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Remembering the 2010 Bianchi Cup

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Editor's note: 2010 marked a watershed year for the NRA Bianchi Cup, a storied championship that was the pioneer big money action pistol competition. The Cup rose to new heights as more action shooting sports celebrities attended, sponsor support grew, the range expanded and the number of production class shooters doubled in one year. All of these factors brought the once-struggling match back into the limelight. Here's former Managing Editor Chip Lohman's coverage of the event, as published in the August 2010 issue of Shooting Sports USA.

Except for Max Michel’s (SIG Sauer) required trip to Norway, virtually everyone in Action Shooting—both shooters and sponsors—attended this year’s Cup. The doubling of first-time production shooters contributed to the record number of contestants who enjoyed themselves from May 26-30 in Columbia, MO. Credit Tom Hughes’ (NRA National Pistol Manager) effective management of this prestigious event, the generosity of the sponsors, dedicated volunteers and a growing number of every-day production shooters for the continuing 32-year tradition of excellence in action pistol sports.

The Cup originated with John Bianchi’s vision in the mid-1970s. In his words, “I’d been a pistol shooter all my life and as I shot with friends at different ranges around the country, I was slightly distressed by the image of pistol shooters, where they shot and how they conducted themselves on the range. Although there were some fine outdoor ranges in a number of cities across the country, in many areas the best range facility was usually a garbage dump, rock quarry or someplace close to that.”

In typical Bianchi style, he set his sights on a solution and never looked back. From author Dennis Adler’s biography on John Bianchi: “Outside Olympic competition, there weren’t many formal shooting organizations until the 1970s when the IPSC (International Practical Shooting Confederation) was formed. In 1984 the USPSA (United States Practical Shooting Association) was organized as the U.S. Region of IPSC. However, five years before the USPSA was established, John Bianchi’s vision for a formalized pistol competition resulted in the first Bianchi Cup match at Ray Chapman’s Green Valley Rifle and Pistol shooting range.”

And the rest is history. Once Bianchi partnered with Colt and Smith & Wesson, then Ruger and other companies soon followed.

Watch video of the 2010 Bianchi Cup

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