs' community to help make it happen."
Morale, Welfare and Recreation's Waterfront Fitness prepares events that somewhat are similar to the Goatlocker Challenge every day. The fitness specialists jobs are to lay out equipment and directing Sailors for large commands to PT. They are competent in handling commands of up to 1,000 participants in a single physical training session. Events like the Goatlocker Challenge sells their product.
"PT is fun and should be viewed as fun. We want to make sure we offer Sailors the opportunity to stay fit in a way that they are not used to.
The Chiefs appreciated the effort put out by MWR and the volunteers and put out a lot of effort themselves.
"It's fun and exciting and for some very painful," said Chief Yeoman Clarence Johnson, Commander Navy Region Mid Atlantic Personnel Department Leading Chief Petty Officer. The CNRMA Team took third place at the challenge. "I have been looking forward to this all year I wanted to bring the golden anchor to commander Navy Region Mid-Atlantic."
"I am definitely going to do it again next year," Johnson said.
First place at the Goatlocker Challenge was awarded to the ATG's "Gold Team" followed by USS Enterprise's "Team Big E."