"It's everything," says SSG Kevin Alan Hopson, a Best Warrior Competitor. "It's one of those things when you're studying for, you're like what do you study?"
SSG Kevin Alan Hopson is no stranger to competition. After competing in the lower levels of the competition for several years, in October, he will compete in the Army-wide contest.
That's you're in front of the Sergeant Major of the Army," SSG Hopson says. "There's no bigger competition than this one."
And when he says it's everything, he's not kidding.
"It's weapons assembly, disassembly, or leading soldiers in mock-combat situations," SSG Hopson says. "You're going in front of a review board testing you on regulations you maybe haven't seen...We're reacting to indirect fire, applying a tourniquet to a severed extremity....Those are things that I actually did in a deployed environment."
After spending time in both Iraq and Afghanistan, SSG Hopson feels prepared.
"We were embed trainers," SSG Hopson says. "That means we actually lived at some of the Iraq and Afghanistan police stations and so they would be hot targets for trying to fire mortars on so we would have to react to that indirect fire and take cover and then you react afterwards and try to stop that fire from going on."
Now, he is working hard, trying to get a leg up on the competition.
"It's a lot of running, I've been running a lot of hills, I know the one thing I have to improve are my quads," SSG Hopson says. "They're one of the sorest things right now. So I've been doing a lot of hill running, stair running, lunges. Then I've also incorporated a little more strength training in the gym to try to build up some of those muscles."
But the best warrior competition isn't just about strength or speed.
"There's just so much mental into it and I think that's what make these competitions tough," SSG Hopson says. "There's the physical to try and throw you off mentally but you have to, regardless of how tired you are physically, your mental game still has to be there."
The best warrior competition will be held October 6th in Fort Lee, VA. But even if he wins, that won't be the end for him.
"Just one competition wouldn't be enough," SSG Hopson says. "I'm ready to hit two in a row."
Because he has the heart of a warrior.
"I won't stop until I am the best I can possibly do at them," SSG Hopson says.
Staff Sergeant Hopson tells us he once won a different type of competition that he doesn't really like to brag about. To hear him tell that story, watch this web extra.
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