After 5 weeks on the road I hopped on a plane again to Winchester, W. Virginia to participate in the first ever World Shooting Championship put on by the NRA, Trijicon and the Peacemaker National Training Center. An invitation only for Professional shooters and eventually opened to amateurs the match brought in over 200 people from around the world to participate. If you have never been to the Peacemaker Training Center then you must. It is an incredible facility. You can play any shooting game there. You will see many national events happening at this place. And they keep improving it every year. Several sponsors made this event a reality by donating all of the firearms, optics, accessories and ammunition. Froglube, FNH, S&W, Noveske, Benneli, Beretta, Daniel Defense, Practiscore, Rio, Armelite, Black Hills Ammunition, Kongsberg, Silencerco, LMT, Vortex, Colt, Alexander Arms, MGM Targets, Berger, Sierra, MEC, Secure Firearm Products, Magnum Research, Taylor & CO., Kestrel and more really stepped up. Then all of the above were put on the prize table at the end of the match. I had the honor of Nosler, Froglube and Lantac USA sponsoring me to attend this match. The WSC was a sort of TopShot competition where the event provided all of the firearms and stages. The shooters could only show up with their own eye and ear protection. The stages tried to represent one of each shooting discipline. I as a long range shooter also had to compete in shotgun and bulls-eye pistol for instance. I could not bring my own rifle or accessories. Every shooter had a level playing field.
There were 9 stages of the match plus 4 side matches that were a combination of shooting types and had their own set of prizes. For the 9 main stages there was bulls-eye pistol, small bore, NRA practical rifle, practical shotgun, skeet, 5 stand, cowboy action, 3 Gun Nation, Bianchi and USPSA. Because this match was in its first year and there were conflicting competitions nationally the event drew about 200 plus competitors when they were hoping for 400. I was excited to be part of the first test. I was invited to attend this way back in January around Shot Show. I was not sure how they were going to pull this off in such short notice but they did. Trijicon pulled off something even the seasoned event organizers have never done. Yes there were some bugs and male diva tantrums but the match ran smoothly overall. Yep, the drama came from the guys not from the ladies squad. But when you have a $50,000 first place prize the competitiveness increases. All of the Pro ladies and one lady amateur were put on the same squad together. Not having spent a lot of competition time with most of them I was curious if we would all get along or if we would have own diva moments.
I am happy and not surprised that we did not have one drama moment. We all had such a great time. Yes there was competition but there was lots of laughter and support too. Each woman had her shooting specialty and shared tips with the others. We gave the RO’s of each stage enough sarcasm to lighten the mood. That means you Dianna! Lena Miculek was our token “question asker”. She knew every angle to test and tested every RO’s knowledge. If you do not know Lena, she is the daughter of Jerry Miculek. If you do not who Jerry is, well, then I can’t help you. Lena is the most flexible, bendy person I have ever met. She was able to make up supportive positions from her body that most people could only dream of. She put the Small Bore RO through a field of “can I do this?” position questions that were hilarious. His overall response to every question was a pronounced “No”. I was not sure if he was scolding a pooch or the sassy 19 year old. I had the pleasure of shooting with Lena(Smith & Wesson), Dianna Liedorff-Muller(Benelli), Tes Salb(Armalite), Becky Enders-Yackley, Brook Sevigny (FNH), Lanny Barnes(Olympic Biathlete), Kari Fraser (Beretta) and another US Rifle Team member of the juniors, Natasha Pitre(Leupold). I am excited to say that Froglube and Lantac have brought her on board their team. We had one very lucky guy on our squad, Kari’s husband Mark was our token male. I think he had a good time.
As I had mentioned before, every stage had several firearms provided by one of the sponsors. There were a ton of FN 9m pistols, Colt Gold Cups, rifles galore and the beautiful Beretta DT-11 Shotguns that retail for about $12K each. All of these were put on the prize table at the end of the week. What a deal that was. I wish I could say I got one but I placed just below the last few were taken away. One of the side matches had SilencerCo suppressors, Noveske Competiton Rifles Suppressed & Glockworks 9MM Suppressed – Optics, Trijicon ACOG. All was given as the prize for first place of that stage. This was worth over $10k just there. I believe BJ Norris won that whole package. The Froglube team consisting of the owner Larry Lasky, his son Ryan and the father son team of the manufacturers of Froglube, Don and Ryan, worked their tails off keeping all of the firearms for the match cleaned and lubed. They did an outstanding job and picked up a lot of new believers and business. Besides me, they brought two Froglube team shooters Tyler Renville and Tron Siphaxay. Tyler is a champion Cowboy Action shooter and we were stoked that he won that stage of the match. He won by a mile. His time was only about 11 seconds. He said he actually took his time so as not to have any misses. Whatever Tyler. Showoff.
The stage designs were sort of hybrids of the actual discipline. For example, The F-Class stage had an actual F-class target set at 500 yards. But the rifle set up was not at all F-class. It was more FTR or a tactical rifle setup which made hitting the teeny tiny x and 10 rings pretty difficult. Also, F-Class calibers are usually a 6m or 7m something, not 308 168 grain. The guns of the Biancchi mover stage were not what one would use. The skeet shotgun stage was just all out miserable. Except for Daniel Horner of the AMU, everyone thought that stage was ridiculous. Using the beautiful Beretta on a double wobble system, the clays came out at the same time in different directions and at speeds well beyond even international rules. If you hit them you were lucky. Or you were Daniel Horner who had an Olympic skeet shooter train him for the last 3 months. No fair dude. So the match directors put a twist on all of the stages that made some more interesting and some really frustrating. But that was the game. I am not sure I can say I learned a lot at this match other than I need to spend time practicing other disciplines of shooting before I come back next year. You can watch how others approach a run and gun stage but really you either have the skills of each type of shooting or you don’t. Put them all together and you can get through the match. You were able to manipulate the guns a bit before each stage but you did not get any test rounds. But it was awesome to watch the best shooters in the world all in one place.
I hope I get the opportunity to shoot this again next year. It is interesting that I made more connections at this match than I have at the three Shot Shows I have attended. It was great fun. There was a ton of media coverage from various networks and companies. Hopefully the event will be able to get all 400 shooters they want. The money and time put in to this deserves that many entry fees. It is expensive I will not lie. It was $500 for pros and about $250 for amateurs. I’d love to see more women and juniors out there. I’d love to see more prize opportunities for the ladies division. They had a high lady prize for the overall match but they should have for each stage as well. It might attract more participants if you see a chance to offset the cost of going. But for the first match of this kind I say “Job Well Done” to the organizers and volunteers. Thank you to Cole from Peacemaker and to Larry from FNH for all of your hard work and hopefully our ladies squad did not tease you too much. Congratulations to Daniel Horner of the Army Marksmanship Unit for winning the big $50K check. Lena Miculek took high lady with a $5K check. Her dad Jerry took 3rd, Bruce Piatt 2nd and the 17 year old 3Gun superstar Brian Nelson was 4th. Well done.