CAMP RIPLEY -- It's one of the toughest competitions in the National Guard. Fourteen soldiers from seven states will put their skills to the test this week for the Army National Guard 2014 Region 4 Best Warrior Competition.

The competition has been a 30 year tradition for the National Guards throughout the Mid-West and this year is being held at Camp Ripley.

Sgt. Maj. Cindy Kallberg says they are honored to be the host site.

"We get to really highlight what we have here at Camp Ripley. All the great facilities and the soldiers as well," says Kallberg.

The top solider and non-commissioned officer from Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin will compete in the four-day competition.

Each day competitors will be put through 16-hour days testing the soldiers endurance, mental capabilities, and physical stamina.

Minnesota has two representatives in the competition -- Sgt. Corbin Routier in the solider category and Staff Sgt. Michael Walker in the non-commissioned officer category.

Sgt. Routier says for a competition like this, you need to be mentally tough.

"You compete against yourself when you get to this level because everyone is really good," says Routier.

This is the first competition for both soldiers. Staff Sgt Walker says he has big expectations going into this weeks events.

"Win of course. To win for Minnesota," says Walker.

The winner from each category will move on to the national competition in Arkansas in July. The winner at nationals would then move on to the All-Army Competition.


Soliders from across the Mid-west gathered at Camp Ripley for the National Guard Best Warrior Competition. (Photo: Alex Svejkovsky, WJON News)