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3 - GUN NATIONAL SHOOTING COMPETITION

 

Boy Scout Volunteers.Top L-R.Catherine Grobler.Jaden Shaw.Darren Smith.Adler Smith.Jared Shaw.Paul Marken.Mark Blake.Mark Bettale.Bottom L-R Zachary Shaw.JR Miller.Andrew Grobler.Barrett Smith.Nicolas James.Liam Blake.Kayden Henderson.

The San Juan Wildlife Federation held the 2018 Annual Trophy 3-Gun Nation match in Farmington, NM at the San Juan Wildlife Federation on Saturday, June 30th. Thirty-two men and woman from ages 14 and up sought first place in what shooting competitor, Lanny Barnes, called "the fastest growing shooting competition." Barnes has taken part in the IBC Shotgun World Championship, as well as three Olympic Biathlon Cross Country Ski and Shoots, travelling as far as Russia. Although she is from Hesperus, CO, this was the her first time at the SJWF Range, and said "it's a great facility with good quality matches close by."

The 3-Gun competition consists of eight stages of fire. In each stage multiple .22 rounds are shot at multiple strategically placed targets while the shooter moves through the course. A rifle, a pistol, and a shotgun are used in succession in this fast paced sport. The eight stages are set up differently using well planned schematics and safety regulations which are studied by participants up to 30 days before the event. Competitors, when ready to begin a stage are first taken through the stringent safety rules. (Participants will be disqualified if their practices are unsafe.) They are then introduced to the course and are able to do a walk through. This is not just sitting at a table and firing at a few targets. This consists of starting in a well marked box, firing at several targets rapidly, setting the rifle in a designated barrel for safety, then running to another starting box, using a hand gun and at last a shotgun in a similar fashion.

Participants consisted of approximately 20% who are currently law enforcement personnel and several who are either retired or have previously been in law enforcement.

The challenging stages began being set up for the event on the prior Wednesday. There is much preparation involved for this event. There were approximately 25 volunteers who prepared and worked the range. Some of them also competed on Friday which also enabled them to be better able to explain the stages and safety rules on Saturday. San Juan Regional Medical Center EMS was also available on site as a precaution.

Boy Scouts from Troop 325 of Aztec and Farmington Troop 341 volunteered to pick up spent casings. The Aztec Troop has consistently helped with this task while Troop 341 was there for the first time. Many of the boys related that they enjoyed the experience. Learning gun safety is of paramount importance, while money is earned to support their troops through donations from competitors as well as selling the brass for recycling. This also keeps the range clean and it helps the environment which was the intial aim for the San Juan Wildlife Federation. BSA also emphasizes teaching these young men to be responsible and enviromentally conscious.

A participant must qualify for one of the five Top Gun Divisions in the shooting competition that consisted of Factory, Practical, Unlimited, Unclassified, and Amateur. Trophies were handed out for each of these divisions. Overall trophies were also awarded to: Top Senior: 1st Place; Barry Dyar, 2nd Place; Larry Johnson, Top Lady: Diana Driscoll and Top LEO: Jasper Donenici

14 year old Talon Harvey from La Plata, NM was the youngest to show his marksmanship skills at the match, however, ages 12 and up can join in.

The San Juan Wildlife Federation, a local non-profit organization consisting of approximately 900 members, offers many opportunities to learn and practice marksmanship in a safe and appropriate manner. They support 4-H and the Aztec High School Shotgun Team. Youth opportunities are available with airguns as well as a free Youth Sportsfest to sample all disciplines of shooting at the range on August 25th, 2018. Young people ages 8 to 18 can safely and responsibly learn to shoot shotguns, cowboy rifles, side by side shotguns, black powder rifles and a rimfire challenge, which includes the staff dressing in period costumes of the old west. Concealed Carry Courses as well as matches are held monthly for a set fee. Every Saturday from 9am to 12pm the shotgun trap range is open to the public. Indoor .22 Bullseye is held every Thursday at 7pm and is open to both members and the public for a $5 fee.

 

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