I have had a (limited) interest in firearms my whole life. But beyond my home and carry defence weapons, and the occasional trips to the range with friends, I had never explored much of the firearms world. When I began as a Customer Service Representative at TANDEMKROSS, I was immersed in a new point of view, a new perspective of firearms: Shooting Sports.
As the days turned to weeks and the weeks to months, I became more familiar with my job and the aspects of "Race Guns." As my boss would remind me, "My Gun-Fu" was getting stronger. The more I learned about the industry, the more my own interest grew.
I had always had the urge to compete, but the original plan was weekly practice, research, practice and a bit more practice. Although I was curious, I was not ready for competition. I was not yet sure enough in my own shooting skills.
My first trip out with the company was not planned. A typical Monday turned very memorable as I was invited to a TANDEMKORSS work-trip to visit, and give support to the Waxahachie Texas 2019 Lone Star Rimfire Challenge Match.
This yearly event is a host to some of the countries greatest shooting talent. Thanks to event organizers, Jeff Chaffin and Kurt Wójtowicz (as well as the hard work of many volunteers) kids from 7 to 70+ have the chance to compete in a speed shooting competition, classed by their age and ability.
As my boss and I were coming down for sales and support, there was no plan of us competing. Thanks to the generosity of Kurt and Jeff (to my surprise), I was allotted a spot in the 2019 LoneStar RimFire Challenge. My first official competition! The feeling I remember most was “bittersweet” as was both excited and nervous. Was my weekly practice at the range enough? Was my "Gun-Fu" strong enough?
What does "Shooting Competition" bring to mind?
Prior to the shoot, I pictured a Professional Shooting Competition full of cut-throat sharp shooters. The best of the best, speed shooting pros of all ages... I was not disappointed!
But yet, here I was. Not a natural born plinker, and certainly not a seasoned marksman. Just someone with an interest, and the opportunity.
What I did not expect, from these bulls-eye speed shooters, was to be so warmly welcomed into this new community. The Rimfire Shooting community is home to some of the friendliest and most welcoming groups I have ever been a part of.
I was bearing witness to some of the fastest and most knowledgeable sport shooters of all ages. It was incredible to see the talent of youths such as, Jenna Jones accompanied by her mother (and RO) Ronda, as well as Sergio Hurtado, and Issa Benavidez. Truly talented and hardworking kids, backed by the unwavering support of their family and friends.
What’s it all about?
Well, anyone who enters a competition hopes to win!
But what everyone brings back with them is much more important than any award. It is camaraderie between shooters, teams, spectators and families. My entire time there, I felt a constant sense of friendliness and support between the 143 competitors.
Generosity and selfless sportsmanship such as; shooters lending their firearms/ gear to those in need (another big thank you to Jeff for letting me use his set up to compete), shooters, coaches and RO's all sharing tips, pointers and advice, helping each other grow, and improve.
From my first round to my last, I was given support, tips and advice on how to improve. My stance went from unsure and unbalanced, to confident and strong! I have to give a special thank you to the MacIntyre family: RO’s Clay, Wendy and their amazingly talented daughter Piper for sharing their tips with me.
You don’t have to be a PRO!
Shooter’s firearms vary between stock set-ups to fully accessorized Browning Buck Marks, Ruger MK 22/45 Series, and Smith & Wesson SW22 Victorys.
It is not a competition about who has the most money to invest in a “Race Gun.” It’s not about the best set up, or the most accessories. Rather the time, and hard work you put in as well as the relationships, memories and lessons you take back.
What I took back (besides a sunburn!)
These competitions are to bring out the best of everyone involved.
It gives youth something to focus on, promoting hard work, discipline and singular focus. Shooting also bridges the gap between ages. It creates a commonality between children, adults and seniors.
Making new, and solidifying old friendships and strengthening family bonds. I saw mothers and daughters, brothers and sisters, husbands and wives, all connecting on common ground.
Needless to say, the trip was an eye-opening experience. Finally getting out and getting involved resulted in a deeper understanding and connection of the industry, the community and the sport.
I took my tips and pointers learned, and have adapted them into my weekly practice. I have taken the lead from some great people, and I plan on passing on what I learned to anyone who wants to know.
And of course, I’ll be back next year, even better!
Don’t let age, skill level with competition shooting, intimidate you. Don’t let a stock set up stop you! If the curiosity or interest is there then go for it! You will meet new, great people, and certainly improve!
I hope I have made some readers curious enough to compete!