University of Wyoming ROTC cadets, and Wyoming Army National Guard soldiers, Chelsee and Chris Dellinger didn’t know anything about biathlon when they got married five years ago, but now the sport is a big part of their daily life together.
Chelsee, assigned to the Wyoming National Guard’s Medical Detachment, was employed for a temporary position at the Joint Forces Readiness Center, in Cheyenne, last summer, and one day while working out in the gym, struck up a conversation about biathlon with Chief Warrant Officer 4 David Roberts, a six-year member of the Wyoming National Guard’s biathlon team. He suggested she join the team.
“I told him I’d never skied before, and he said, ‘that’s okay, that’s why they have a training camp,’” Chelsee related.
Chris said she came home that day very excited about the proposal.
“She told me about the idea, and I said, ‘We have to do it.’”
Shortly thereafter, the couple found themselves at the National Guard’s Biathlon Training Facility at Camp Ethan Allen, Vermont, learning to ski and to shoot at targets with a .22-caliber rifle.
“It was intense,” Chris said of the week-long school. “We had morning and afternoon workouts every day.”
“I love it. It’s awesome,” he said. “We both got hooked. I may be a little over the top about it.”
Leading up to this week’s National Guard Western Regional Biathlon competition, at the Casper Mountain Biathlon facility, the couple has worked out daily on their own and with the team once a week.
“The Laramie Rifle Range lets us practice shooting there, and we ski with the team at Happy Jack recreation area,” Chris said. “It’s definitely improved our (Army Physical Fitness Test) scores and our marksmanship scores should improve too.”
Chris said he’s glad to have this new hobby, and especially one he and his wife can do together. He was a swimmer in high school and college, as was Chelsee, who also played tennis. Now they can compete again.
“We had a shooting race this morning,” he said before being loudly interrupted by his wife who was exclaiming, “I won!”
Roberts said he is pleased to have the new teammates and is glad his constant biathlon recruiting efforts have paid off again.
“When I started, it was just me,” the 32-year Guard veteran said, “now we have about eight that are consistent and core team members.”