We were lucky enough to grab some of GORUCK Cadre Danny Stokes’ time for a quick interview about his Capital Tour 2017. Cadre Danny Stokes has made it his goal to ruck all fifty state capitals in 2017. Not only will he be rucking each capital but he has set up group rucks in each state so that local ruckers and ruck clubs can get in on the fun. Each event starts 20 miles outside of the state’s capital so participants will definitely get miles in before hitting their endex. Similar to a GORUCK event each participant will receive a special patch upon completion so you will have that to look forward to.
Without wasting any more time here is our interview with GORUCK Cadre Danny Stokes!
- Q: For those who are reading this and have never had you for a GORUCK Cadre can you tell us a little about yourself? Basically, how do you introduce yourself to participants at events?
- A: I’m a GORUCK event cadre, CrossFit coach and athlete, and a father of four. Recently I joined Operation Enduring Warrior as a Team Athlete. I live in Tacoma, WA but good luck catching me at home, as I travel extensively. I retired from the US Army two years ago and while in the military I served as an Armor Crewman, Special Forces NCO, and Signal Officer. I’m a mountain-climber and bicyclist, and I’ve been known to speak Spanish and Chinese Mandarin.
- Q: GORUCK Cadre have to participate in a GORUCK event before they are able to become a GORUCK Cadre. Can you tell us a little bit about the event that you participated in? When you were signing up for the event did you know you wanted to be a GORUCK Cadre?
- A: I did a Challenge in Richmond, VA in September 2013. Matt S. was my cadre, and Brian Squared was doing his shadow-cadre duties. I had completed my telephone interview with Cadre Garrett earlier in the week, and when he asked if I could participate in the event that Friday, of course I jumped at the opportunity. I had not trained for a GORUCK event, and it had probably been close to a year since I did a ruck march, but I figured fortune favors the bold, so I went for it! I was still on active duty at that time, working a staff job at Fort Gordon, GA, and upon completing work that Friday around 5pm, I left GA for the seven hour drive to VA. Once I arrived, I had difficulty finding parking, and finding the SP. This was when the events had 1am start times. I recall literally running the last few blocks, and jumped into formation right as Cadre Matt started roll call. I had zero knowledge about GORUCK events and had no idea what to expect. Imagine my surprise that night when we carried a log for hours around an island in the James River. The most difficult part of the event came late in the morning once the sun was blazing, when I became dizzy and short of breath from overheating. I am a prior heat-stroke casualty, and I knew I was in danger, and as luck would have it, Cadre Matt at that exact moment asked how I was liking the event and if it was tough or not. I somehow mustered a smile and assured him that I’d been through worse.
- Q: How many events have you led as Cadre so far? How many states have you led events in? Do you prefer traveling to lead events or running them in your local area?
- A: This weekend I will lead my 137th and 138th GORUCK events (custom Heavy Heavy for F3 in Wilmington, NC). I have led events in 30 states, and several foreign countries (Mexico, Canada, Spain, Korea, Japan). And, in our nation’s capital, Washington D.C. I prefer to travel to my events, but leading ones on my home turf allows me to stage alot more coupons, and incorporate my own fitness equipment, such as my sled.
- Q: What events do you generally enjoy running the most? We know some Cadre prefer Lights and some love running FADs… which ones really make you smile?
- A: I love to lead Custom Toughs, especially if the event is built around a specific theme. 9-11 events in NYC have been very memorable to me. F3 now has a “GROWRUCK” series which are very rewarding to lead.
- Q: You’ve created the Capital Ruck Tour 2017 which is quite the event! Rucking from outside each state’s capital to the capital with rucking clubs in the area. How did you come up with the idea to do this?
- A: I was thinking one day about the number “twenty” and how it could be applied to a rucking event… ex: 20 miles with 20 pounds and 20 people donating $20 and we could start at 20:00 hours, and maybe go to 20 cities in 20 days, etc. Thats how the idea started. Also, it was my way to counter the erroneous statistic of 22 vets/day suicide. Once my friend Robear suggested to me that I do the Tour as a charity event, I had the idea to raise money for OEW, since I strongly believe that OEW has a solution for the suicide crisis. I decided on the state capitals buildings as the destinations because they are iconic symbols embodying the history of that State and are the workplace of each State’s top leaders, and represent the future for those that reside in that State.
- Q: In addition to the 20 mile ruck there’s now a scaled 5 mile ruck which meets up with the group 15 miles in. Is the patch received for each distance different?
- A: There are two patches. The official CRT17 patch is full color and presented at endex to those that complete the entire event. There is also a grayscale version of the patch, that I call the “Tactical” model, which is given to those that complete the scaled event.
- Q: I noticed that this event is the Capital Ruck Tour 2017. Are there plans for a 2018 series as well?
- A: Yes. Tentatively the plan for 2018 is to ruck all the national capitals in North and South America.
- Q: What has been your biggest surprise during the event so far? Any memorable cities that truly made you smile?
- A: While rucking through downtown Denver, CO I began to talk to a homeless guy who was pushing a cart full of junk. As it turns out he used to work in the Mess Hall at Fort Carson, CO at the same time I was stationed at Fort Carson, CO in 1992. Small world.
- Q: Is there anything else you’d like to say, announce, or promote?
- A: I am richly blessed with two incredible friends that have worked tirelessly behind the scenes of the CRT17, on tasks that I would have no idea how to even start. Kevin Maestri, owner of Knotted Cords has poured hours upon hours of his personal time into building our IT platforms, and connecting our message with groups throughout the US. Margaret Blankenbaker, owner of SewStrong has also proven to be a tremendous asset and resource and has taken on marketing, event registration, and media outreach, among other tasks.
For anybody reading this, come ruck to your state capital with me, where you’ll find out about OEW, hear some inspiring stories, and probably make a friend or two! Also, knock out a set of burpees if you would, and log them here so we can reach our goal of 1,000,000 reps, in conjunction with Charity Challenges!
Cadre Danny Stokes is doing something truly amazing with this endeavor. If you are reading this and enjoy rucking then we highly recommend looking at the Capitol Tour 2017 event calendar. He is hitting all 50 capitals so he will be coming to a location near(ish) you if he hasn’t already. Finally, a huge thanks to Danny Stokes for taking the time to answer these questions!