Legends: Ernest Vande Zande 1948-2018

by
posted on October 3, 2018
vande-zande_2.jpg

The competitive shooting community sadly lost a pillar with the passing of shooting legend Ernest J. Vande Zande. The beloved rifle shooter, well-known as “the human benchrest,” passed away on September 29 at the age of 70, after a long struggle with pancreatic cancer.

A native of McCook, NE, Vande Zande was a prone rifle specialist, with over 200 records set in International competition. Graduating from Murray State University in 1971, he led the rifle team to four National Championship victories, earning All-American honors each year.

After graduating college, Vande Zande was commissioned as an Army officer, serving with the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, and overseas as Company and Compound Commander at Camp To Bong Son, Korea. He retired from the Army as a Major after serving 23 years active-duty and as a reservist.

Vande Zande established the National Record for the Critchfield course-of-fire consisting of 1600 iron and 1600 any sight shots with a score of 3200-301X. In 1980, Vande Zande won the NRA Smallbore Rifle Prone Championship at Camp Perry. The next year, he fired a world record in the English Match with a perfect 600 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Vande Zande was a member of the USAR Shooting Team from 1982-1994; and won 11 medals. An International Distinguished shooter, Vande Zande was on nine Dewar teams and spent six years working at the U.S. Olympic Training Center as an NRA employee in the 1980s and early 1990s, serving on the NRA International Competitions Committee. He was also the team leader for the U.S. shooting team at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Lones Wigger Legacy Online Endowment or the Murray State University Rifle Team Endowment.

Ernest Vande Zande
Ernest J. Vande Zande
April 23, 1948 - September 29, 2018

Latest

S W 380 Shield 1
S W 380 Shield 1

Smith & Wesson M&P380 Shield EZ: The Perfect Teaching Pistol?

Smith & Wesson’s mid-sized M&P380 Shield EZ has the perfect features for introducing students to the world of pistol shooting

Team Winchester’s Kim Rhode, Dania Vizzi Finish Strong At USA Shooting Shotgun National Championships

Team Winchester shooters Kim Rhode and Dania Vizzi shine at 2022 USA Shooting Shotgun Nationals

DC Project’s Dianna Muller On ‘Impactful’ Capitol Hill Visit: ‘We Built Bridges’

Last week, the DC Project returned to Washington, D.C., to share its pro-Second Amendment message on Capitol Hill

USA Clay Target League: 13,214 Competitors Participating In 2022 Fall Season

With more than 13,000 competitors registered, the USA Clay Target League said it has broken the participation record

2022 NRA National Matches At Camp Atterbury (Part 1)

NRA’s National Matches held for second year at Camp Atterbury, an Indiana National Guard facility located about 37 miles south of Indianapolis

New: SIG Sauer MCX-SPEAR LT

The new SIG MCX-SPEAR LT is the latest evolution of the MCX platform

Interests



Get the best of Shooting Sports USA delivered to your inbox.