Veterans try their hands at bobsledding
Last week, disabled veterans from around the country came to Salt Lake City for the National Veterans Wheelchair Games, which end on Saturday. Competitions included wheelchair basketball, rugby, table tennis, bocce ball, bowling and more.
On Wednesday morning, a select few veterans got the opportunity to come to the Utah Olympic Park to take part in a bobsled exhibition event.
Racing down the concrete sliding track in a Comet bobsled, three veterans rode at a time, with a UOP bobsled pilot navigating the course.
Air Force veteran Dale Haugen said nothing was going to stop him from participating in the bobsled exhibition.
“When I saw it on our paperwork, I said, ‘I’m going,’ and I put that paperwork through so fast,” he said. “I thought it was going to be a bumpy ride, but it was awesome. You come around one curve and you’re already in another.”
Robert Fecteau, a former Army medic who served in Afghanistan, rode at the back of the sled and said he enjoyed the unique experience.
“I’m just an adrenaline junkie — I had to do it,” he said. “When they had the opportunity for us, of course I was going to take it. It was a little more intense than I thought it’d be. The first turn sucked the wind out of me and I realized we were going to be in for a good ride. The G forces were strong. It felt fast and it felt like it was almost over before it even started.”
Though UOP bobsled driver Jeff Price has made numerous trips down the track, the group of Fecteau, Haugen and Navy veteran Sharona Young had never experienced the sport. Young said the track’s intense curves had her holding on tight.
“I just wanted to try something new, something different,” she said. “It was a good surprise. I was just trying to make sure I didn’t fly out of there.”
After the ride concluded, Young, Haugen and Fecteau all said it was a great experience and that they’d ride again if given the opportunity.
“I’d do it again, definitely,” Haugen said. “It was terrific.”
“I’m ready to go again right now,” Fecteau laughed.
The National Veterans Wheelchair Games closing ceremony will be held on Saturday night in Salt Lake City. For more information, visit HYPERLINK “http://www.wheelchairgames.org” http://www.wheelchairgames.org.
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