So what are the differences between the
ARMY RAIDER CHAMPIONSHIPS
and the
ALL-SERVICE
RAIDER CHALLENGE CHAMPIONSHIPS?

The Army National Raider Championships and the National Raider Challenge Championships certainly maintain many similarities. In fact, the events share so many similarities, they are far more similar than they are different for sure!

Both events are held at the same facility on many of the same courses during the same weekend in November! Both events are hosted by national youth event manager Sports Network International and entered through the same system from within the same website structure. Cedar Shoals H.S. will serve as the ground crew to ready the competition site for both events. Both events represent fantastic, first-class, well-attended high school, JROTC Raider championship competitions designed to provide competitive, arduous, exacting events that will require skill, maximum effort and a bit of good fortune to be a top finisher. Both events have exceptional extras with gorgeous trophies, shirts, medallions, team photos and other nice extras to reward the finest Raider teams in the nation for their efforts win or lose.

So the question remains, "WHAT ARE THE BIG DIFFERENCES"?

Army Champs

Well, first the Army Raider Challenge Championships are of course ONLY for Army schools. Both the U.S. Army Cadet Command and the Georgia National Guard sponsor the Army Championships. In doing this, Army units receive a complete refund of their school registration fees by the U.S. Army Cadet Command. This does not happen in the all-service Championships - the Army units who choose to enter do not receive any refund of monies paid for this competition.

Currently, the fact is that Army JROTC leads the nation in both the depth of teams and cadets involved in Raider, and by far from what we have seen in competitions throughout the southeastern United States, they currently have the most talented teams as well. This is due to many factors but the biggest two factors remain THEY COMPETE AT 7-8 RAIDER COMPETITIONS A YEAR WHICH IS FAR MORE THAN MOST AGAINST GREAT SCHOOLS EVENT WEEK and THEY HAVE BEEN DOING IT FOR DECADES whereas most other programs have not! The Raider Challenge Championships were designed to accept and compete teams from ALL SERVICES to better allow these teams to compete and continue to raise the bar of excellence which now firmly stands on the mantle of the Army JROTC Raider teams. Several fine Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force units in the nation have Raider teams and going forward, we foresee these programs continuing to improve each each year and soon being able to compete with the best programs from the Army or any service. Failing to have the all-service competition, these teams would be "shutout" from attending this long standing home of Raider excellence. The All-Service Raider Challenge Championships make sure all quality, motivated programs have a home at the finest raider facility and the finest Raider competition east of the Mississippi!

The Army Championships will maintain 80 teams and is held over a two-day period. The Raider Challenge Championships are designed to host 45 schools in their first year and is held on a single day of competition. As have been the history of Sports Network International competitions, the inaugural event is designed to have a modest, manageable number of both teams and cadets to ensure all teams have a smooth event that runs on time with minimal glitches. As the event grows in stature and we can see the intended and unintended issues that are faced having two events adjacent to each other, we will modestly expand. This will be much like the Challenge and Masters Levels of the popular National High School Drill Team Championships in Daytona Beach, Florida did several decades ago.

Raider Gauntlet Tunnels

Competition-wise, there are a few minor differences. The Army Championships maintain five competition events vs. four events for the Raider Challenge Championships (No Cross-Country Rescue); 2)while Rope Bridge and Physical Team Test are identical, minor modifications have been made to both the Team Run (5K vs. 3-Miles - very minor reduction) and the Gauntlet Course (no wall is used at the Raider Challenge Championships for the 2015 competition). However, with vaults, tunnels, and tires in play, it remains no cakewalk! The Army event maintains National Guard soldiers who volunteer a drill weekend to judge the efforts of the Army cadets. The Raider Challenge Championships will maintain active and retired Army JROTC instructors to both administer the events, as well as conduct interesting mini-labs for each event during the lunch break for the Raider Challenge Championship teams to discuss and learn from many of the finest Raider teams in the country. At both events, cadets will provide support to ensure course layouts are followed and supervision is maintained while teams compete along the course in case of accident or injury.

Of course, a few non competition items are different as well. While the paperwork is nearly identical, Raider Challenge Championship teams pay a slightly different fee to enter the competition. Also, they MUST have transportation to get from the far side of the camp to the near side during the day should they desire to camp on-site. The trophies for both events will be impressive but will differ in color. Both events will have their own event shirt design and event medal design. Of course both will have their own champions! Also, no school will gain a significant advantage should they look to enter a team into both events because no Army cadets entering this Raider Challenge Championship may compete in any manner for any team entered within the Army Raider Championships the following day.

Bottom line, we know both events will provide the fantastic, competitive homes they are designed to maintain. Army schools who feel they best compete against all-service competition can elect to attend the Raider Challenge Championships. Army teams that have historically finished near the bottom of the standings in their competition division will likely be urged to attend the Raider Challenge Championships to ensure competition spaces remain open in the Army Championships for teams that have a better chance of trophy finish possibilities. This type of balanced approach to competition entry should do nothing but make the competitions more spirited, more evenly balanced, and give all cadets a home to show their talent.


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