When Barbara Weber retired earlier this year after 27 years in corrections with the Duval County Sheriff’s Corrections Department, she immediately started planning a road trip to Alaska.
“That was my bucket list,” she said. “I went with four other friends who are retirees, many from law enforcement. I was the last one – they waited for me to retire!”
It’s not hard to understand why they would wait. Barbara Weber won the title of “Toughest Cop Alive” at the International Law Enforcement Games in Dubai years ago, and won it several times afterward. The competition includes distance and sprint runs, shooting, and a 20-foot rope climb.
“I think I still hold the record in some events.”
Any question of whether she’s still the Toughest Cop Alive may have been put to rest on the way back from Alaska, when Barbara set her own broken wrist while alone on a trail near Yellowstone National Park. Bears were closer to her than any human was.
“It was a beautiful day, and I’d really wanted to go mountain biking in Yellowstone,” she recalled. “It was a rocky trail, and my bike slipped. I’m a first-responder and knew I’d broken my wrist pretty badly. My fingers were starting to turn blue. I snapped it back into place, found some sticks, and wrapped my windbreaker around it. The fastest way out was to ride my bike, so I lowered the seat as far as I could, held my broken hand up in the air, and rode 12 miles to the trail head.”
Barbara was then driven 70 miles to the nearest hospital, and her wrist has healed. She’s now a partner in a new company started by a friend that will send her right back into the wilderness, with her bike and groups of explorers.
She has some simple advice for anyone, but especially women, who want to get outside more.
“Find something you think you’re going enjoy. And go with a group! I know I don’t sometimes, but it’s much safer.”
Barbara Weber can’t wait to take groups out to the woods and mountains.
“Kayaking, hiking, mountain biking… it’s wonderful out there.”