Keith Lay won his first NRA Creedmoor Nationals, held this past July 17-18 at the NRA Whittington Center, with a score of 514-6x.

Keith, who hails from Bay Springs, Mississippi, first shot at the nationals in 2005 and has only been competing in black powder target rifle since 2004. Most black powder shooters who come out to the Whittington Center have many more years of black powder shooting under their belts. “I’m a relative newcomer,” Keith said of his tenure at the Creedmoor Nationals.

How did Keith, who has been given the nickname “Doc” by the other shooters due being a Family Practitioner back home, get into black powder shooting? “I had a brother-in-law who hunted with a black powder gun and didn’t compete,” Keith said. “And it was such a pretty rifle, I wanted to try it myself.”

Being a competitive person and having enjoyed the rifle so much, Keith immediately got online and learned more about the black powder target rifle community and their competitions.

The NRA Whittington Center is known for its wind that picks up in the afternoon and can have a big impact on matches being held there. This especially affects black powder shooters because their bullets travel at such a low velocity. Having a good spotter to help correct your aim is extremely important at the Creedmoor Nationals and can make all the difference in the end.

The wind this year was no different, coming on strong just as shooters were wrapping up their 900 yard relays and moving back even further to 1,000 yards.

Keith’s spotter is Dan Theodore, an experienced black powder shooter who is the other half of Keith’s two-man team at the Creedmoor Nationals. The pair took the gold in the two-man competition this year, shooting a combined 1004-12x. Dan also won the High Spotter award this year for his exceptional work.

“My first Creedmoor match ever was in 2005 and Dan Theodore didn’t know me from Adam’s housecat and just picked me up and showed me a lot of things,” Keith said of how he got to know Dan. “Not only is he my spotter all these years, but he’s helped me with my reloading and everything – wind reading and everything. I simply wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for him.”

The good doctor also took home this year’s NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Mid-Range Prone Championship, held just prior to the Creedmoor Nationals.

Congratulations again to Keith and Dan. I’m sure we’ll see you back next year to defend your titles at the 2012 Creedmoor Nationals.

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