(Lawrence, Ks., April 9, 2023) – The 27th Edition of KU’s Ranger Buddy Competition was held at Clinton Lake on Saturday 8 April. 170 two-person teams from 43 separate universities from across the country closed on Lawrence to determine which teams had the grit and skill to compete and win in a grueling competition.

As in past editions, the competition began with a 15km ruck run: the cadets had to carry a 35lbs ruck, a rifle, and water for hydration over varying terrain. The famed Clinton Lake trail network proved decisive for this phase of the competition and the head of the race was steadily whittled down over the trails covered in exposed roots and rocks. The teams then immediately navigated 15 separate military skills: among other tasks, they disassembled and reassembled various weapons, performed first aid, read military topographical maps, called for medical evacuations, and employed claymores and hand grenades. The event closed with a 5km cross-country run that finished with a 135lbs sled drag. 

This was, according to several cadets interviewed for this story, a “total smoke fest.” The winning teams in each division came across the finish line between six and seven hours after starting; the rest of the pack took much longer. In all cases, though, cadets who participated felt a sense of accomplishment in finishing the tough event.   

“My team didn’t win, but I learned a lot about how hard I could push myself,” said Cadet Schuster from the University of North Dakota.  

Though teams from as far afield as Rhode Island competed in the event, the winners in each of the divisions came from closer to home. The Co-Ed division was won by Cadet Novak and Cadet Novak – a husband and wife team from Liberty University (Lynchburg, Virginia). The women’s division was won by Cadets Bain and Nunnery from Marquette University (Milwaukee, Wisconsin). Finally, the men’s division was won by Cadet Luke Rogers and Cadet Delton Larson from the University of Kansas. For the second year in a row, the University of Minnesota- Twin Cities won the overall – comprised of the top scores of their teams across all divisions.

The overall winner of the competition received a trophy, and a much-coveted streamer for their battalion flag, and a guaranteed slot for a cadet in their program to attend Airborne School in Fort Benning, Georgia. 

Colonel Finch, the Professor of Military Science at KU had this to say: “At the end of the day, everyone here wins: the cadets get superb training, the cadre get to plan a complex event, and we all get to interact with people from the community who may not know what ROTC is or that ROTC will pay for school and offer a fantastic job when the cadets graduate. All in all, a fantastic event. And you just can’t beat this weather.”

This event would not have been possible without support from the City of Lawrence, US Army Cadet Command, and the Kansas Army National Guard.

The University of Kansas Jayhawk Battalion recruits, develops, and commissions quality talent who are dedicated, motivated, and resilient to develop the next generation of agile and adaptive leaders of character who are prepared to lead teams and win in a complex world.