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Gallery: 2016 Bianchi Cup Awards Ceremony

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During his speech at the 2016 Bianchi Cup Awards Ceremony, Doug Koenig shared a story from earlier in his shooting career.

“For me, this match is all about the pressure and nerves. Anytime you can get through something like that, it’s a great feeling. It brings up a story about stress. I was asked a couple of times today what I thought about the new format, which is a story for another day. As it pertained to the Colt Championship Final today, the short answer is for me the Bianchi Cup week has been the most stressful 3-4 days for me every year. It’s self-induced, what I put into it and what I feel. The new format has elongated that to make it 5-6 days of pure torture, with no sleep [Laughs].

It brings me back to 1990, I’ll have to refresh Robbie [Rob Leatham] on this one. That year, I shot the first perfect score. Prior to that, I had some respectable finishes but never won anything like that. All of the sudden, I was at the Bianchi Cup, the holy grail of action shooting, and I’m clean going into the last day.

Flashback to the year before. I was dead last, I had ammo problems—I didn’t even make the chrono. My scope broke on the Mover, and I had to borrow Robbie’s gun to finish the match. On top of that, the next year I had to convince Robbie to sell me one of his guns. He said it didn’t do too well X-ring wise.

In 1990 I was three stages clean going into the last day, and I was anticipating the barricade event. That year I was rooming with Robbie, and I was having a hard time sleeping. At 1:30 a.m. when I was up restless during my sleepless night before the last day, Robbie asked me, ‘What in the heck are you doing?’

I replied, ‘I’m getting ready to shoot the barricade in a few hours.’

Robbie said, 'It’s 1:30 in the morning, are you out of your mind? You have got to be kidding me. Get back to bed and get some sleep.’

I’ve shot many types of shooting disciplines but those kinds of things always seemed to come up for me here because it is Bianchi, and for some of us when we talk about coming here and shooting the toughest stage for each one of us—we say it is time to ride the horse.”

Learn more about the Bianchi Cup at bianchicup.nra.org.

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