By Richard Rhinehart
Charlotte, North Carolina, February 5, 2016 – Two fresh videos from national non-profit World T.E.A.M. Sports document the excitement and inspiration of the organization’s inclusive Adventure Team Challenge events in Colorado and in North Carolina. These events, hosted in Colorado in September and in North Carolina in November 2015, brought together teams of disabled and able-bodied athletes for an outdoor adventure race in which all team members equally contribute.
Success at the Adventure Team Challenge is measured not so much by which team crosses the finish line first, but by how the team members work together to solve challenges. In each team of five athletes, two have disabilities, one being a wheelchair user. All team members are required to complete each stage, including river rafting, off-road bicycling, ropes courses, rock climbing and orienteering.
For many of the participating athletes with disabilities, the Challenge is their first time in venturing into the outdoors and undertaking challenging sports. Disabilities for the participating military veteran and civilian athletes ranged from amputation to post-traumatic stress to paralysis to traumatic brain injuries.
Filmmaker Victor Henderson, who created the short video documenting September’s Challenge in Colorado’s high Gore Mountain Range northeast of Eagle, is a past World T.E.A.M. Sports participant. In June 2014, he rode a tandem bicycle with blind Army veteran Steve Baskis from Ottawa, Ontario to Washington, D.C. as a member of the CanAm Veterans’ Challenge. Baskis also rode the organization’s popular Face of America bicycle and hand cycle ride from Washington to Gettysburg in April 2014.
Having served four years in the U.S. Marine Corps and six years in the U.S. Navy, Henderson currently works as Chief Operating Officer for the Blind Endeavors Foundation in Bloomington, Illinois. This non-profit organization, founded by Baskis and Henderson, raises awareness through adventure and exploration for persons with physical and mental disabilities. Through his organization, Henderson volunteered in 2014 and again in 2015 to video document the Adventure Team Challenge in Colorado. His video explores what athletes “get themselves into” when participating in the Challenge.
For the organization’s inaugural Challenge at the U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, presented by MetLife, filmmaker Kate Hoof focused her video on the comradery of the event and the fascinating stories of the contributing athletes.
A Richmond, Virginia high school teacher of English, journalism and video production, Hoof freelances in video. “I began by producing video stories about the people I met during my overseas summer adventures for use in history and geography classrooms,” she explained. “This morphed into freelancing for non-profits in the Richmond and D.C. areas. These opportunities have taken me across the U.S. and to Egypt, Japan, Malaysia, Cambodia and Singapore.”
For the Challenge, Hoof was impressed by the athletic and mental challenges of the event. “I could produce a thousand videos on the athletes’ compelling stories and their motivations for participating in this event,” she said.
World T.E.A.M. Sports’ Adventure Team Challenge Colorado returns in September, to be hosted in the Grand Junction region. The North Carolina Challenge is anticipated to return in October.
The 2015 Adventure Team Challenge Colorado was supported through sponsors and partners including American Portfolios Financial Services, Audubon Orthotic & Prosthetic Services, Deven’s Recycling, Pearl Meyer & Partners, Skanska USA, TimeCapital and Timberline Sports. Additional financial support was provided by Jim Noland, George Puskar and James Benson.
World T.E.A.M. Sports’ 2015 Adventure Team Challenge North Carolina was presented by MetLife and supported through sponsors and partners including American Portfolios Financial Services, American Airlines, Penske Truck Rentals and TimeCapital. Additional financial support was provided by George Puskar.