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Sgt. Rick Weaver, 1450th Transportation Company, works on clearing the table during the championship pool match at the Zone I Community Center on Camp Arifjan. Weaver won the match, which was part of Morale, Welfare and Recreation's game night in celebration of the Fourth of July.

Sgt. Rick Weaver, 1450th Transportation Company, works on clearing the table during the championship pool match at the Zone I Community Center on Camp Arifjan. Weaver won the match, which was part of Morale, Welfare and Recreation's game night in celebration of the Fourth of July. (Fred Zimmerman / S&S)

Sgt. Rick Weaver, 1450th Transportation Company, works on clearing the table during the championship pool match at the Zone I Community Center on Camp Arifjan. Weaver won the match, which was part of Morale, Welfare and Recreation's game night in celebration of the Fourth of July.

Sgt. Rick Weaver, 1450th Transportation Company, works on clearing the table during the championship pool match at the Zone I Community Center on Camp Arifjan. Weaver won the match, which was part of Morale, Welfare and Recreation's game night in celebration of the Fourth of July. (Fred Zimmerman / S&S)

Sgt. 1st Class Maurice Elekwachi of the 32nd Transportation Company serves during a game of table tennis Saturday night at the Camp Arifjan Zone I Community Center. Elekwachi won the tournament, conducted by Morale, Welfare and Recreation organizers as part of a July Fourth holiday game night.

Sgt. 1st Class Maurice Elekwachi of the 32nd Transportation Company serves during a game of table tennis Saturday night at the Camp Arifjan Zone I Community Center. Elekwachi won the tournament, conducted by Morale, Welfare and Recreation organizers as part of a July Fourth holiday game night. (Fred Zimmerman / S&S)

CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait — U.S. troops here celebrated the Fourth of July with an array of games and competitions, including an all-American watermelon-eating contest.

Morale, Welfare and Recreation organizers scheduled card tournaments, video game playoffs, a 5-kilometer run, swimming competitions and bingo. But the highlight of the evening was the watermelon-eating contest.

Approximately 20 contestants were each given a quarter of a large watermelon, and the first to eat down to the rind was declared the winner. Hands were not allowed, so contestants had to dive face first into the juicy watermelons, ignoring the mess.

“You just had to get past the seeds,” said champion eater Army Capt. Kelley Hissong of the 766th Transportation Battalion. “I swallowed most of them, but once you got past them and down to the meat, it was all right.”

Events started early Friday when more than 100 contestants crawled out of bed for the Independence Day 5K run throughout Zone I.

Sgt. Mark Turner, 1107th Aviation Classification and Repair Depot, was the overall men’s winner with a time of 16 minutes and 6 seconds, and 1st Lt. Susan Fisher, 602d Area Support Medical Company, topped the women’s division at 21:07. The top three finishers from various age categories received medals, while the overall top three men’s and women’s finishers walked away with trophies.

Later in the day, a unit swim meet was held at the camp pool. A total of five, four-member teams participated in a medley relay — backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly and freestyle. The Deuce team, made up Capt. John Zoll, Capt. Scott Dickerson, 2nd Lt. Rachael Mandell and Pfc. Christopher Dao, all members of the 602nd Area Support Medical Company, took first place. The top three teams received medals.

Prizes, including Super Soaker water guns, blankets and gift certificates, were given to the top finishers in Saturday night’s games, which included competition in Playstation 2, spades, pool, Foosball, table tennis and dominoes.


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