Schriever goes big for base picnic

  • Published
  • 50th Space Wing Public Affairs

“Go big or go home.”

The proverbial saying rang true during the Summer Slam Base Picnic Friday, at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado.

The 50th Force Support Squadron led the annual event, offering a full day of recreational activities for attendees.

“We hold the base summer slam picnic, as well as our other events, to provide quality of life for our Schriever Air Force Base community, the Airmen and their families. This year, we’ve added a lot more bang to this specific event. Just a number of activities and events for the families to enjoy, so I think it went splendidly,” said Maj. Merrell Mobley, 50 FSS commander.

The day kicked off with a family fun run and a new addition to the yearly festivities - a Knockerball tournament.

Knockerball is a soccer game consisting of two five-person teams inside large inflatable spheres that protect players from heavy impacts while playing. Out of the seven different 50th Space Wing units that faced-off, the 1st Space Operations Squadron emerged victorious.

“It was awesome - playing Knockerball was a very different experience. It was more like running around and trying to not get clobbered too badly. Our team was more excited about getting more play time. Every game we won meant we got to play more,” Capt. Adam Hockert, 1 SOPS Standardization and Evaluation flight commander.

The tournament was one of the first introductions many Schriever members had to the game.

“We’re really excited that we get the chance to sign out the Knockerball equipment for future squadron (physical trainings),” said Hockert.

Families enjoyed interacting and taking pictures with animals during camel and elephant rides. After a ride, kids could run into the base fitness center to jump in inflatable bounce houses or get their faces painted.

The popular dunk booth once again invited participants to step up and try their hand at getting some lucky (or unlucky) individuals soaked - including 50th Space Wing leadership.

Those looking for a more mental challenge headed into the Mystery Escape Room, where groups solved puzzles to escape a “locked” room in less than one hour.

Dozens of sponsors and base support offices lined the indoor running track with booths offering free giveaways, information and interactive activities for picnic attendees to win prizes.

“We’d like to thank all the commercial sponsorship for their support and generosity for this event. We couldn’t execute these types of events without their support,” said Mobley.

Another newcomer to the base picnic, the mechanical bull, created long lines of determined attendees to see who had the moxie to be the best Schriever rider.

Second Lt. Walker Fickling, 50 FSS resource advisor, was crowned the 2016 Schriever mechanical bull riding champion with a 36-second ride.

“It was pretty exhilarating, there’s nothing quite like it. It started off kind of slow and then it got faster and faster and I was wondering if I could hold on and before I knew it, the whole world was spinning and I was on the ground looking up at the sky. I’ve ridden a mechanical bull a few times but I guess it was just a technique I’ve developed. You’ve just got a grip it and rip it,” laughed Fickling.

Team Schriever members and their families enjoyed lunch under a massive tent to beat the heat while listening to live music from the U.S. Air Force Academy band – Wild Blue Country.

Wayne Kingsbury, 50 FSS Manpower and Personnel Flight chief, explained the vital role base volunteers played during the day.

“We can’t put on these kinds of events without volunteers from across the installation. This year was a good year, we had lots of volunteers, specifically for tear down – we had a great turn out. It was done in record time. We can’t thank them enough,” he said.

Mobley shared his personal success gauge for any 50 FSS event is found in those his squadron serves.

“My litmus test, whenever we’re having these events, is just to take a look at the faces of the kids who are attending. To see the kids smiling, having a good time and engaging with their families as well as giving the military member their time to decompress and build upon the resiliency that is so important in today’s military – that makes it all worth it,” said Mobley.