Above: Ted James (center) was the overall winner in the T-Class as well as the Tactical Class at the 2016 National Rimfire Sporter Match.
Despite the sweltering 90-degree summer heat, Ted James, 37, of Woodville, OH, had an incredible day on July 9 as he was named the overall winner of both the T-Class and the Tactical Class competitions at this year's National Rimfire Sporter event at Camp Perry—the first match of the prestigious National Trophy Pistol and Rifle Matches.
In the Rimfire Sporter Match competitors fire smallbore sporter rifles in three different classes: T-Class (telescoped rifles), O-Class (open sights) and Tactical. A winner, high junior, high senior and high woman is awarded from each class, based on scores.
Beating over 220 competitors in the T-Class, James stayed ahead of the pack with a score of 598-40X. In the Tactical Class, where he currently holds the National Record (595-37X—fired last year at Camp Perry), he recorded an aggregate score of 592-27X.
“I just had a good day,” he said as he laughed. “I practiced pretty hard in the week leading up to it.”
Going along with practice, James also credits his win to the Rimfire Sporter Match’s accessibility—the way it’s meant to encourage old and young marksmen alike by its simple and stimulating design.
“That’s the thing—it’s low cost, and it’s easy to get started in. There shouldn’t be any fear in trying it out,” he said. “People come out here and have a good time.”
Also having a “good time” was junior Sawyer Williams, 15, of Lula, GA, who earned the High Junior award for the T-Class with a score of 594-35X. A member of the Bartow County 4-H team with Sam Payne, National Record setter and currently the only Rimfire Sporter competitor to ever fire a perfect score of 600. Williams beat his teammate by just five X’s.
“It felt good, but I also know that Sam has shot equal and better than me, multiple times, so it’s just different days, different scores. It’s kind of like another day, to be honest,” said Williams.
Junior Leah Martin, 15, of Cartersville, GA, earned the High Woman award in the T-Class with her score of 591-26. Martin, also a member of the Bartow team, talked a little about what it’s like to be a female competing against her male peers.
“You always want to try to beat them—always,” she said with a laugh. “But you feel like you’re a part of them. Gender doesn’t separate you.”
Filling in the final T-Class individual award was Scott Schindehette, 71, of Saginaw, MI, who fired a score of 588-31X to become High Senior of the class.
In Tactical, Brianna Toikkanen, 18, of Conneaut, OH, received High Junior recognition after firing her score of 573-17X. Richard Dixon, 64, of National City, MI, recorded a score of 590-30X to earn second overall in the class and the High Senior award. High Woman was Cindy Bailey, 44, of Westlake, OH, with a score of 575-25X.
Winning the O-Class was CSM Steven Slee, 52, of Dimondale, MI, with an exceptional score of 594-23X—a new National Record. Slee also landed in second place behind Ted James in the T-Class, falling only three points short of the overall title.
High Junior of the O-Class was Sean Wilkinson, 17, of Williamston, MI, who earned a new National Record and second place overall behind Slee, with a score of 588-28X. Don Moore, 66, of Chattanooga, TN, (who set a senior National Record in the class at last year’s event) received the High Senior honor with a score of 580-23X. Additionally Amanda LaBeff, 34, of Saginaw, MI, fired a score of 530-9X to win High Woman.