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Stephanie Leeds, left foreground, guzzles a warm soda Wednesday as judge Sandra Diaz-Twine, right foreground, watches.
Stephanie Leeds, left foreground, guzzles a warm soda Wednesday as judge Sandra Diaz-Twine, right foreground, watches. (Rick Emert / S&S)
Stephanie Leeds, left foreground, guzzles a warm soda Wednesday as judge Sandra Diaz-Twine, right foreground, watches.
Stephanie Leeds, left foreground, guzzles a warm soda Wednesday as judge Sandra Diaz-Twine, right foreground, watches. (Rick Emert / S&S)
Heather Leeds and Maj. David Knellinger construct a shelter out of cardboard Wednesday in Bamberg during a "Survivor"-style competition judged by three former contestants of the reality TV show.
Heather Leeds and Maj. David Knellinger construct a shelter out of cardboard Wednesday in Bamberg during a "Survivor"-style competition judged by three former contestants of the reality TV show. (Rick Emert / S&S)
Maj. David Knellinger shows off the blind makeup job done by Heather Stoner.
Maj. David Knellinger shows off the blind makeup job done by Heather Stoner. (Rick Emert / S&S)

BAMBERG, Germany — Outrun. Outshoot. Outglamorize.

Wednesday’s Survivor challenge in Bamberg pitted five two-person teams against each other in a competition that replaced spears with paintballs and bugs with warm Pepsi.

For some, the bugs were missed.

“I would rather have choked down a worm than drink that warm Pepsi,” said Stephanie Leeds, a member of the Bamberg Spouses and Civilians Club.

Leeds guzzled the soft drink in a matter of seconds then spent several minutes bent over with cramps. “It was pretty painful.”

Leeds and her teammate, Teri Samarin, took first place in the scavenger hunt that began the competition, but were eliminated in the warm-Pepsi-guzzling contest.

Samarin wasn’t too upset about the early elimination.

“This has been a lot of fun, but I wish we could have gone further,” she said.

The contestants were cheered on by the judges: Rudy Boesch, from the first “Survivor”; Sandra Diaz-Twine, winner of “Survivor: Pearl Islands” and an Army spouse; and Chris Daugherty, winner of “Survivor: Vanuatu.”

Other contests in the competition were applying makeup while blindfolded and shooting paintballs at soda cans.

The deciding challenge also determined which of the two teams might best survive life on the streets. They had to construct a “building” out of three pieces of cardboard, and the structure had to be big enough to hold both contestants.

The winners of the Bamberg competition were Maj. David Knellinger, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Infantry Division Engineer Brigade, and Heather Stoner, a Bamberg Spouses and Civilians Club member.

The team cheered their win just a few feet from their “home,” which — like Knellinger with remnants of makeup still on his face — didn’t look all that pretty.

Of course, the event wasn’t really so much about the competition as it was about meeting some of the real survivors in person.

“I recognized every one of them and knew which ‘Survivor’ season they were from,” Leeds said. “We are fans of the show.”

Survivor Diaz-Twine, who lives with her soldier husband in Mobile, Ala., probably knows more than her counterparts what their visits to military bases mean to the communities.

“I think it lifts morale,” she said. “It’s really exciting for me to be here. I saw my neighbor from Fort Lewis (Wash.) while we were in Kitzingen (Tuesday).

“People start talking to me and realize that I’m a military spouse and that I’m just a normal person. The soldiers and families we meet are the real survivors; we’re the fake survivors.”

The schedule ...Three former contestants of the “Survivor” reality show are visiting bases in Germany. Their schedule:

Friday, Vilseck, Germany.Saturday, Wiesbaden, German.Sunday, Hanau, Germany.Tuesday, Hohenfels, Germany.Wednesday, Garmisch, Germany.Oct. 7, Vicenza, Italy.— Stars and Stripes

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