CAMP RIPLEY - National Guard soldiers will test their skills of marksmanship and skiing this week at Camp Ripley.  Soldiers from across the upper Midwest are competing in the annual Regional Biathlon.

The biathlon is an event that includes skiing as fast as you can for several kilometers with a .22-caliber rifle strapped to their back before stopping to shoot at five very small targets.

Camp Ripley is one of just two National Guard race and training sites in the country.  The other is in Jericho, Vermont.

Spokesman Major John Donovan says competing in the biathlon is a good way for soldiers to stay in shape.

Donovan says they'll have several preliminary rounds today (Wednesday) through Friday.  The medal round is on Saturday, which is open to the public.  It will be held from 9:00 a.m. until noon.

The top finishers on Saturday will advance to the National event in February, which will also be held at Camp Ripley.

Members of the National Guard All-Guard Biathlon Team have been represented in seven Winter Olympic Games.  It's the only sport that consistently sends soldiers to the Olympics.

Donovan says the Minnesota National Guard's Jake Dahlberg is an Olympic hopeful.