Airmen flip for charity

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Lauren Pitts
  • Minot Air Force Base Public Affairs
What originally began as a dream workout, changed to working out a dream when Airmen from the base here had the idea for the ultimate CrossFit challenge: Flipping an 800-pound tire 11 miles to raise money for wounded veterans.

"My goal was to flip the tire downtown," said Staff Sgt. Cody Lytle, who is assigned to the 5th Operations Support Squadron. "Everyone thought it was silly. But I thought, why not?"

The idea for the tire-flip started with Lytle, a CrossFit enthusiast, looking for a more challenging workout.

"I always loved challenges," Lytle said.

Whenever somebody says something is impossible, he said he sets on a journey to make it happen.

As time went on, and the idea for the tire-flip continued to grow more support, Airmen and members of CrossFit at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., helped turn the dream into reality and turned the event into a fundraiser for the Wounded Warrior Project through the Clebe McClary Association.

For Lytle and everyone interested in the challenge, the idea of helping to raise money in conjunction with a great workout made everything better.

"I can achieve my goal of flipping the tire, and we can raise money for a great cause," Lytle said. "It was too perfect."

For $5, participants could flip as much as they wanted, for as long as they wanted, until they reached the finish line.

The tire flip challenge began July 13 and opened to anyone who wanted to join in at any time. Starting at 6 a.m. at the base's main gate, Lytle and a few of his friends began the 10.7 mile-long mission. It wasn't long before more and more people began to show up ready for the challenge.

Lytle predicted approximately 15 people would stay the entire time, and assumed everyone would leave as the afternoon dragged out. That was not the case.

"There were at least 20 to 30 people there the whole time, always pushing," Lytle said. "If somebody left, somehow, someone would always come back."

The only rules to the challenge were to stay on the shoulder of the highway, stay hydrated and never flip alone.

"Every time someone new came in, I approached them, introduced myself, and then I flipped the tire with them to show them the proper techniques," Lytle said. "No one got hurt, and the tire never failed us. There was always a flip on that tire."

It took a total of 82 people to flip the tire 6,890 times down the stretch of highway and only 13 hours and 21 minutes to complete. This was half the estimated completion time. The efforts raised approximately $4,000.

"You could see the emotion on everyone's faces," Lytle said. "Hitting that road was a dream come true."

Aside from being an ultimate cross fit challenge, the tire flip was a huge community builder.

"There were military, civilians, oil workers, farmers, you name was a team effort," Lytle said.

This opportunity to raise money for a foundation such as the Clebe McClary Association brought the members of the Minot AFB community together in one of the finest examples of the wingman concept.

"Out of everyone flipping the tire, if one person got tired and needed a break, someone else had to have to take over," Lytle said. "It was a huge team building exercise. If you want to talk about teamwork, that was it right there."