U.S. 5TH FLEET AREA OF RESPONSIBILITY
- Sailors and Marines aboard amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu (LHA 5) participated in the Campbell’s Cup Sumo Challenge, Jan. 6.
The Campbell’s Cup Tournament is a deployment-long competition between teams of Sailors and Marines from around the ship. The tournament challenges the teams to feats of strength and stamina like the Sumo Challenge and the Pull-Up Competition that took place in late November.
The Sumo Challenge, which was sponsored by Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR), had 16 contenders battling for the title of, “Sumo Master.” The participants included officers and enlisted service members from different divisions throughout the ship.
The tournament ran off a bracket system where the winner from each match moved on to the next level. To win a match, one contestant had to win two out of three rounds by either throwing or knocking their opponent to the ground or, in some cases, push them off the mat.
“We had the rules set up specifically, and we said, ‘Ok, this is how the rules are going to be,’ but the crowd was not ok with just pushing out of bounds,” said Electronics Technician 3rd Class Andrew Hoyt, master of ceremonies for the event. “They wanted to see people go down. So, as the person running it and being the MC, you have to give the people what they want.”
Hoyt is also a part of the MWR committee that helped coordinate the competition.
Hoyt added, “This is for the crowd. This is for the people. If they want a contest where out of bounds does not count and you have to bring them to the ground, then I’m not going be the guy telling them no.”
“The original point [of the Sumo Challenge] was overall just to have a lot of fun, bring people out, and get them out of their workspaces,” said Hoyt. Judging by the size of the crowd, the competition did just that. The turnout was more than anyone expected.
“It was really surprising to me that so many people showed up. We had an entire division, the AOs [aviation ordnancemen], that came out,” said Aviation Support Equipment Technician 3rd Class Maurice Williams, another MWR committee member that helped plan the event. “We even had a couple of engineers that came up, and a few officers. I felt great about this event. I think we pleased everybody.”
Aviation Ordnanceman 3rd Class Heather Zicopula “sumo-ed” in the first match of the evening.
“It was awesome. You really felt a part of the ship jumping into one of those big giant suits. I felt bonded to everybody here,” said Zicopula.
Zicopula said she’s been to other MWR events, but she has never participated before. “You can definitely tell there’s been a bigger turnout. Everybody is starting to get into a routine and get bored so they’re trying to find ways to socialize.”
Williams and Hoyt said they are excited for the future MWR events they are planning. Some of the events in the works include the Peleliu Derby Boxcar Race, a 3-on-3 basketball tournament, and a Magic the Gathering™ fantasy card game tournament.
The MWR committee recognizes that it will be a lot of work to organize these events and come up with new ideas to keep things from getting boring, but Williams said he’s not afraid of a little extra work.
“At the end of the day, it’s not work to us,” said Williams. “What we do and what we try to give to the Sailors and Marines here on the ship it’s not work. We thoroughly enjoy it and that’s why we consistently try to crank out new ideas and keep it fresh and exciting.”
Hoyt and Williams said they hope to see more new faces at the MWR events in the future.
Peleliu is the flagship for the Peleliu Amphibious Ready Group and, with the embarked 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, is deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.