The two indoor shooting ranges at the USA Shooting Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., are primed and ready for the 2014 version of the Rocky Mountain Rifle Championships, February 12-16.
More than 60 competitors are expected to participate in the air and smallbore (.22 caliber) rifle competition that serves as a valuable training match ahead of a 2014 competition season that begins Olympic and Paralympic qualifying for Rio 2016 hopefuls. The event will mainly feature U.S. Olympic Training Center resident athletes along with a sampling of National Development and National Junior Team members. Collegiate rifle shooters are in the midst of school and preparation for the upcoming NCAA Rifle Championships and many have chosen not to participate.
Still, plenty of firepower will be on display with the likes of 2012 Olympic gold medalist Jamie Gray (Lebanon, Pa.) along with international star Sergei Martynov of Belarus, the reigning Olympic Champion in Men’s Prone Rifle, who also has two Olympic bronze medals and two World Championship titles on his impressive career resume. Valerian Sauveplane of France, a 2010 World Championships silver medalist, will also compete in the Men’s Prone event.
This cast of shooting stars will join reigning USA Shooting national champions Justin Tracy (Pittsford, N.Y.), Sarah Beard (Danville, Ind.), John Joss (Fort Michael, Ala.) and Sarah Scherer (Woburn, Mass.) as well as 2012 Olympians Amanda Furrer (Spokane, Wash.) and Jonathan Hall (Carrollton, Ga.). Dempster Christenson (Sioux Falls, S.D.), a World Cup silver medalist in Air Rifle in 2013, will also be among the competitors. Other National Team athletes set to compete include Amy Sowash (Richmond, Ky.), Bryant Wallizer (Little Orleans, Md.) and Tom Csenge (Colorado Springs, Colo.).
The Rocky Mountain Rifle Championships is unique in the variety of talent the match attracts. Visiting shooters from Japan, Belarus, France, Argentina, Venezuela, Great Britain and Singapore will also join the Americans on the firing line. Britain’s two-time Paralympic medalist Matt Skelhon is one of the talented foreign athletes set to participate and test the American sharp shooters. Skelhon was a gold medalist in 2008 and followed that with a silver in 2012, losing by just three-tenths of a point.
The Rocky Mountain Rifle Championships will be the third featured match since USA Shooting enhanced its range capability with the installation of 70 new Megalink electronic targets along with advanced technology and event capabilities. The $500,000 was funded by USA Shooting along with major donors and partners who helped sponsor $80,000 in dedicated firing points to help make the range upgrade a reality.
Image courtesy USA Shooting