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2016 Steamboat Challenge NRA Action Pistol Regional

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Thirty-five top NRA Action Pistol competitors from seven states gathered on the high plains of southeast Wyoming for the second annual Steamboat Challenge NRA Action Pistol Regional and Wyoming State Championship. The match was conducted in August at the Otto Road Shooting Range in Cheyenne, WY.

The name of the challenge pays homage to Steamboat, a Wyoming bred championship bucking horse from over 100 years ago. Steamboat is considered to be one of the greatest bucking broncos of all time and is the state symbol of Wyoming.

The Steamboat match provides unique challenges to the Action Pistol competitor. The Otto Road Shooting Range is located 6,600 feet above sea level and can be besieged by strong winds. Many competitors arrived early to practice and help “acclimatize” to the altitude and shooting conditions.

The Regional match got under way on Saturday with a match program that duplicated the annual NRA Bianchi Cup National Championship.

NRA Action Pistol is a test of speed and accuracy with an emphasis on accuracy. The sport is different from most of the other action pistol disciplines because all the stages are fired under time pressure and pistol and revolver shooters compete on an equal basis. A typical match is a test of a competitor’s handgun skill requiring shooting with accuracy at a moving target, shooting from behind a Barricade, shooting at multiple targets from as far as 50 yards and shooting at knockdown steel plates 8 inches in diameter with no makeup shots or alibis.

There are four competitive divisions in NRA Action Pistol—the first is Open which features handguns with upgrades for accuracy, including optical sights and recoil compensators. Second is Metallic Sights which features handguns with extensive modifications for accuracy but without optical sights. Production is a very popular division because it features standard out of the box handguns with very few modifications permitted. The .22LR Rimfire Division allows a competitor to compete using low cost .22LR ammunition. The Production and .22LR Rimfire Divisions allow a competitor to enjoy and compete in NRA Action Pistol with minimal expense.

A major highlight of this year’s match was a visit by Wyoming Governor Matt Mead. Governor Mead is an A+ supporter of the NRA, and a stalwart defender of Second Amendment rights, hunter rights and the shooting sports. Governor Mead observed some shooting events and took time to meet and greet with all the competitors and range staff. Everyone was thrilled to have Governor Mead attend the Steamboat Challenge and we look forward to his continued interest and support.

Weather conditions for the Regional match were optimal with plenty of sunshine, a summer breeze and temperatures in the 60s. A total of 192 shots were fired among four events with a maximum possible score of 1920-192X. Last years winner James Avenell from Columbia, MO, fired a perfect 1920 with 174 X’s, winning first place for the second consecutive year. Troy Mattheyer from Ellis, KS, took second place and Jonah Avenell (James’s son) won third.

Sunday's Wyoming State Championship shooting program had an Olympic twist. With the Rio Olympics going on one event in the program was International Rapid Fire which has been an Olympic shooting sport since the Modern games began in 1896. Another event was new to the NRA Action Pistol program—the Barricade (Modified) requires the competitor to shoot from one side of the Barricade and then reload the pistol or revolver under time pressure and fire on the other side of the Barricade at multiple targets from as far away as 35 yards. There were 174 shots fired over four events with a maximum possible score of 1740-174X.

The weather for the State Championship was optimal as Troy Mattheyer from Ellis, KS, took home the Bucking Horse and Rider trophy with a score of 1699-128X. Wyoming favorite Justin Clark from Cheyenne finished first in the tough Production Division with a score of 1651-99X.

In addition to some great competition, the shooting industry supported the championship by donating gift certificates and merchandise for the prize table. Steamboat Challenge is grateful for the support from Chey-Cast Bullets, Midsouth Shooting Supply, Starline Brass, Hornady Manufacturing, Lee Precision, Hodgdon, Laserlyte, and Hogue Handgun Grips. Shooters look forward to their continued support of the Steamboat Challenge.

The 2016 Steamboat Challenge was a huge success and we look forward to the continued support and growth of NRA Action Pistol shooting sport discipline. The 2017 Steamboat Challenge will be held August 19-20. See you next year in "Ol Cheyenne!"

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