The National Rimfire Sporter match, fired on Sunday, July 21, had over 350 entries, with shooters that came from as far as Ireland to compete at Camp Perry in what the CMP describes as “one of the most diverse events fired during the National Matches season.”
The Rimfire Sporter event is an introduction to competitive shooting—gathering both adults and juniors on the firing line with .22 LR rifles and a simple Course of Fire (COF) that incorporates 50- and 25-yard shooting distances. Three separate classes of rifle are available: O-Class (open-sighted rifles), T-Class (telescopic rifles) and TU-Class (tactical and unlimited rifles, any sights).
Leading the TU-Class was Jake Perry, 34, of Genoa, OH, with a score of 592-27X. Scott Schindehette, 74, of Saginaw, MI, took the High Senior title. Jean Redicker, 55, of Vallonia, IN, earned High Woman, fourth overall and also secured a new TU-Class National Record score of 588-27X. Last but not least, Davis Sodders, 20, of Baltimore, OH, was the TU-Class High Junior for the second year in a row.
At the top of the T-Class leaderboard was junior Marissa Bensch, 19, of Stillwater, OK, who came out on top of over 200 other entrants with an aggregate score of 595-39X.
Bensch has had successful showings during the National Rimfire Sporter events, also flourishing this year in O-Class as High Woman. In 2017, Bensch was named the High 4-H competitor of the T-Class and was the O-Class High 4-H shooter at last year’s National Rimfire event. This year, her brother, Brayden, 15, was the O-Class High 4-H Junior.
Brayden and Marissa both said the conditions during the match were fair, with typical summer temps for the area warming up competitors as the day went on. The heat brought more challenges for participants, but the duo relied on their experiences to help them through the match.
“The second relay was tough because when the heat hit, you started to get the mirage,” said Brayden.
Marissa added, “But it was still pretty cool [and] a lot cooler than Oklahoma.”
Brayden and Marissa attended with the rest of their Oklahoma 4-H Shooting Sports Club. The growing group practices .22 LR rifle, shotgun, muzzleloader, archery and air rifle. (See them pictured at the top of this article.)
“Basically, [we practice] everything that we can,” said Marissa.
The juniors credit their skills to the knowledge they’ve received from being a part of 4-H.
“We have really good coaches and really good competitors,” said Brayden. “Everyone who shows up is really nice and it’s a really good program to get started into.”
The Bensch family got involved in 4-H after participating in NRA’s YHEC program—the Youth Hunter Education Challenge, designed for youth shooters from the ages of 9 to 19. The training they received there got them hooked, leading them to discover more about the fundamentals of competition shooting.
“After we learned about it, we tried our best to shoot as good as we could,” said Brayden. “Then we found goals and got good coaches, good friends taught us a couple things and we just kept shooting to the best of our abilities—which we took on pretty well.”
“It teaches a lot of leadership skills and just life skills starting out and continuing to go on as young adults,” Marissa said.
“You can also get to know pretty much anyone from around the state or around the country,” Brayden added. “It’s really good people [and] good friends.”
In other T-Class results at the 2019 Rimfire event, Nathan Tornow, 18, of Gibsonburg, OH, earned High 4-H Junior as Rachel Slizewski, 18, of Commerce, GA, secured the High Junior title. The T-Class High Woman was Brenna Steger, 17, of Sandford, NC, who landed fourth overall.
Steger went on to earn the overall win in the O-Class with a score of 590-24X. Shannon Heist, 20, of Heath, OH, was named High Junior, and Timothy Ovaert, 60, of Notre Dame, IN, finished third overall with a score of 572-15X—garnering the High Senior title.