For the second year in a row, the CMP Marksmanship Park in Talladega, AL, hosted the SIG Sauer World Speed Shooting Championship (WSSC). This year from May 15 to 19, 645 guns in all 13 divisions of Steel Challenge shot all eight stages over five days, once again setting a new attendance record for the match.
While the record event participation was impressive, it was the world record shooting which was the spotlight of the event. The WSSC holds the distinction of being the only Level IV Steel Challenge event in the world, and it is the only event in which world records in shooting performance are recognized. A total of 11 division world records were broken at the 2019 WSSC, including a mind-blowing 75.37-second time B.J. Norris scored in the Carry Optics division, which was also the fastest centerfire pistol time recorded at the match. That win marks the first time a Carry Optics shooter won the marquee match of centerfire pistol shooters—a spot that has been historically claimed by an Open shooter.
Kolby Pavlock also set a world record in the Rimfire Rifle Irons division, also garnering the fastest overall time recorded at the match at 60.61 seconds. Many within the sport speculated that this would be the year we would see the first sub-60 second time recorded, and Pavlock came the closest.
This year’s WSSC broke from the tradition of having side matches, and instead hosted demo bays from the likes of JP Enterprises, Tippman Arms and MBX. The change was, I believe, a good one for both vendors and competitors alike. The vendors on-site reported taking many orders from customers who had the opportunity to try their products, and the competitors really appreciated having the opportunity to actually shoot some of the top products on the market, the ultimate “try before you buy.”
USPSA President Mike Foley, Jake Martens, Troy McManus and the entire USPSA team worked tirelessly for days before any competitors arrived at Talladega to ensure that this was indeed a world-class event. Mike personally cut every board that held the MGM Targets steel plates used in the match. Each bay was lasered to ensure the proper target presentation was enjoyed by each competitor. The shooting bays were also meticulously prepped and without blemish by the time any competitors arrived.
As thrilling as the competition was, the WSSC is also such a wonderful place to not only see old friends and familiar faces, but also to put names to profile pictures. Team Match Tracker generously hosted a pizza social in the main clubhouse on Saturday evening, which was a huge success. The social aspect within the Steel Challenge “family” cannot be understated, and I think Match Tracker has blazed a trail that other sponsors should consider following at future events.
The teamwork between USPSA and sponsors that support the event was particularly evident during the awards ceremony and prize table presentations. Brian Conley of Hunters HD Gold live-streamed the entire awards ceremony to Facebook as well as recording and posting match video throughout the entire event. Without a doubt, Brian is the “James Brown” of the Practical Shooting sports. The room which housed the awards ceremony was positively bursting at the seams—truly a special ceremony to witness.
During the awards ceremony, Mike Foley announced that the 2020 World Speed Shooting Championship would be returning for a third year to the same venue over Memorial Day weekend in order to add an additional day of shooting and accommodate more competitors. This schedule, May 20-24, 2020, will be particularly helpful to junior shooters, as shooting over the holiday will be less disruptive their school schedule. So mark your calendars and start planning now on what will no doubt be another fantastic, record-breaking attendance at the 2020 World Speed Shooting Championship.