Shooting success comes from having quality equipment, dedication to the effort, and the information needed to shoot well that comes from those who’ve had success in the past. During Rob Leatham’s introduction to the First Annual MidwayUSA & NRA Bianchi Cup Pro Shooter Clinic yesterday, this became even more apparent. Leatham mentioned his early relationship to the first-ever Bianchi Cup winner, Mickey Fowler. Mickey mentored Rob in his early days of shooting and later, Leatham mentored the winningest shooter in the history of the Bianchi, Doug Koenig. All good shooters alive today were mentored by someone with more experience and Bianchi Cup competition is no different.

Imagine having access to the icons of any sport for an entire morning and being able to get hands on instruction and answers to your questions. The Bianchi Cup Pro Shooter Clinic is like being at Charlotte Motor Speedway with Lee Petty, Junior Johnson, Darryl Waltrip, Mark Martin, Jimmy Johnson, and others, all available to help you learn how to negotiate the track as fast as possible.

After Leatham’s introduction, Doug Koenig gave detailed tips on shooting the mover, probably the most intimidating event in the Bianchi. Koenig explained the proper stance and lead and explained how important it is to focus on the target because focusing on the sight picture can prevent a smooth swing across the 60 feet covered by the silhouette target moving at 10 feet per second. He then demonstrated the technique shooting 24 perfect hits at 10 and 15 yards.

We then moved on to the falling plate range where Rob Leatham covered the importance of focus and reminded students that this event is a hit-or-miss affair and you must focus on hits. While other stages are shot on a silhouette target with eight and five points outside the eight-inch 10 ring, a shot outside the eight inch plate gets you nothing. The Falling Plate Event is the perfect example that you can’t miss fast enough to win.

Mickey Fowler then demonstrated the Practical, an event that might not be as intimidating, but is certainly the most demanding of the shooter in time, versatility, and accuracy. The 10-yard stage requires the shooter to get off one shot each at two targets from the holster in three seconds. The last stage for the 10-yard line requires the shooter to fire three shots each at two targets in eight seconds shooting with the unassisted weak hand. The final yard line for the Practical is at 50 yards and requires real precision to stay within the eight-inch ten ring.

Jessica Duff then demonstrated the Barricade Event. In the Barricade, the shooter fires six shots at targets on either side of a barricade at four increasing yard lines. Duff explained how to manage open as well as Metallic and Production class guns on the barricade. She demonstrated a flawless performance at the 10- and 15-yard lines.

The participants then split into small groups and took to the course of fire with the instructors assigned to different ranges. While this is the first Midway Bianchi Pro Shooter Clinic, it is also the kickoff for a new short Bianchi course of fire that will be offered as an introduction to shooters new to the sport.

The 35th MidwayUSA & NRA Bianchi Cup will soon be fully underway. It will prove to be a challenging and fun year for shooters that will culminate in the Awards Dinner on Saturday night.

Image by Cherie Jones

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