Two teams will compete in the Wild Canyon Games this weekend

by: MELISSA BOWERMAN PHOTO - Taylor Welsh crosses a water obstacle during last year's Wild Canyon games. Two teams from Madras will participate in this year's event.With the high school sports season nearing its end and schools letting out for the summer, now is the perfect time for students to rest and relax. Or they could choose to push themselves to physical and mental levels they never though achievable.

For 14 athletes from Madras High, they will take the latter.

So as the weather warms and most kids kick back, Elle Renault and Taylor Welsh will captain seven-member team at this weekend’s Wild Canyon Games outside of Antelope. At the three-day event, which begins Friday and runs through Sunday at the Washington Family Ranch, they will take part in an adventure race that combines a triathlon, geocaching, challenge events and more, earning points along the way for their team.

It may sound like fun, but it is some of the most physical and mental stress anyone can go through. And that is the draw.

“Being able to say you did,” Welsh said. “I mean, how many other high schoolers can they did this?”

Welsh, a senior at Madras who competed last year, will captain a team that includes Cheyenne Duncan, Dakota Kerbow, Fredy Povis-Ruiz, Miklo Hernandez, Victor Bonilla and Ian Goodwin. Renault, who also took part last year, will lead a team comprised of Drake Anderson, Michael Rodriguez, Samuel Coyle-Miller, Gregg Vineyard, Julius Bagley and Hayden Manu.

Saturday’s main event is a triathlon that will have three team members competing in a single event, a 1-mile swim, a 15-mile bike ride over rough terrain, and a 10K run. The other four members will go off into the Oregon desert in teams of two geochasing.

While the triathlon course is tough, the geochasing grid is the largest in the world, featuring more than 1,000 caches hidden across 55 square miles of terrain.

The challenge sees team members tackle individual obstacles, like a zip line, cliff jump, blob tower or adventure course. The final event is the creek-2-peak, that features seven different challenges.

The event is populated with businesses using it as a team-building session, military teams and professional teams from Nike. Last year the kids from Madras were one of two teams made up of high school-aged competitors.

One reason there are so few teenagers competing is the cost. The Madras group wouldn’t be going if not for the sponsorship they get from Melissa Bowerman.

And second reason, Welsh said, is most of the younger crowd underestimates how hard it is and doesn’t see the value of competing in it.

“I thought it was going to be easy,” Welsh said. “And it is not easy. It goes from being physically painful to being mental. You want to quit because it’s hard, but you can’t quit. “

Hernandez, who will compete for the first time, said it will be one of the most mentally challenging things will attempt.

“The worst part, mentally, is getting back up the next day after you are drained,” Renault said. “You are so sore, your eyelashes hurt.”

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