BattleFrog Miami- 2015 Kick-Off!

While most of the country was knee deep in snow, BattleFrog Miami kicked off their race year at Amelia Earhart Park in the Hialeah section of Miami. Fresh off a successful first race season, BattleFrog came out swinging with new ideas. There is the new BattleFrog Xtreme course, Masters waive, and the Athena/Clydesdale division. They also have a BullFrog mile that is supposed to be for the ‘tween ages, however; adults were welcome to run also! The BullFrog mile is a great way to encourage those who are not quite ready for a 5K, but may be easily hooked by the introductory single mile race.

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The course was built on a dirt track that bicyclers used for those ferocious South Florida hill climbs. I couldn’t help but feel like a bike while running up and down each and every jump on the course. The ground itself was extremely unforgiving and hard. I was shocked at how sore my ankles were the next day after running the 15K course.

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The obstacles weren’t the most difficult I’ve ever attempted. Only several were challenging to the elite few that ran both days. The first I encountered that gave me fits was the Hump Over. If anyone ran the OCRWC, you’ll be familiar of the Sternum Checker. This obstacle conquered me at my 5’4” frame. I tried several times, but in the end I just couldn’t get my hump over the log. The technique that helped successfully complete the obstacle was being tall and strong. I’m neither, so there is that. Until next time Hump Over.

BattleFrog took advantage of the many water obstacles on the course and had several swims. The first was right off the bat, a 200-foot swim across a pond right after the start line. Just don’t think about the gators when you are swimming in ponds in Florida and you’ll be fine…right? The water was a favorite of many runners though, a nice reprieve from the heat and humidity that struck early in the day on Saturday. That same heat and humidity gave way to a monsoon that enveloped the festival area shortly before noon. Anyone left on the course during the downpour had to fight the winds and rain as an added obstacle.

Rope Traverse

A surprise to the runners familiar with the OCR world was how many big name racers showed up to compete. BattleFrog has a lot of prize money on the line this year, and that is going to attract the big names in the sport. Hunter McIntyre was seen walking around the festival area, although a non-competitor due to an injury. Rumor has it; he’s resting up for the Spartan Cruise race on March 7th. Isaiah Vidal snuck into the race without anyone knowing it and took 3rd male overall. The big winners of the day were Ryan Atkins and his fiancé Lindsay Webster. If you don’t know her name already you better take note. This girl is going to be winning a lot more races this season. I’m calling it now that Ryan and Lindsay are not only OCR’s fittest couple, but also the nicest people around.

BattleFrog Elites

It’s going to be very interesting to see the development of BattleFrog this year. The big names are drawn to the prize money, and the Xtreme course could draw in a lot of ultra-runners. The male winner of the day for the Xtreme course, Del LeViere, completed the 15k course PLUS six laps of the 5k course. The female winner, Adriane Alvord, competed the 15k PLUS four 5k laps. It’s exciting to see BattleFrog come up with fresh ideas to draw in those greatly needed numbers that they will have to come up with this year.

Xtreme Winners

*Photos By: BattleFrog Race Series

AmberAndersonAmber Anderson has the flare of the Wild Wild West running through her veins. She hails from the great state of Wyoming, but somehow landed in Nashville TN. She’s a snowboarder, backpacker, sometimes half marathon runner, and now OCR addict. 

BattleFrog Miami- “A Humbling Experience”

On November 15th, 1986 I came screaming into the world. Naturally, when I saw that the highly thought of new race series of the year BattleFrog was closing out its first ever race season in their hometown of Miami Florida on the 15th of November, I was sold. As a somewhat newbie to the obstacle-racing world I wasn’t quite prepared for what these Navy SEALs had planned for me. I’ve done longer races, and I’ve even heard that some were harder…but BattleFrog Miami kicked my booty in all the best ways.

The location of the race was on the Historic Virginia Key Beach Park. The course was positioned along the beach, in the ocean, through the jungle and also the swamp. Rumor has it there were three, twelve-foot gators that lived on the island and as far as I know nobody met any of them personally, but I can tell you for a fact that the swamp SMELLED like something was rotting. I hear gators like that…

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The elite racers all lined up at 8:00 am sharp, and race director Garfield Griffiths stood in front of 100+ racers with CoachPain Dewayne to send them off. Griffiths explained some ground rules first. One of them was that every elite racer had to complete every obstacle, except for one. This is a relatively new rule in the OCR world. Typically, in the past, racers were given burpees or similar penalties for not completing an obstacle. In this race, racers had unlimited chances to complete an obstacle, but if they felt that it was too much for them they had to surrender their elite wristband. Something brand new for this race was the ringing of the bell. In the Navy SEAL world, the ringing of the bell signifies drop on request (DOR). The tradition of DOR consists of dropping one’s helmet liner next to a pole with a brass ship’s bell attached and then they ring the bell three times. Once a racer felt they couldn’t complete an obstacle they had to ring the bell that was placed next to every obstacle three times after they surrendered their wristbands.

Bell Ring

“This isn’t meant to humiliate anyone,” explains Griffiths. “This is meant to humble them, for them to acknowledge that the obstacle beat them. It’s a respected tradition in the Seal world and I wanted to bring that aspect into the race as respect.”

I can say for a fact, that this race humbled me. Isn’t that a great metaphor for life though? When something is too tough, you admit it and you continue on. You don’t let it defeat you, and you prepare better for the next time. The race brought roughly 27 obstacles for the racers pain or pleasure in it’s just under four mile course.

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My favorite obstacles include:

1. Over/under in the ocean. You swam about 15 yards into eight feet of water and proceeded to pull yourself over a log and under the next. Repeat for about 10 logs. Leave the ocean with salt water smell in your nose, which smells like victory.
2. Monkey bars. These monkey bars had the standard bars and also the rock climbing grips for the elites. Non-elites could try them as well, but I’ll tell you that they are tough. For someone who has decent grip strength and okay upper body strength, these babies smoked me. I’m on the average scale in the height department so the almost three foot distance between grips was difficult and I rang the bell on this obstacle. The battle was lost to the grips, but I will win the war next time.
3. SEAL PT. I can’t believe I’m saying this but I loved it. Burpees normally suck. Burpees in the water are ridiculous.
4. Tip of the Spear. I’ve heard from many that this is their favorite and now I know why. It’s a challenging obstacle but I love the feeling of Tarzan swinging from one rope to another and then traversing via rock climbing grips.
5. Tsunami. It took me four tries to get up this wall. I was exhausted at the finish. On the fourth try my helper at the top hoisted my butt over and all I could do was lay there for a second and then to tell my helper that I loved him. I guess I move fast. While lying there I looked at the American flag waving above me, and I couldn’t help but feel so proud of this race series. They put everything they have into each race with their creativity and design.

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Overall, BattleFrog has become one of my favorite series with this brief preview of what their 15k course looks like. If you are an experienced racer or not, this is a race you can’t miss. Start with the 5k and I promise you’ll be hooked.

*Photos By: BattleFrog Race Series and Amber Anderson

AmberAndersonAmber Anderson has the flare of the Wild Wild West running through her veins. She hails from the great state of Wyoming, but somehow landed in Nashville TN. She’s a snowboarder, backpacker, sometimes half marathon runner, and now OCR addict. This is her first review for ORM.

BattleFrog, Pittsburgh: Won’t You Be Mine?

“HOOYAH, HOOYAH, HOOYAH!” and they’re off! At exactly 8:04 a.m. on Saturday- September 27th, 2014— 98 elite athletes began their journey on virgin OCR territory.

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The terrain used at the BattleFrog Pittsburgh race had many OCR familiarities such as: mud, trail, 6ft walls, 12ft walls, rope climbs, monkey bars, wire crawl, etc.… However, BattleFrog took OCR to an entirely new level when they built their course around an abandoned mine. Yes, I said it…a MINE!

BattleFrog has developed a positive reputation for the use of their event locations. This event location has blown their other races out of the water and set the bar higher than ever for similar events. The BattleFrog Pittsburgh location was at Mines and Meadows ATV & RV Resort in Wampum, PA. One of the resort’s amenities is their underground tour. The BattleFrog team used the underground limestone mines to their advantage and what people would normally experience on ATV’s, we experienced on foot.

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Upon entering the labyrinth of pitch-black mines, every racer was handed a headlamp to guide their way. I enjoyed not having to tote my own headlamp throughout the entire race, but I did not enjoy that the headlamps were pre-adjusted and I had to fidget as I ran. This made the beginning of my mine journey very awkward because I couldn’t see where I was going. I ended up just removing the lamp from my head and carried it.

As we ran through the winding underground I was able to take in the beauty of the darkness. I know that sounds crazy, but it was truly a sight and experience unlike any other. I was in awe of the landscape and terrified of the darkness at the same time. I will say that they used glow lights and glowing cones to mark the path nicely (if a blonde can effectively find her way around in the dark, then you know you did a good job).

The moment you thought your underground journey was over…it had just begun! We turned a corner to follow a new path and a SEAL was standing there handing out floaties for us to wear. My immediate thought, “how come this isn’t a fun animal shape?” Once he said jump in to the water, I knew immediately that this American Flag decorated floatation device was going to save me.

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“Holy cold!” is the only thing that could come out my mouth as I jumped into the underground lake. I doggy paddled my heart out to get to the other side. Along the way there were more SEALs in water suits and canoes making sure we were all safe to the other side. I thank each and every one of you for caring about my safety as I reenacted a scene from Titanic!

I finally reached the end of the lake, threatened to keep my floaty (but they wouldn’t let me), and raced off to the next adventure…underground paintball! Like a little kid, my eyes lit up, as we had to take 3 shots lying down, then kneeling, then standing. The paintball venue was glowing so spectacularly that in order to see your shot you had to turn your headlamps off. Once you made your “kill” you were free to run out of the mine. Honestly, I was tempted to stay in the paintball cave the rest of the day, just my floaty and me!

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Of course there was more to the nine-mile adventure than just running through mines. There were walls, over-under walls, helicopter ladder climb, nets, A-frames, a nice twist on the monkey bars (a rock climbing version), PT drill, and Robert’s Ridge (a jerry can carry) to name a few. The infamous Tsunami was waiting near the end of the race. As I approached the half-pipe/slide obstacle, I had to pause as I watched the Tsunami drop its victims like flies (I really have to work on my vertical…I became a fly).

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After nine-miles and a couple dozen obstacles, the biggest monster of the day was the HOOYAH! The HOOYAH is a mixture of a vertical wall mixed with culverts in the front. The vertical wall was no stranger, as we were met with one around the mile two markers. However, at mile nine…this vertical wall took the last hopes of many who had previously conquered it. The final slide led into the jacks crawl, which led you to your medal. Let’s just say I crawled so fast to the finish, you would have thought Channing Tatum was standing at the finish!

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One of the most important aspects of the BattleFrog Pittsburgh event was the family oriented atmosphere. Like previous BattleFrog events, family was encouraged to participate. They provide access for all athletic styles such as a 15k, 5k, 1 Miler, and a Tadpole event for the youngsters. Seeing the glow in the eyes of people of all ages really motivates me to know that OCR is an event for everyone. You just have to get out there and try—that’s exactly how BattleFrog makes you feel. You walk away with a sense of accomplishment knowing that Navy SEALs are cheering you on and your efforts actually mean something!

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Nonetheless, BattleFrog is an event you CAN NOT miss! This is an organization that welcomes all ages, all sizes, all fitness levels, and all backgrounds of people to just come out and give it their all. It provides a true challenge to the elites (they require you to complete ALL obstacles in order to qualify for prize money), a challenge for those testing their personal limits, and a fun time to encourage the family into a fitness lifestyle. If you haven’t experienced a BattleFrog event yet, what are you waiting for? SIGN UP NOW because you won’t be disappointed! P.S. I always encourage people to volunteer for this organization because they treat you like kings and queens (see my previous BattleFrog post for more info on volunteering). HOOYAH!

*Photos By: Evan Battle and BattleFrog Race Series

 

 

Want more? Check out: 

Obstacle Racing Media ‘s review of Battlefrog in Big Beaver, PA 2014. Featuring the Medal Whores, all obstacles from the 15k, 2013’s World’s Toughest Mudder winner Ryan Atkins, and race director/course designer Chris Acord.

 

 

 

BattleFrog Review – Greater D.C.

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BattleFrog Obstacle Race Series is on a roll! This past weekend they hosted their 3rd race event delivering another solid, quality race experience that we are quickly getting accustomed to. BattleFrog is fast becoming the emerging favorite race for many OCR veterans and newbies alike, garnering a loyal following of OCR fans willing to travel to their next calendar event to get that unique “BattleFrog experience” one more time!

Launching onto the obstacle course racing scene in June of this year, BattleFrog held their first inaugural race event in Georgia, my home state. I missed that event, but attended their second race last month in South Carolina and ran in the 15K competitive cash wave. I was so enamored with the challenging course, use of terrain, unique obstacles and overall amazing race experience, I had to “get my BattleFrog fix” and packed up my car and hit the road for the Greater DC race!

Venue Location – Beautiful

Once again, BattleFrog chose a perfect location to host a race of this caliber, the Tomahawk MX Park, a motocross park nestled in the upper corner of West Virginia. The more rural location provided ample natural terrain for BattleFrog to draw from, which they do so well, and was within a reasonable driving distance from many bordering larger metropolitan cities.   The drive to the race did have a feel of “getting out there” a bit with roads going from single lane paved then narrowing into a windy, unmarked road, but with the great signage guiding racers to the event, it was easy navigating.

Parking & Festival area – Easy & Hassle-free

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Parking was also easy with cars being directed by friendly staffers to park in the open grassy fields near the entrance. Once parked, there was a modest walk toward the registration tents and main festival area. It had rained the night before making the grounds in the festival area a little soggy, but this didn’t hinder anything. It is an obstacle course race after all, not a road race, and most of us are accustomed to the difference. BattleFrog does an excellent job putting on an event for the joy of not just its racers, but for the spectating crowd as well. All of the extra details within the festival area impressed my sister, a newbie OCR spectator seeing me race for the first time. Her first initial impression of the festival area and venue was that it felt like a “professional operation” to use her words. She appreciated the large mounted course map, schedule of events, and enjoyed the rocking music they had going as she meandered around checking out the scene. After scoping out the obstacle locations within viewing distance mid-course and near the finish my sister said “I think I’ll be able to see you on the course a good amount – this is going to be fun!” So nice job BattleFrog, my sister was impressed and the race hadn’t even started!

Race Rules & Terrain & Obstacle Extravaganza

BattleFrog offers 4 different race distances (2 of which are designed to involve youngsters) and I competed in the 15K cash wave again for this race. For this elite heat, they announced exciting new race rules of mandatory obstacle completion to remain eligible for the cash prize award. One obstacle, the paintball target shoot, was the only exception of mandatory completion, and would allow the 8-count bodybuilder penalties if you couldn’t hit the target.

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With the rules announced and anthem sung, the elite wave started prompted at 8am with a jumble of racers tackling the over/under/through wall combinations put right at the start. We all sprinted down a little slope of groomed, muddy tracks, blasted through some shallow mud water pits, hustled over the 8 foot walls where the course veered up into the wooded sections for some trail running. I reunited with their unique “Jerry Can Carry” obstacle, which many know I am quite fond of. This time, they lengthened the down and back distance we had to carry the heavy, weighted cans which made for another great shoulder & forearm burn reunion experience. After stumbling back up the grassy, vine covered hill lugging my beloved Jerry Cans, I happily handed them back to the attentive volunteers manning and took off into the wooded trails for more running. (I’ll see you again soon Jerry….’til then.)

Within the canopy of dense woods the slippery, rocky trail footing from the night’s rains had many of us sliding all over as we pounded our way through the course. BattleFrog spaced several obstacles throughout this running trek, from water pits to their “Spider Webs” obstacle which is always fun. There’s nothing like a bunch of rubber webbing to bring your running pace to a screeching halt while you go horizontal to navigate through the cording trying to maintain balance and keep your feet from getting caught and tripping.

The trail running then opened up into a grassy meadow leading up to a highlight obstacle of the course. Obstacle design is another area that I find BattleFrog really shines at. They’ve done a great job adding new and interesting twists on obstacles and one of my standout favorites from this race was the “Rope Traverse Wall.” This involved a very steep incline of a double-face wall with 5-6 dangling ropes (the same on either side) that you had to hold onto and hoist yourself across to the other end. The rains from the night before made the wood surface very slippery, and what was certainly a more challenging obstacle given the incline became an even bigger challenge to keep your grip and momentum without losing your footing and slipping off. Many of us struggled with this more than we normally would have, but that’s the beauty of obstacles! They challenge and push us and keep us coming back for more. Again, nicely done BattleFrog – I loved that obstacle even though it was frustrating for many of us at the time. I hope I’ll see it again at a future race– it was great!

I’ll call the last third of the race the “water” course section…….meaning, I wasn’t just wet, I was soggy, soaking wet through all of it.   There was a shallow, claustrophobic trench crawl that opened up to a drop-off plop into a big murky pond with mud on the banks so thick you could lose a shoe! Once emerging from that, we enjoyed a pipe crawl which plopped us into more muddy water and then over to the dripping wet monkey bars which is always harder to get across with soaked hands. All the while, the last final loop into the finish we’re being “rained on” from 6-foot tall sprinklers swinging back & forth pelting us. I absolutely loved this additional touch as it really added to the “full onslaught” race experience feel. Just trying to run and stay upright and we rounded the last loop to the finish was a serious challenge with the motocross water system hosing us down!

And last but not least, my other favorite stand-out obstacle near the finish was the “Caving Ladder Rope Transfer.” It was a neat twist on a rope climb. It involved a narrow cable ladder we had to climb up, ring a bell at the top, and then transfer over to a thick climbing rope and shimmy our way back down. They had a traditional rope climb mid-course, making this rope climb version an interesting variation. I love clever obstacles BattleFrog and this was a neat one!

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“Suggestions Box”

As with any race, there are always ideas and suggestions we may offer up. BattleFrog provided a wonderful rinse-off station that was great and I enjoyed my hose-off. I recommend they consider a changing tent nearby at their next race to make the muddy-to-clean clothing transition a little easier for their participants. BattleFrog offers a fun festival area with SEAL demonstrations, kid events, and fitness contests which certainly helps justify the cost of spectator entrance, but even so, I still heard mention that the cost feels too high. Perhaps shaving even $5-10 off either between the spectator entrance fee and/or parking fee could encourage even more spectators to hand over their hard-earned money to attend the event to cheer on their racer.

A “2 Thumbs Up” Race Experience

BattleFrog advertised 32 obstacles for the 15K course and they delivered. From their brilliant use of natural terrain that had us slogging through murky bogs, sloshing down creekbeds, and rope-scrambling up near-vertical inclines, they once again created an extremely challenging course. This, paired with the unique man-made obstacles and clever use of tactile obstacles such as the water sprinklers made for a overall incredibly challenging and rewarding race experience and I look forward to the next BattleFrog race!

*Photos by GameFace Media

 

Screen-Shot-2014-06-04-at-3.06.57-PMShenoa Creer, a.k.a. ‘The Wolf’, is an avid OCR enthusiast who embraces all things deemed   challenging. When not representing ORM out on the race course, she might be seen running with one of her beloved weimaraners. Shenoa moves to her own cadence which coined her nickname. She loves the spirit and community uniquely found within obstacle course racing. 

BattleFrog Hits It Out of the Park Again

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We reviewed BattleFrog’s first race in Georgia at the end of May. We asked Allison Dacus to tell her about her experience at their next race which took place just a few weeks later in Winnsboro, South Carolina.  She volunteered all day and then ran the 15k  race in the afternoon.

Volunteers are one of the backbones of race events. Without their time, dedication, and willingness to serve fellow racers—events such as BattleFrog wouldn’t be able to take place. On June 21, 2014 (the first day of summer and the HOTTEST day of the year) I had the privilege of seeing a different side of the obstacle course race world—I became a volunteer!

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Being a volunteer allows you to see various sides of the event. You get to experience seeing your fellow peers crush their goals, you get to run at the end of the day in the volunteer waive—or choose a future event to run, you get to see the effort that goes in to building the event, you also see the tear down of the event, but most importantly you get to meet the epic people who dedicate their lives to Battle Frog!

The temperatures that day reached well in to the 90’s, which can put any one on their ass—throw in nine miles and 25+ obstacles and you’ve got the perfect recipe for dehydrated zombies! Needless to say water was key for the day! Water stations were spread out ALL over the course covering almost every mile, two miles at the most. I know this because I was a water barista at two different stations. Races I have done in the past tend to take water stations for granted and assume that you are conditioned enough to go four miles in between a drop of liquid…yeah right! At Battle Frog, they like to make sure their racers are taken care of!

The event arena was set up with everything you could ask for and MORE! As soon as you entered registration you walked directly through the merchandise tent to get into the main area. Smart move Battle Frog…smart move! I just HAD to purchase a Battle Frog headband because I felt like it was my right of passage to the other side!

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The music is always my favorite part! If you get me dancing and jumping around then you can pretty much guarantee I’ll run a good race! I suppose that’s why I had such a great time at Battle Frog. The event area was packed out with vendors that were actively involved with participants walking around their tents. The Seals helicopter was zooming overhead as large guns were being blasted throughout the day (I say large guns because I am a chick and I have no clue what type of guns they use…so large guns it is!). Kids were playing on large inflatable bouncy castles as parents got to meet with fellow racers. The aroma of good southern cooking was in the air with a tent full of tables packed out with hungry racers fresh off the course near by. You know you are at a great event when all you see are smiling faces atop of bodies that have obviously been through a battle zone.

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Now for the race itself…EPIC! I have participated in several obstacle course races this year and Battle Frog is the first to exceed my expectations as an OCR newbie. I have done several half marathons and I would like to think 13.1 miles has become easy for me. However, nine miles of trail—dirt—hills—rocks—stream—mud—and 25+ obstacles made by Navy Seals is a whole different story!

The venue and terrain was definitely used to its advantage. The first mile was just a taste of what the other eight would hold…straight torture! Ok, it wasn’t really torture. Yes, it was challenging and not for the faint at heart, but I am guessing if you showed up in the first place—you wanted a challenge!

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Hills that felt like mountains were around every corner. This made the obstacles feel like a breeze, which would have normally been strategically placed torture devices in my mind. Here is a taste of what some of the obstacles included paintball, log carry, rope climb, monkey bars, 45 degree wall, a Tyrollean rope traverse , and a cargo climb in the middle of the woods!

Bling makes the torture you just put yourself through all worth it! The Battle Frog race bling was just as amazing as the experience. My neck almost broke when the finish line girl put the medal around me! They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend; no sir…bling is a girl’s best friend!

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If you want an event that entertains the family, excites your inner badass, respects your well being, makes you smile in the face of pain, has amazing volunteers, and ultimately challenges you in ways you didn’t think you could ever overcome…then Battle Frog Obstacle Race Series is for you! End of Story.

 *Photos by GameFace Media and Allison Dacus