For the past five years, the Ardmore Corporate Fitness challenge has been helping local businesses exercise and raise money for children in the area.
Opening day of the fitness challenge was on Tuesday, with several local businesses competing for bragging rights. Five-time defending champion Dollar General was hoping to retain its title for the sixth straight year.
Besides bragging rights over its competitors, companies like Dollar General were at Ardmore Regional Park to help out the community in other ways.
The Ardmore Corporate Fitness Challenge is hosted by Ardmore Cities in Schools, a non-profit organization that works on improving the literacy skills of low income students from kindergarten to fifth grade.
The proceeds from the Corporate Fitness Challenge help fund the CIS summer programs and after-school programs throughout the school year, including field trips to the Oklahoma City Science Museum.
Haley Louthen is in her fifth year as the CIS office manager and is proud of how much the Corporate Fitness Challenge has grown.
Seeing people take time out of their day to help local kids succeed makes Louthen a proud Ardmoreite.
“I think it is a great event to gather the community together,” Louthen said. “Especially the local businesses, a lot of them we receive some grants from. It is a good community event.
This year, 15 local businesses participated in the week-long event, competing in events such as rowing to basketball and t-shirt judging. In each event, teams compete for points and at the end of the week the winner is given a championship cup and local bragging rights.
CIS administrative assistant and culinary manager Shelby Louthen is in her sixth Corporate Fitness Challenge event, and is happy so many people help CIS help kids. One of Shelby Louthen’s favorite parts is seeing the competition between the local businesses.
“We like to see the families involved and the community in general. Every single one of our teams just brings their fullest potential, they all just go as hard as they can. Beyond all that, we all have fun.”
Owner of SquatchFit  in Ardmore, Danny Wollaston has participated in past events in the Ardmore Corporate Fitness Challenge but this is his first year representing his gym, which opened in October.
Knowing what it takes to win, Wollaston brought several members of his gym to compete to hopefully bring home the cup.
For Wollaston, though, helping his community grow is the main reason for his continued participation. Being a gym owner, healthy fitness competition is what Wollaston is all about.
“When I opened my gym back in October, I thought that was a good way to get out into the community and show the community what we have,” Wollaston said. “I love it, there is the fitness aspect of it (the Ardmore Corporate Fitness Challenge), and everyone chips in and does that. And then it is fun.”
Representing the Dollar General team, Heather Ortega is in her sixth year competing in the Corporate Fitness Challenge.
Ortega and her team have won the first five cups, and are striving to bring home their sixth this year.
A competitive nature burns inside Ortega and her teammates which brings them back each year to win, but to them helping out is the real reason they return.
“To support Girl’s on the Run and the City in Schools because it is good for the community,” Ortega said. “It is a good fundraiser. It is great for everybody because it is everybody giving back to the community.”