The competitive nature of business brings on a whole new meaning when the gun sounds for the Wichita Corporate Challenge.
Instead of profits and growth, area companies vie to see whose employees are at the top of a variety of sporting events (along with one strictly fun one, the wing eating contest).
"It's a great event for companies to build team bonding and esprit de corps among themselves, where upper management and workers are able to interact," said Bob Hanson, President of the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission, which puts on the event.
Begun in 2002, the challenge has continued to grow, with organizers expecting 2013 to be bigger than ever. This year it takes place from Aug. 3-11, with the Coed Softball Tournament kicking things off on the first day.
About 1,200 participants from 25 companies are expected to take part. There are divisions for companies with less than 115 employees, 116 to 400 employees and more than 400 employees.
Golf, tennis, volleyball, flag football, 3-on-3 basketball, foot and bike races are some of the 23 sports in the challenge. If you're looking for something a little less strenuous, options include bowling, billiards, table tennis and miniature golf.
"We listen to people to decide which events to add," Hanson said. "We added the wing eating contest a couple years ago. That has just become huge."
Hanson notes that bosses can't just send out their fit young underlings to bring home the gold: teams making up the four- person "Briefcase Shuttle" event, for instance, must have an aggregate age of 120 — "so they can't all be 22-year-olds," Hanson said.
Lately, Bombardier has been the company to beat. It has won the competition five years in a row, bringing about 120 employees to participate last year.
"It's getting to be bigger as word of mouth gets around," said Jenna Geno, a senior financial analyst for Bombardier who coordinates the challenge for that company. The company hands out medals and cookies to winners during the ceremony.
Entries for the Corporate Challenge are being accepted through July 15. Fees range from $600 for smaller companies to $1,400 for bigger firms.
For more information, visit wichitacorporatechallenge.com or call 316-265-6236.