Over the weekend, the weather was kind at the Third Annual AR15.com Rockcastle Pro Am 3 Gun presented by Brownells. With only one rain delay on Friday, the shooters experienced weather that was a little hot, but otherwise provided excellent shooting conditions. Even with the rain delay, there was still plenty of time left for competitors to cover the different side matches and vendor displays on Friday. The NRA-ILA provided a barbeque for competitors that evening and the festivities continued after dark.
Rockcastle Shooting Center is perched atop the highest hill for miles around, with a 100-room lodge with a bar and full restaurant facilities. The parking lot on Friday evening was full and the atmosphere was like a night in the plaza of a small town during a festival. Throngs of friends circulated around the square created by the lodge and the ring of vendor’s trucks, trailers, motorhomes, and tents. The crowd lingered after dark and eventually an impromptu concert occurred in the restaurant featuring country singing star Mark Wills.
While the event was well-organized and executed, the best part was the interaction of the people. Competitive shooters and the companies that support them constitute a fun-loving group with a generous heart. On Saturday, I watched a family from Portage, Wisconsin, consisting of mother, Becky Yackley, and sons, Tim, 15, and Sean, 13, compete in the Pro division in the same squad. The boys were remarkably good shooters, and mom kept them organized as they took their turns on the stages. In the same relay was Benny Hill, from Corpus Christi, Texas, an icon of 3-gun competition who also runs Triangle Shootings Sports. Benny proffered advice to Tim and Sean and anyone else who needed a little help.
The story of the Yackley family might be typical of the growing interest in 3-gun competition and events like the Rockcastle Pro Am. “The boys started shooting USPSA at the Area A camp a couple of years ago with my husband,” Becky Yackley said. “In 2012 we started shooting 3-gun. My husband and I shot High Power and Smallbore Rifle but this is a lot more fun.” Her husband, Mark could not get off work, so Becky was serving as both mom and coach for the event. Becky was most impressed with how helpful other shooters like Benny were in helping out with advice and equipment or whatever a new shooter needs.
On Saturday evening, Bushnell hosted an Italian dinner for everyone. The Amateur part of the Pro Am was over by then, with every competitor getting something off an impressive lineup of prize tables that hosted a lot of guns, scopes, and accessories as well as $15,000 in gift certificates. In Amateur, the winner was Sam Brown with Jeff Cockrum and Ryan Newbern taking second and third.
The Pro event was concluded on Sunday morning with Greg Jordan of Team Loudoun Guns, from New Freedom, Pennsylvania, taking high honors and winning four of the eight stages. Jordan is a police officer who started shooting competitively in 2007. Kalani Laker took second and Taran Butler, third.
Images by Dick Jones