Last year, the Sportsman’s Team Challenge (STC) celebrated its 30th year during the National Championship at the Heartland Shooting Park in Grand Island, NE. There were over 50 teams competing during this historic anniversary match. STC has seen a resurgence in the past few years, mostly due to the involvement of pro shooter (and 18-time NRA Bianchi Cup Champion) Doug Koenig. Since taking over as Match Director two years ago, attendance has increased, and the STC National Championship prize table has been brimming with merchandise from generous corporate sponsorship. There is more money too—the total dollar amount of the prize purse has “grown well into the six figures.”
“Overseeing the match for the second year, I was definitely excited with the growing number of registered competitors and the involvement of our title sponsor Bass Pro Shops.” He added, “Looking to the future, this event has the potential to grow because the standard firearms used in this competition is what most competitors already own. Many competitors expressed interest in organizing a Sportsman’s Team Challenge regional event in their own state.”
The STC format combines rifle, pistol and shotgun into a unique, multi-discipline shooting competition for two- or three-person teams. Since the late 1980s, STC has been a bucket list event for shooters coming for both the rich tradition, and the variety of competitive events. Now, even more people are coming to participate not only for the first time at STC, but also taking their first steps in competitive shooting. Additionally, the unique format of STC has international appeal. Last summer at the National Championships, in addition to teams from 20 states attending from here in the U.S.―there were also teams from Australia, England and France competing.
Koenig elaborated on the mix of old and new shooters. “There were 20 first-time competitors, many who have shot the match 25-plus years, and one 30-year veteran. That tells me this match continues to have a strong following.”
The local area has also noticed STC. The Mayor of Grand Island, Jeremy Jensen, presented Koenig with an official proclamation from the city acknowledging the event as “Sportsman’s Team Challenge Weekend” in 2017. At the conclusion of the three-day match, the top three teams in each class were given prize checks, products, firearm gift certificates and other shooting accessories.
The 2018 Sportsman’s Team Challenge National Championship will be conducted July 19-21. STC hasn’t announced the location yet, but SSUSA will be sure to let you know when we find out the venue. Learn more at STCNationals.com