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NMSU ROTC to battle UNM in 2nd Commander Cup Challenge

Saturday's football game won't be the only rivalry between the University of New Mexico and New Mexico State University. NMSU's Army and Air Force ROTC cadets are hoping to beat out UNM's Air Force ROTC to win the Commander Cup Challenge on as well.

The event that was started between the two school's ROTC programs last year will commence at 11 a.m., with both schools' cadets competing for the Commanders' Challenge Cup and bragging rights. In last year's event, NMSU's Army ROTC took home the cup.

"This is another great example of the interstate rivalry," ROTC Air Force Capt. David Myers said. "The cup was created locally and we want to keep it here. We don't want it to travel up to UNM."

The Challenge consists of a mini-triathlon that includes a 5K run, eight-and-a-half-mile bike ride, and 750-meter swim. UNM and NMSU cadets also will compete in a volleyball, ultimate Frisbee and flag football games, a tug-of-war, push-up and sit-up contests and a combat relay.

An awards ceremony will wrap up the Challenge immediately followed by the rival teams holding a joint tailgate before the football game.

"Both NMSU and UNM ROTC share the same mission and spirit, but the rivalry makes it fun," ROTC Air Force Lt. Col. Andrew Taylor said. "It's a good way to strengthen the ties and bonds we share with UNM."

It will be a busy day for NMSU's ROTC. In addition to the Challenge, cadets will participate in a 5K run at 8 a.m. and will have their usual push-up crew on the field at the football game, as well as cadets helping out in the concession stands. To complete the I-25 rivalry and tie into the "Aggies Are Tough Enough to Wear Pink" campaign, the TETWP committee will fire the cannon to start the football game.