Congratulations to John Whidden (Nashville, GA), this year's NRA National High Power Rifle Long Range Champion. Repeating his victory last year at the same match, Whidden's 2017 performance crushed his previous score by six points—1246-91X. For the any rifle matches he was using a .243 Win., and for Palma he used a .308 Win. Both rifles were were built in his namesake custom shop, Whidden Gunworks.
Whidden said, “I want to thank my sponsors, Berger Bullets and Bartlein Barrels. Both companies make great products. I also want to thank my family, for traveling with me and for everything they do to support me.”
In second place was Phillip Crowe (Cullman, AL) with a score of 1245-68X. Finishing third was the 2015 champion Nancy Tompkins with 1244-65X.
For the special awards, Jonathan Howell (Bear, DE) won High Junior scoring 1223-49X. MAJ Samuel Freeman (Hendersonville, NC) of the U.S. Army Reserve was the High Service Rifle winner with a score of 1227-44X. High Palma Rifle was Keith Hoverstad (Raleigh, NC) who finished with 1238-60X.
This was the first year the NRA High Power Rifle Championships, including Long Range, were held at Camp Atterbury, IN, after moving from their previous home at Camp Perry, OH. The historic move, although controversial to some, was embraced by competitors who participated in the championships at the new venue this summer.
One shooter who wanted to share an objective view of both venues had this to say about Camp Atterbury, via the NRA High Power Rifle Facebook page: “I, no doubt, love Camp Perry. I earned all my distinguished points at Perry, made the Presidents 100 there, and I have [made] countless memories there. However, as a match rifle shooter, I will undoubtedly be back at Atterbury next year.”
Additionally, Long Range Champion John Whidden chimed in on the Camp Atterbury experience. “A nice place and a very nice facility, everything was very well manicured. It was exciting to be at a new venue.”