First Responders Compete in Inaugural Rastin Challenge

rastin2016See photos by Bostic Imagery...
See photos by Katie J Photography...

The Mount Vernon Fire and Police Departments, along with the Foundation Park Conservancy, hosted the inaugural Rastin Challenge at Ariel-Foundation Park on Saturday, Sept. 3. The event showcased and celebrated first responders from central Ohio.

Winners received $500, $250 or $100 for first, second and third places, respectively, to be used for their departments. Individual prizes, valued over $2,000, were also awarded. Finally, a scholarship fund will be started from event proceeds for a Knox County student seeking a career as a first responder or for  a current first responder wishing to advance his/her credentials.

The Rastin Challenge included a climb of 224 steps spanning 140 vertical feet around an external staircase wrapped around a historic smokestack in full firefighting gear. Winners include: first place, Mount Vernon Fire Department Team 1 (Chad Elser, Jared McCann, Anthony Weisent and Justin Wilt), second place, Mount Vernon Fire Department Team 2(Chad Chenault, Erick Risher, Nicholas Kidd and Jonathan Mooney), and third place, Whitehall Fire Department (Drew Glenn, Jeff Grossman, Pete Richison and Mark Simpson).

The Firefighting Combat Challenge included climbing stairs while carrying a 50 lb. hose pack, a forcible entry simulator, dragging a charged hose line and dragging a life-size 165 lb. mannequin 100 feet. Winners include: first place, Whitehall Fire Department (as mentioned above); second place, Mount Vernon Fire Department Team 1 (as mentioned above);t hird place, Mount Vernon Fire Department Team 2 (as mentioned above).

“This was an incredible event for our first year,” said Mount Vernon Fire Chief Chad Christopher. “It was very rewarding to know so many local individuals and businesses helped make this event possible. Our participants had a great time and plan to compete again next year.”

The law enforcement Tactical Obstacle Course included a variety of physical challenges such as pull up bar, a dummy drag, weight carry, wall climb, water jump, and more. Winners include: first place, Mansfield SWAT (Mike Haines, Rich Miller, Chris Rahall and Paul Webb); second place, Mount Vernon ESU (Aaron Collins, Kyle Theibert, Mike Wheeler and Rex Young); third place, Mount Vernon Patrol (David McElroy, Josh Kirby, Sarah Wheeler and Justin Willis).

Winners in the Police Bicycle Competition include: first place, Adrian Foust of Delaware Police Department; second place, Nick Holdren of Mount Vernon Police Department; and third place, Qade Lewis of MVPD.

“We know this event will just continue to grow in future years. Many teams told us they plan to come back next year with multiple teams,” commented Roger Monroe, Mount Vernon Police Chief. “A lot of community and family members came to watch and support the teams. It meant a lot to us.”

The Mount Vernon YMCA led several youth challenges including push ups, pull ups, sit ups, broad jump, terrace climb and burpees. Winners of these challenges included Jonas Bostic, Dravon Coscia, Audrey Stuller, Bekim Oelkers, Brodie Wheeler, Emma Wheeler, Amelia Martin and Ellie Martin.

Next year’s event date is tentatively set for Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, at Ariel-Foundation Park.

Readers can learn more about the park at or by following Ariel-Foundation Park on Facebook.


Park Info



 Ariel-Foundation Park, located in Mount Vernon, Ohio, is a 250-acre civic park that offers a one-of-a-kind experience for visitors of all ages.

Visiting Hours

Ariel-Foundation Park is officially open April 1 through November 15. Some areas of the park are accessible to pedestrians year-round. Daily hours of operation are 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. There are no admissions or parking fees. The Rastin Observation Tower, park museum, picnic pavillions, trails and other park features are free and open to the public. The Rastin Observation Tower is open during winter months, as long as weather allows.

Contact Us

Foundation Park Conservancy
P.O. Box 644, Mount Vernon, OH 43050
[email protected]

Mount Vernon City Parks Department
1700 Old Delaware Road, Mount Vernon, OH 43050
[email protected]

Back to top