At the 2018 NRA National Smallbore Rifle Conventional 3-Position Championships in Bristol, IN, one competitor showed true integrity and character on the firing line. Fifteen-year old M’Leah Lambdin was in standing when she ran out of time for her last shot, a blunder the scorekeepers did not catch. Due to M’Leah’s other four shots grouped extremely close together, they thought she had a double in the same hole, and therefore counted it. M’Leah, of her own accord, informed the match officials that her score should be 10 points lower since she didn’t take the fifth shot.
“My school coach always says, ‘Let your conscience be your guide,’” the teenaged smallbore shooter asserted. M’Leah is in the Junior ROTC program at Granbury High School in Texas. The coach she mentions is Lt. Col. Scott Casey.
Lambdin immediatley called her mother, Beth, who was at home in Texas, after the match.
“M’Leah was very sad and very upset as she told me what happened and what she had done,” said Beth Lambdin. “She was mostly upset as she knew that not only did this hurt her in placement, but also her team.”
“I’m so very proud of her and this means more to me than any award or score she could ever get,” said Beth Lambdin about her daughter.
To help us learn more about what makes this young shooter tick, M’Leah was kind enough to answer a few questions for SSUSA about her background in competitive shooting.
Q: When did you start shooting?
A: The first time I ever shot a rifle was five years ago, when I visited my grandfather over summer break, and he taught me how to shoot. After that day I fell in love with shooting. When my parents came to pick me up, I gushed to them about how much I enjoyed shooting with my Grandpa Berry, and how I wanted to go up there again to shoot with him. Grandpa Berry pushed my parents to sign me up for a 4-H shooting team, so that I could continue to shoot.
Q: What’s your favorite part of competition?
A: The best part is that it’s always a competition with yourself. At the end of the day, I’m the one pulling the trigger, shooting for the highest score I can achieve that day. In shooting, I always have to strive to push myself to the limits to improve my score each time I get on the line. The equipment is not the most important, but more yourself as a person. The space between your ears will make or break you in a match. This is a sport that demands constant improvement, and every competition is a new chance at that.
Q: What gun and ammo did you shoot this year?
A: I was using an Anschutz 1907 and Eley as ammo. Depending on whether I’m shooting in a match or practice, I use either Eley Practice, Eley Match or Eley Tenex. Each has helped me shoot the best scores I possibly can.
Q: Do you have a shooting mentor?
A: With so many amazing athletes in this sport, it can be hard to pinpoint just one person. My Grandpa has always been a person I’ve looked up to since he was the first person to teach me how to shoot, but as I became more invested in the shooting sports I become more exposed to even more amazing shooters.
My first outdoor coach, Doug Wall, has always been behind me, no matter how far away or big the match. Coach Wall was the first person who taught me how to read the wind, and he always reminds me to pay attention to the conditions. I’ll always look up to him.
Finally, my parents, for everything they do for me and all the sacrifices they continue to make. No matter how bad of a day I have on the range, or how upset I am with myself, I always have their smiling faces to go back to. They’ve always encouraged me to work for my goals no matter how hard they are.