Sturgis soldier takes top warrior honors

U.S. Army Spc. Bailey Ruff, Detachment 2, 842nd Engineer Company, South Dakota Army National Guard, moves to the next objective during the equipment run portion of the Army National Guard Region VI Best Warrior Competition at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, May 15, 2018. (U.S. Air Force National Guard photo by Alejandro Peña)

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska (KEVN) – An Army National Guard soldier from Sturgis proved he is among the best by competing and winning a warrior competition at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.

Spc. Bailey Ruff of Detachment 2, 842nd Engineer Company, competed against the top soldiers from Alaska, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming in a four-day competition that tested them physically and mentally, while their knowledge and skill sets were assessed in a high-stress environment.

Ruff is the first soldier from South Dakota to win soldier of the year in the Region VI Best Warrior Competition since regionals began in 2011.

Soldiers had to demonstrate their proficiency in a variety of skills, including weapons, physical strength and endurance, navigation, first aid and general Army knowledge.

“It’s crazy humbling to be selected as soldier of the year in our region,” Ruff said in an Army release. “The guys that I was going against were the best of the best; they were tough competition and I was honored to be in their presence, let alone to come away with the victory and represent South Dakota in a positive way.”

Ruff will move on to represent South Dakota and Region VI in the National Guard Best Warrior Competition scheduled for July 23-27 at Fort Indiantown Gap, Penn. The winner of nationals will go on to compete in the U.S. Army Best Warrior Competition slated for this fall.

“The main thing I look forward to with nationals is representing South Dakota most of all,” said Ruff. “Going in, I think I was overlooked because I’m a generator mechanic competing against infantry personnel, so I want to continue representing our state well.”


U.S. Army Spc. Bailey Ruff, Detachment 2, 842nd Engineer Company, South Dakota Army National Guard, fires an M249 light machine gun while competing in a maneuver and fire event in the Army National Guard Region VI Best Warrior Competition at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, May 16, 2018. The Region VI BWC was a four-day competition that tests Soldiers' mental and physical toughness through a series of events that demonstrate technical and tactical proficiency to determine the top Soldier and Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year in the region. (U.S. Air Force National Guard photo by Alejandro Peña)
U.S. Army Spc. Bailey Ruff, Detachment 2, 842nd Engineer Company, South Dakota Army National Guard, negotiates an obstacle while competing in the Army National Guard Region VI Best Warrior Competition at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, May 15, 2018. (U.S. Air Force National Guard photo by Alejandro Peña)
U.S. Army Spc. Bailey Ruff, Detachment 2, 842nd Engineer Company, South Dakota Army National Guard, moves to the next objective during the equipment run portion of the Army National Guard Region VI Best Warrior Competition at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, May 15, 2018. (U.S. Air Force National Guard photo by Alejandro Peña)
U.S. Army Spc. Bailey Ruff, Detachment 2, 842nd Engineer Company, South Dakota Army National Guard, stands at the summit of the mountain bike and summer biathlon event in the Army National Guard Region VI Best Warrior Competition at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, May 16, 2018.