Marine recruiter Sgt. Timothy Riffe competed in a pull-up challenge against University of Minnesota gymnast Justine Cherwink at TCF Bank Stadium for the Gophers' Military Appreciation Football Game Sept. 10.
During a time-out in the fourth quarter, Riffe and Cherwink had 30 seconds to complete as many pull-ups as possible. More than 48,800 Golden Gophers fans cheered as Cherwink knocked out 18. However, it wasn't enough to beat Riffe who completed 28.
"It was a pretty cool experience getting out there in front of that many people," said Riffe, a 27-year-old Bakersfield, Calif., native. "Didn't mind the crowd, but I wasn't used to having a time limit. I'm pretty satisfied with my performance though."
Initially, Riffe was slated to compete against "Goldy," the Golden Gophers' mascot, but a last minute line-up change brought one of the university's student athletes out onto the field.
"I received a call right before the game from a gymnastics alumna who said they needed someone who could do a lot of pull-ups," said Justine Cherwink, an 18-year-old Aledo, Texas, native. "The most I've ever done is 29, but we maxed out at the gym the day before so I was pretty sore."
Cherwink, a junior at the university and a sophomore gymnast, also said she had never met a Marine prior to this event.
"They were all very nice," Cherwink said. "Quite a few people have come up to me since the game and said they saw us in the end zone."
Following the pull-up challenge, recruiters from the Rochester, Minn., office presented Cherwink with some Marine memorabilia for her physical fitness efforts.
"She deserves it," Riffe said. "Our incentive items say 'earned, never given' for a reason."
For additional imagery from the event, visit www.facebook.com/rstwincities.