Rugged terrain, real-world scenarios and team work all greeted Explorers from Tehachapi Police Department and other law California law enforcement agencies during a three-day competition in the Tehachapi Mountains.
Between June 20 and June 22, the young corps receiving law enforcement and leadership training competed in search and rescue scenarios, felony traffic stop exercises, a relay course, DUI stops, marijuana field exercises and other events.
Normally held partially at the Tehachapi Event Center, this year's competition was held entirely on the property of Chuck Reuter on Knob Hill Road off Water Canyon in the mountain south of town.
Set in a rugged area, the terrain offered steep hills, heavy brush and a variety of landscape in which Explorers could conduct their competitions.
Tehachapi PD Senior Officer Scott Ketcham said the competition has done better this year than in the last five years.
"We have hiccups here and there but for the most part everyone seems to be having fun," Ketcham said. "The events are challenging, it's about making the Explorers think outside the box and hopefully getting ready for the next step in law enforcement."
Ketcham said that the Tehachapi Explorers appeared to do well in the search and rescue scenario.
The Explorers participating in competition said that all the events provided solid experience for teamwork and skill building. It was not without its challenges, however.
Jordyn Beggs, one of the Tehachapi Explorers, said that the shooting range provided a particular challenge for her.
"It's really heavy to hold the gun with it shaking, but it's very fun, like you want to do it again some time," Beggs said.
She added the competition allows Explorers to see "how working together as a team is better versus working by yourself.
Fellow Tehachapi Explorer Casey House agreed, calling it a unique life building experience.
"It's not just working about people at your (Explorer) post, but working with everyone who might be from your department," House said. "It's taking a good step forward for everybody."
Jeff Snyder, a reserve Kern County Sheriff's deputy helping with the competition's pilot rescue scenario said the Kern County Sheriff's event provided some unique opportunities for Explorers participating in it.
"When they come out, these guys get to work search and rescue," Snyder said. "A lot of teams don't get to do that in a lot of other counties -- our Explorers get to come out and go face-to-face with us."