Opening Shots of the 2012 Bianchi Cup: Shooting with the Best


During my thirty plus years of shooting, I’ve attended countless matches. Some I really expected to win, some I shot just for fun. Yesterday, on my first stage of the Midway 2012 Bianchi Cup National Action Pistol Championship, I was as nervous as the first match I ever shot at the Davidson County Police Range in 1976. Like that match, I had no intention of winning. I was shooting for the experience. In that match, due to lack of real competition in civilian class, I won my class. Yesterday, I was waxed by almost everyone in my class but this wasn’t the point. The point was, I really had fun.

Part of that fun was the simple joy of shooting. Part was also the pleasure of spending a day with good friends and seeing some of the best shooters in the country compete for the most prestigious title in pistol shooting, the Bianchi Cup. Walking around the Green Valley range were the legends of pistol shooting, Doug Koening, Bruce Piatt, Rob Leatham and John Pride. Dozens of others are going about the business of testing themselves one more year against a challenging course of fire. You can see from their faces both on the range and at the social last evening, they’re also having a lot of fun.

For every potential Cup winner, there are a dozen guys with dreams of greatness or perhaps just a sense of pride in competing shoulder to shoulder with their heroes. There are also dozens like me. I have no illusions of greatness at my age but it’s just plain fun to shoot the Bianchi course of fire.

Last evening, I met Kevin Kaffrey, from St Louis, who’s shooting his first Bianchi Cup this year and until yesterday, he’d never shot a pistol match or stage. Kevin attended the NRA Annual Convention this year and signed up for all sorts of trips and prizes as most attendees do. One booth was the Woolrich Clothing booth. Woolrich is a sponsor for the Bianchi Cup and April 24 he received a call informing him to start practicing, he would be attending the Bianchi Cup at their expense. “I didn’t take the call seriously until my clothes for the match showed up a few days later. Then I started to believe them. It was a big surprise. I’d never won anything,” he said. “I have a .44 but I didn’t think it would work well for this. I bought a High Point 9mm and a bunch of magazines. It’s working fine.”

Kevin Kaffery poses for a photo with Chris Cerino and Iain Harrison from Top Shot Series One

Kevin had shot pistol in the military and loved shooting but never considered something like this. “I’m just shooting for fun and I really had a good time. I shot the moving target first. It was scary at first but after you shoot at the first target you kind of relax and have fun. Everybody kept telling me to just have fun and I have. I was telling Damien how much fun I’m having and he invited me to come back next year as a standby paramedic.” (Damien Orsinger is Match Director for the Bianchi Cup)

Both serious to some competitors and a lark for others, the Bianchi Cup is a Mecca for action pistol aficionados. It is both career making and breaking hard, and at the same time a fun social event. It’s a reunion, an epic test of skill, a series of fun days on the range, and a way for an individual to test his mettle in an arena of pressure resulting from the sheer size and fame of the event. It is and yesterday was the Bianchi Cup.

Come back tomorrow for a deeper look into what it’s like to shoot the Bianchi.

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