Rocky Eades poses near his office on Monday afternoon in Casper. Eades, 60, is the first Wyoming athlete to compete in the annual Reebok CrossFit Games. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

Casper’s Rocky Eades has been physically preparing for this week for five years, ever since he first joined Lifetime Health and Fitness’ CrossFit307 gym. From the start he wanted to go all the way.

On the day before flying to Madison, Wis., to be the first Wyoming athlete to compete in the annual Reebok CrossFit Games, he was still preparing.

“Just trying to get all my gear and the things I’m going to need out there,” said Eades. “Knee sleeves, hand protection, food prep for between workouts. Meals planned for recovery, that sort of thing.”

Eades, owner of Eades Construction, has already beaten hundreds of CrossFit athletes around the world over weeks of competitions known as “the open”. After the open, 240 master athletes in each age group must survive a world qualifier. From there the top 20 athletes can advance to the CrossFit Games, where competitors will take on challenges ranging from weights and gymnastics to swimming and running.

The competition, which run this Thursday through Saturday, will be televised by CBS Sports with a 2-hour show each night, according to Eades.

Eades, who turned 60 this year, has been athletic much of his life. He enjoyed track and cross country in high school, as well as wrestling. He took to CrossFit quickly when he joined the gym about five years ago.

“It’s about being part of a sport, a gym where people support each other,” said Eades. “Bring the first athlete from Wyoming to make it is very much an honor.”

His fellow CrossFit athletes recently surprised Eades when they gave him a large yellow flag emblazoned with Wyoming’s iconic Steamboat and cowboy that had been signed by everyone at the gym. Some fellow athletes will be in Madison, holding the flag in the stands as he competes.

“This is the ultimate, it’s the Olympics of CrossFit,” said Eades. “It’s still surreal to me that I’m going,”

Rocky Eades works out at CrossFit307. (Courtesy Photo)