The 2019 Steamboat Challenge NRA Action Pistol Regional and Wyoming State Championship had shooters from all four points of the compass converged on “The Capital of the Old West” for a great weekend of Action Pistol competition. The match was conducted earlier this month at the Otto Road Shooting Range in Cheyenne, WY, concluding on Sunday, August 18.
The Steamboat Challenge pays homage to Steamboat. Born in 1896, he was a Wyoming bred black gelding who was huge, ornery and known as “the horse that couldn’t be ridden.” As a colt he sustained a broken bone in his nose that caused him to make an odd whistling sound when he bucked earning him the name Steamboat. The Steamboat legend lives on as he is the official state symbol of Wyoming.
This year’s Wyoming State Champion and winner of the Steamboat Challenge, Adam Sokolowski of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit
This Regional and State Championship certainly lived up to the “Challenge” portion of the name. Not only did competitors have to deal with the altitude—the range elevation is 6,600 feet—but also the changing weather conditions. There were fair skies but high winds—especially on Saturday during the Regional, with strong westerly winds gusting to 40 mph. By Sunday, winds arriving from the south were at a more tolerable level.
Saturday’s Regional consisted of the traditional four events that comprise the NRA Bianchi Cup National Action Pistol Championship—the Moving Target, Barricade, Practical and the Falling Plates.
The 2019 Steamboat Challenge Regional Champions (l. to r.): Adam Sokolowski (Open and High Overall), Robert Gaskins (Metallic), Anthony Heinauer (Production) and Bridger Steege (Rimfire and High Junior).
The Wyoming State Championship on Sunday was different. We announced two of the four events months ago in the match program those being the Texas Moving Target and the Falling Plates. The other two events were a mystery until the shooters meeting on Saturday, where a spinning wheel (like used for prize tables) determined the remaining two events. The other events on the spinning wheel were those included in the NRA Action Pistol rules, but not fired at the NRA Bianchi Cup. Round and round the wheel went, determining the last two events as the Ambidextrous Plates and the Barricade (Modified). The Ambidextrous Plates event is a difficult course requiring some strong and weak hand unsupported shooting—all under the same time limits as the traditional Falling Plates. A respectable score is over 400, but Adam Sokolowski of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit led the way with an impressive score of 480-48X, which was a full 50 points ahead of runner-up Timothy Theno’s score of 430-43X in the same event.
See the leaderboard below.
Open: Adam Sokolowski (High Overall), 1918-169X
Metallic: Robert Gaskins, 1587-67X
Production: Anthony Heinauer, 1899-129X
Rimfire: Bridger Steege (High Junior), 1810-100X
Wyoming State Championship
Champion: Adam Sokolowski, 1981-185X
Second: Timothy Theno, 1866-162X
Third: Alex Ragulsky, 1862-166X
Custom belt buckles were awarded to the top three shooters in the Wyoming State Championship. You can see them in the photo at the top of this article.
A big thank you and tip of the hat goes to the match sponsors: King Ranch, Otto Road Shooting Range, Chey Cast Bullets, High Plains Shooting Sports, Dees Enterprises, NSSF, Burris Optics, Vortex Optics, HIVIZ, Starline Brass, MidwayUSA, Redding Reloading Equipment, MEC Reloading, Lee Precision, Talon Grips, Decot Hy Wynd Sport Glasses, Western Powders, Competition Electronics and Boyt.
Finally, here’s a short anecdote about how supportive the Action Pistol community is. California shooter Seiichi Ishikawa had some tough luck with his luggage. When he arrived in Denver his gun and ammo arrived, but Ishikawa’s other bag that had his belt, holster and magazines did not make it. Chief Statistical Officer Renee Krawiec was able to help by lending Ishikawa a belt, holster and magazines for his gun. Thanks to Krawiec’s generosity, Ishikawa was able to successfully shoot both days of the competition.
View the complete results for the 2019 Steamboat Challenge Regional and State Championship at this link. Next year’s Steamboat Challenge is tentatively scheduled for the weekend of August 15, 2020. Mark your calendars and hope to see everyone once again in Ol’ Cheyenne.