On Veterans Day Weekend Clearwater Beach will play host to a unique, adrenaline driven, non-stop action competition that's never been seen before in the Tampa Bay area.
The 2016 11th Warrior competition is set for Nov.12, with activities starting at 7:30 a.m. and lasting throughout the day and night. It's aimed to honor members of the military who fell in the line of duty.
David Sharpe, a U.S. Air Force veteran and founder of Companions for Heroes, and Benjamin Bunn, a former Green Beret and 11th Warrior Exhibitor Director, spoke with ABC Action News Weekend Morning Edition anchor Lindsay Logue about the event.
The event is designed to highlight how fitness and shelter animals can help veterans who suffer from PTSD and depression. Sharpe was diagnosed with PTSD and depression eight years after serving. He said his adopted rescue dog at the time saved his life.
At the event, wounded veterans, professional athletes and fitness enthusiasts will work out together and compete while raising money for Companions for Heroes, a non-profit organization that works to save shelter dogs and cats by pairing them with American heroes who are dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder and other combat-related stresses.
The event will kick-off with a parachute jump over Clearwater Beach followed by guest speakers. Veterans, athletes and fitness enthusiasts will then begin to demonstrate their skills in different heats. There also will be a K-9 demonstration by Clearwater Police Department and a SEALFIT Demo with visitors, giving people a "hands-on" feel as what it's like to train as a Navy SEAL.
Starting at 6 p.m. there will be a Rush Club competition, which is an in-your-face, one-on-one battle between veterans, athletes, rookies and fitness pros. The event is sometimes described as CrossFit meets UFC, without fighting or contact.
Instead participants go head-to-head in a hardcore, heart-pounding, endurance testing, arena match to see who is the strongest.
This year's event will pay tribute to U.S. Navy Seal (Seal Team 6) Jason Freiwald, who was killed in action on Sept. 11, 2008. His wife, daughter, parents and younger brother, who also is a Navy Seal), plan to attend the weekend's events.
In honor of Freiwald, event organizers have designed a "HERO WOD" (Workout of the Day), which will feature a swim to honor all Navy Seals, past, present and future. Details of the "HERO WOD" won't be revealed until the week of the event.
To get more information about the 11th Warrior, visit its web site 11thWarrior.com. To learn more and see what Rush Club is all about, visit rushclubnation.com.