When did you become interested in competitive shooting?
Prior to ever purchasing my own firearm, I had shot guns at most 5 times in my life. With the first one being a KRISS Vector at the age of 17. Which means I got started in the firearms world much later than most competitors. When I turned 21, I made an impulsive decision to buy my own firearm, a Ruger MKIV, because I had always loved the aesthetics of it. But after doing that I didn’t want a $600 paper weight, so I began searching ways to use it in sports, namely the Olympics. However, I happened to cross paths with a site called practiscore and it showed me that I had a large range in very close vicinity that ran a multitude of different matches, one of which being Rimfire Challenge. When I saw that, my gut decision was to jump in headfirst, which started my shooting career.
Were your parents involved in any aspect of shooting? Hunting, competition, etc.?
Guns were not introduced into my life by my family. I even competed for a few months without even mentioning it to my family. But once I knew this was something that I would be doing for a long time I spilled the beans and they were surprised and intrigued to say the least, but supportive as always. It even worked out that my competing with guns convinced my mom to buy herself a firearm. I find it funny that I introduced my parents to firearms instead of the other way around.
Did you have a coach or mentor early on? If so, do you still work with them or another individual?
I played baseball with my own Dad as my mentor for 15 years prior to starting this sport. That is where I learned most of my core skills which I then transplanted into competitive shooting. I was, and still am, my own shooting coach. It takes a lot more time and discipline to teach yourself, but it’s completely possible, though I wouldn’t exactly recommend it.
Was Rimfire your first competitive endeavor?
Like most kids, I played a multitude of different sports but ended up sticking with Baseball for the long run. After I stopped playing near the end of high school, I took a competitive hiatus until midway through college where I had the urge once more to start competing in something again. This time was different though because I already had the skills to accel at just about anything I wanted to.
What attracted you to Rimfire?
The community aspect is what made me come back after my first match. Sure, it’s fun to shoot guns, but having kind people to talk to on a regular basis is exactly what I needed at the time. And to this day it is still the leading factor as to why I don’t move to something different.
Do you compete in other disciplines?
Steel Challenge and Rimfire Challenge are the only two shooting sports I compete in. I have shot USPSA and 3-gun but they were never as interesting to me as Steel and Rimfire Challenge.
How often do you practice and what is your regular routine?
To keep it concise, I practice when I can fit it into my schedule. When I started, I had school and work to think about, I only had so much time to dedicate. Now that I have graduated, I take a few days a week after work to dedicate my time to practice. My routine isn’t very strict, I tend to work on areas that I know need improvement. If Smoke and Hope is going well, I won’t worry about it till I start having issues again. The only time I dedicate practice specifically to Rimfire Challenge is before the World match.
How many Rimfire Challenge matches do you shoot each year?
This year I shot 8 Rimfire Challenge matches, most of which being majors. I am lucky enough to live in a region where Rimfire Challenge is plentiful.
What would you say to someone that is thinking about trying Rimfire Challenge?
You don’t even need to own a gun to shoot a match, just bring a box of ammo and people will gladly let you borrow guns. The community is what makes this sport great, the match is just an excuse to get together and have some fun.
What firearms do you use for Rimfire Challenge competitions?
My rifle is a JP Enterprises JP-22R. You don’t need what everyone else is shooting to compete at the highest level, you just need one that runs. If you are having issues with your current platform, this gun is your solution.
As for my pistol, it’s been an evolution. Last year at worlds I shot a Ruger MKIV with just an upgraded trigger. After that match I was able to use my prize table winnings to purchase a Volquartsen Mamba X Barrel and Bolt and combine it with a Tandemkross Kraken Frame. It’s a great platform to get started on.
Do you have a preferred ammunition?
I ran three different types of ammo at this match. My Irons pistol ran Aguila Super Extra HV, my Optics pistol ran Eley Force, and my Rifle ran CCI Blazer 40gr. With the Ammo shortage, I ran what I had. Though I will be running CCI Mini-Mags next year since I found a good deal on them!
Do you have sponsors? If so, who are they?
JP Rifles has been my sidekick throughout this journey. John Paul, the founder of the company, happened to squad with me at a local match a couple of years back and saw something in me at the time and decided to bring me on as a teammate even though my match wins consisted of nearly nothing. They have been a great company to work with and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I am also part of Steel Target Paint which has a great community. The amount of assistance they’ve given to matches and people in this sport is unmatched.
What is the secret to your success?
This sport is 90% a mental, so why aren’t you spending 90% of your time practicing the mental game? If you wish to take this sport seriously, and you want to succeed, don’t just throw lead down range. Take the time to improve yourself mentally. You’ll come to find out that it assists you in much more than competitive shooting, it’ll help you find success in every step you take throughout life. Mental management is the one skill that has allowed me to succeed, and I don’t hesitate to share it because it’s a life skill that I believe everyone could benefit from. It’s also the only skill that doesn’t rely on the capabilities of your body, but of your mind.
What are your long-term goals as a competitive shooter?
In Steel Challenge my current goal is a sub 55 second run. Once I achieve that, it’ll be a sub 50 second run, after that, sub 45. I could say that my goal is World Champion in Steel Challenge but winning depends on how my fellow competitors shoot too, and I don’t like basing my goals off of things I can’t control. My goal for the 2022 Rimfire World Championship wasn’t to win it, it was to shoot all the stages as fast and consistently as possible, I didn’t fully succeed at that, but nonetheless it still gave me the win.
What are your interests outside of shooting?
During the summers, I shoot, I run Steel Challenge matches, and I work. But during the winter when I take a break from shooting, I’ll spend a lot of my time with my friends and family. I’ll also do a lot of catching up on movies and shows that came out while I was busy.
Anything else you would like to tell viewer/reader about yourself and/or Rimfire Challenge?
This win means a lot to me, but it pales in comparison to the friendships I’ve made along the way. The Rimfire Challenge community is world class, and for that I consider us all winners.