When Basehor’s Cobra Command CrossFit owner Vince Bertucci opened his gym in May 2015, he had no idea that two years later, he would be looking for a larger facility to accommodate the growth. Currently located at 14500 Parallel Parkway, it is home to competitive athletes who train together. But Cobra Command is more than just a gym. Members enjoy a sense of family and look for ways to give back to the Basehor community.

CrossFit is a series of varying functional movements that are made into workout formats. Weightlifting, gymnastics, running and rowing are the core groups of movements used in training. While the workouts may sound intense, Bertucci stresses that workouts are scalable for all ages and levels of fitness. Each member goes at his or her own pace and skill level.

“Fundamental programs are for beginners and build a base for repetitive classes and actions,” he said. “Members learn how to do things safely and how those movements pertain to everyday life.”

As the Cobra Command CrossFit coach, Bertucci recognizes that not everyone is comfortable in a group setting. He offers one-on-one training and classes. Classes last one hour and consist of a warm-up, strength movement, workout and a cool down time where members stay to visit with each other.

Every Saturday at 9:30 a.m., a partner or team workout is programmed. Anyone can try out the gym to see if it is a good fit. The community also gathers for informal events such as a barbecue at least once a month. In addition, Cobra Command partners with Basehor organizations such as Basehor’s VFW Post 11499 to collect shoes and clothing to be donated to homeless veterans around Kansas City, Missouri.

“Cobra Command is built around the Basehor community. We build relationships and friendships. The community is a big part of our gym,” said Bertucci. “We welcome people from every walk of life. There are no cliques in our gym.”

Around holidays, Cobra Command CrossFit holds special workouts to honor firefighters, police officers and fallen members of the military. Each Memorial Day, they perform a specific workout dedicated to Navy Lt. Michael J. Murphy, who was serving in Afghanistan in 2005 when he sacrificed his life to save his platoon. “The Murph” is a series of exercises that includes a one-mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 air squats plus another one-mile run, all done in memory of Murphy.

Cobra Command CrossFit has recently started a barbell club, which includes Olympic-style weightlifting, and also offers yoga classes four days per week. Nutritional services for people who have plateaued in their weight loss goals are offered which includes weekly nutrition plans through a registered dietician.

“We want people who have been shamed at other gyms to feel welcome here. We like people to try their absolute hardest to better themselves. Those are the real champions in my book,” Bertucci said.

Cobra Command CrossFit has its share of elite athletes, being home to Jacob Heppner and Zak Carchedi, both CrossFit Games athletes. But this year, one of its members qualified for the CrossFit Games for the first time. Ellie Kerstetter, 15, placed in the top 20 out of 1,200 competitors in her age group to qualify for the 2017 CrossFit Games. She finished in third place at the nationals in Madison, Wisconsin, over the course of the four-day competition in early August.  

“Everyone is so proud of her,” said Bertucci. “She put in a lot of hard work just to qualify for the games. To finish in the top three was an amazing accomplishment.”

Beth Kornegay is a freelance writer covering news and events in the city of Basehor. If you have a story idea, email her at gabi_kansas@yahoo.com