September 7, 2015
ARIZONA SCORPIONS STING COMPETITORS AT THE 2015 NATIONAL RIFLE MATCHES
(August, 2015, Camp Perry Training Site, Port Clinton OH); The Arizona Junior High Power Rifle Team, the “Scorpions,” stung their way to impressive victories at the 2015 National Rifle Matches held at the Camp Perry Training Site, Port Clinton, Ohio, July 14th through the 23rd. The team secured two highly coveted National Championships: the prestigious Whistler Boy Match, where two Junior team members shoot 50-shots each at bullseye targets at 200, 300 and 600-yards, with a coach reading the wind and calling the shots; and the National Trophy Infantry Team Match (NTIT), the arduous, “Rattle-Battle” match, fired by six-teammates and led by two coaches.
THE SCORPIONS DECLARED NRA’S NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP JUNIOR TEAM
Two Arizona Scorpion teammates set a new national record in the NRA’s, 2015 Whistler Boy match of 977-30X, eclipsing the previous national record by two points. The former record was established at the National Matches 16-years ago, in 1999. The Whistler Boy is probably the most difficult match on the National Matches schedule, and the winner earns the right to be named NRA’s National Championship Junior Team. When the previous record was established, most of the Arizona Juniors were still toddlers. Today, their names are in the NRA archives as the new top Junior team, having eclipsed every previous record since 1978, when the match was organized
Tom Kirby, the Arizona Junior’s veteran coach and program director for the Arizona State Rifle and Pistol Association, coached the two teammates through difficult conditions by memorizing the mirage before the Whistler Boy match started. After a dozen years of coaching Junior rifle shooters at the National Rifle Matches, Coach Kirby said he has learned that the mirage at Camp Perry always has a predominant, “safe zone” to shoot in. If you wait for that zone, he says, a team will only need to make only a few minor wind corrections at six-hundred-yards. And most of those corrections will be quarter-minute adjustments, he said.
“The 10’s and X’s were there for us when we stayed in the zone,” said Coach Kirby. “The teammates fired 20 rounds each at six-hundred, and we only dropped eight points out of 40-shots between them,” he added. The coach said that many of the competing teams didn’t realize that the mirage would routinely settle into a smooth, three-minute river of air that was easier to navigate shots through.
Coach Kirby’s two Junior teammates shot high-master-classification scores in the Whistler Boy match, and both fired their best scores since they began shooting high power rifle. Kade Jackovich finished with a 492-14X and dropped only seven points total out of 50-rounds. Zac Clark finished with a 485-16X after dropping only three-points in his rapid-fire sitting and rapid-fire prone positions combined.
As the coach and the two teammates walked off the 600-yard firing line, they realized they were the first team to finish shooting and would have a long wait to learn if they would be one of the top teams. Only after the NRA posted the scores an hour later did they realize that they had won the NRA’s prestigious Whistler Boy, and had set a new national record in the process.
The Junior-only Whistler Boy match was organized in 1978 by the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP), and the NRA, as a cooperative endeavor to support the National Board for Promotion of Rifle Practice (NBPRP). Teams consist of two Junior rifle shooters (between 14 and 20-years of age), and a supportive coach. Both team members fire 10-shots at 200-yards standing, and 200-yards rapid-fire sitting; 10-shots at 300-yards rapid-fire prone, and 20-shots slow-fire prone at 600-yards. The two scores are added together for the final score. The two teammates and the coach received Whistler Boy Trophies and gold medallions for winning the match and setting a new National Record.
ARIZONA SCORPIONS WIN THE INFANTRY TEAM MATCH, KNOWN AS THE, “RATTLE-BATTLE.”
As with the Whistler Boy match, the coaches burned the mirage into their minds for Rattle-Battle, and knew exactly what the wind call would have to be. On their way to the firing line, the six teammates were told to put, ‘four-minutes left’ on their rifles, and as the targets appeared, the coaches saw the bullet-traces (through binoculars) impacting the center of the silhouettes. More than half of the competing teams under-guessed the strength of the mirage, as no other Junior team was within 70 points of the Arizona Scorpions. Coach Kirby and team captain, Randy Jackovich, were convinced that their mirage reconnaissance won both the Rattle-Battle and Whistler Boy matches.
The notorious National Trophy Infantry Team match, or “Rattle-Battle,” as it’s called, is 2-1/2 minutes of simulated combat. The match is fired by six team members walking line-abreast military style, shooting at eight silhouette targets at 600, 500, 300, and 200-yards. A team coach and captain walk with the team and use binoculars to follow bullet traces and make quick wind-call changes. Scoring is based on the total number of hits on the eight targets. Hits at 600-yards get four-points. 500-yard hits get three-points. 300-yard hits get two-points, and 200-yards hits earn one-point each. All targets that receive six or more hits have been “squared,” that is, the number of squared targets multiplied by itself, count as bonus points. Squaring all eight targets definitely increases the odds of wining.
Two of the team’s shooters (called swing shooters), who are usually placed on opposite ends of the line formation, have to shoot at two targets each, thus covering all eight targets. Teams supply their own 384 rounds of ammo that’s distributed among team members. A shooter who can fire 25 to 30 rounds in 50-seconds with 87 to 95-percent hits, will get more ammo than slower shooters. And, it’s common that some of the best bullseye shooters in the country may not even qualify for a Rattle-Battle team, because they are unable to place a high percentage of well-aimed, well-placed hits on silhouette targets, while shooting rapid-fire.
Once the command, “Load and be ready” has been given at the 600-yard firing line, (the length of 6 football fields placed end-to-end), the full-sized Army silhouette targets will be exposed for 50-seconds. During this time, seven teams (squads) amounting to 42 individual riflemen and women, comprised of Juniors, seniors, military teams, civilian adults, novice, intermediate, expert, etc., will commence rapid-fire on their own bank of eight targets. Match officials in the pitts and walking behind the teams with hand-held radios certify target hits, targets squared, and total scores of each team. After firing at 600-yards, the seven teams advance very quickly to 500-yards and repeat the same excruciating 50-second exercise. Then do it again at 300-yards shooting at the shorter, Army F-silhouette. Rarely do better teams have ammo left to shoot at 200-yards.
In just 3.3 minutes of actual shooting (not counting time to walk forward), nearly 2,690 rounds are fired by seven teams. The 32 teams that participated in the Rattle-Battle match at Camp Perry in late July of this year, fired about 12,300 rounds into Lake Erie. Only the Yellow Perch know where they landed. That’s why they call it the Rattle-Battle, the most exhilarating, and gut-wrenching of all rifle matches.
The Civilian Marksmanship Program’s (CMP), archives reveal that the Arizona Juniors have now won the NTIT Rattle-Battle/Freedom Fire match 14-times. That’s more than any other Junior rifle team in the history of the match.
The Arizona Junior High Power Rifle Team is a division of the Arizona State Rifle and Pistol Association (ASRPA). In recent years, team members have earned dozens of medals, trophies, awards, college scholarships, military academy appointments, and several team members have recently earned the Distinguished Rifleman’s badge.
The Arizona Junior Rifle Team earned 19-individual medals and 11 trophies at the 2015 National Matches at Camp Perry. The wins include:
“Whistler Boy Match” – (1) The Coach Kirby team won the National Trophy and set a new National Record of 977-30X. All three team members were presented with trophies and gold medallions. The two shooters also received $500 gift certificates. (2) The Coach Langdon team earned bronze medals with a score of 943-15X.
NTIT “Rattle-Battle” Match – Coach Kirby and Captain Jackovich beat 14 other Junior teams, 19 civilian and military teams, and finished 13th overall, out of 32 teams. No other Juniors were closer than 70 points of Arizona. The six-person team and coaches received trophies and gold medals.
“Freedom’s Fire Match” -- Coach Gorin and two team members earned bronze medals in the National Trophy Junior Team Match, the equivalent of the NRA’s Whistler Boy Match.
National Trophy Individual Match (NTI) -- An Arizona Junior was in the top ten-percent of all competitors with a 474-17X, and earned ten, “Excellence In Competition” award points, enough to reach 30 points to earn the coveted Distinguished Rifleman’s Badge. There are fewer Distinguished Riflemen than there are Medal of Honor recipients.
“The Presindet’s-100” – The same team member who earned the 10 LEG points and went Distinguished, also joined the Nation’s elite, “President’s – 100,” as one of the top 100 riflemen and women out of 1,000 rifle competitors with a score of 287-5X.
The annual rifle and pistol championships are jointly sponsored by the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP), and the National Rifle Association (NRA), and are held at the Camp Perry Training Site, located in Port Clinton, Ohio. The shooting ranges are located on the south shore of Lake Erie. The National Matches have been held continuously at the Camp Perry site since 1907.
The Arizona Scorpions Rifle Team has earned a ranking, both at home and nationally, as one of the top Junior rifle teams in the in the country. They consistently rank high among all competitors at the National Rifle Matches. They are formidable rifle competitors, and admirable young adults who know where they are going in life, and how to get there. As always, the team program is appreciate of your support to make this program possible. Visit our website at arizonajuniorhp.com.