Aflac Outdoor Games Media Challenge

By Taylor Barnhill  - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The STIHL Timbersports series takes place this weekend at the Aflac Outdoor Games, but before the event begins, organizers invited a few of News Leader Nine's very own to try out the sports.

The two representatives from News Leader Nine are Meteorologist Derek Kinkade and Reporter Taylor Barnhill. They competed in the vertical pole climb and the boom run.

The Aflac Corporate Sponsorship Manager, Tracy Martin-Immelman told the competitors, "I think it's important to try it. Last year I tried the boom run and pole climb and it lets you understand how the athletes train and are physically fit. It's more challenging than you think so it gives you good insight."

The first event was the vertical pole climb. Derek Kinkade's thoughts on the challenge, "The pole? I don't know. I may cry like a little girl and not even make it up there."

But Gino Cummings, a Professional Speed Climber, had more faith, "It's all your body weight going straight up these poles. It's a 60 foot climb and anybody can climb these poles, but coming down... You've got to know what you're doing."

"We certainly didn't know what we're getting ourselves into. If I take two steps, I'll be happy," said Taylor Barnhill. She made it about 6 feet up the pole. And Derek made it a shocking 20 feet!

The next challenge was taking on the boom-run which is a series of logs floating on water.

"These challenges never turn out well on my end but we'll see how it goes. I expect to get sweaty and wet from falling off these logs," said Kinkade. Barnhill shared that idea, "It's pretty hot out here. I actually don't mind if I fall in the water."

World Champion Boom Runners, Jenny Atkinson and Shana Martin offered quite a few words of encouragement, "Don't worry about what's happening behind you, just sprint. Have no fear. Don't you think just running as fast as you can is best?" Martin added, "Very fast, but be careful. Make that imaginary line because obviously if you step on the side of that log its going to spin and you'll be in the water."

After it was all said and done Barnhill said, "I won't be competing professionally anytime soon, but I've definitely gained a whole new respect for these athletes."