Brandon Evans Earns Three-Position Smallbore Distinguished Badge No. 1

Distinguished Marksmanship Badges are a symbol of skill on the range and are highly respected in the shooting sports world.

by
posted on December 11, 2023
CMP Evans Badge 1
Brandon Evans is a freshman student-athlete on the University of Alaska-Fairbanks rifle team.
Nanooks Rifle

Brandon Evans, 19, of Poquoson, Va., is the recipient of the CMP’s Three-Position Smallbore Distinguished Badge No. 1.

His mark in the history books comes after years of persistent dedication and arrived, to him, by surprise.

“When Brad Donoho told me I had earned the badge, I was excited, but I didn’t even realize in the moment that it was No. 1,” Evans explained.

Brandon Evans
Brandon Evans, the holder of the first Three-Position Smallbore Distinguished Badge, began as a junior athlete in air rifle and smallbore at his local club in Virginia.

 

Distinguished Badges are the highest individual awards authorized by the United States Government for excellence in marksmanship competition. Badges, offered in several disciplines, are presented by the CMP after an individual receives at least 30 Excellence-In-Competition (EIC) “leg” points at qualifying matches. It’s a symbol of consistent skill on the range and is a merit looked upon with respect in the marksmanship world.

Brad Donoho, CMP smallbore manager, has been keeping an eye on the Smallbore Distinguished program since its beginnings. He knew the race to No. 1 was tight and had a feeling this year someone would bring it home.

“I got the sense that a bunch of shooters were all trying to get Badge No. 1,” he said. “It started at the 2023 Camp Perry Open in May when we had a few shooters close to legging out, but at the last second, Olympian Mary Tucker made a surprise visit and won the EIC points in convincing fashion. Fast forward a few months later to the National Smallbore Matches, I knew someone was going to get Badge No. 1.”

The CMP introduced its Smallbore Rifle program in 2018—featuring a lineup of three-position and prone events at the National Matches at Camp Perry. The CMP also holds smallbore matches at other events throughout the year and even allows smallbore match sanctioning for those looking to host their own competitions at their home clubs.

“I was very excited to see it was someone like Brandon, a young and talented shooter,” Donoho said. “I have watched him progress over the years, and he has developed into not only a great shooter but a good kid as well. I was very happy for him.”

With the popularity of the Smallbore Rifle program, the CMP added two new Distinguished Badges in 2020: Three-Position Smallbore and Prone Smallbore. Many marksmen and women are close to earning a coveted badge, but, as of December 2023, Evans is the only athlete to achieve a CMP Distinguished Smallbore Badge in either discipline.

“I was working hard to get my smallbore badge, but I wasn’t as focused on getting No. 1, which made it easier, mentally,” he admitted. “Smallbore is my favorite discipline, so I spend a good portion of my practice focusing on it.”

Evans became involved in marksmanship at the Friday night junior program offered at his local club, the Lafayette Gun Club in Yorktown, Va. Since his beginnings, he has grown to compete in both air rifle and smallbore, using his Bleiker Challenger II smallbore rifle to stay unwavering on the firing line.

He claimed his first EIC leg points toward his badge at the 2021 Camp Perry Open after finding fifth place in the field of over 60 competitors. His final points came at the 2023 National Smallbore Matches at Camp Perry, where he received his badge at the awards ceremony—proudly leading the way for the legacy of the Distinguished Smallbore Badge program.

Some of his most memorable career accomplishments now include two Distinguished Badges (smallbore and junior air rifle), which he keeps in a special case on display at his house, along with a bronze medal for placing in his first Open final at the 2021 USA Shooting Winter Air Gun match. Evans also helped guide his team to an overall win during the 2023 CMP Three-Position National Air Rifle Championship.

He practices five days a week and competes locally in Virginia and on a national level. He also participates in USA Shooting matches when he can—all part of the sport that keeps him motivated.

“I enjoy the daily challenges because it keeps it interesting and makes me push myself,” he said.

As a freshman at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, he plans to continue his marksmanship career by going after his most sought-after goal—earning a NCAA Championship win.

Learn more about the Distinguished Badge Program at thecmp.org.

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