At the First Shot Ceremony on Tuesday, July 6, Indiana First Lady Janet Holcomb kicked off the 2021 NRA National Matches at Camp Atterbury and the reunified NRA National Championships for Precision Pistol, Smallbore Rifle and High Power Rifle. Camp Atterbury, an Indiana National Guard facility, is located about 37 miles south of Indianapolis, near Edinburgh, Ind.
NRA Second Vice President Willes Lee, NRA Director of Competitive Shooting Cole McCulloch and Indiana State Rifle and Pistol Association President Charlie Hiltunen joined the first lady to begin the festivities at Camp Atterbury.
For the ceremonial first shot, First Lady Holcomb was shooting a Walther KK3300 rifle with SK's Standard Plus .22 Long Rifle ammunition.
"Indiana is proud to be home to the NRA National Matches," said First Lady Holcomb. "In the competitive shooting world, no other event carries the legacy, prestige and history of the NRA National Matches."
A true lover of the shooting sports, First Lady Holcomb is an instructor, a competitor and also hunts. Cole McCulloch succinctly sums up her love of shooting.
"Mrs. Holcomb really is the First Lady of Shooting," said McCulloch. "She just absolutely loves shooting."
During his remarks, Second Vice President Willes Lee thanked First Lady Janet Holcomb for the support that she has given to the NRA, hunting and the shooting sports, along with expressing his great appreciation for the state of Indiana and its people. Second Vice President Lee also expanded on the current state of the NRA.
"The NRA remains the best in the business for firearms safety, education, training and protecting our Second Amendment rights," said Second Vice President Lee. "We're signing up 1,000 new members a day digitally, because everyone understands how important it is to protect our Second Amendment rights."
The NRA, along with the Indiana National Guard and the state of Indiana, has built a new 100-point covered range at Camp Atterbury to accommodate championship shooters. And while slowed by the pandemic, the plans for an NRA National Marksmanship Center at Camp Atterbury are still a go. (More info on that to come.)
The Indiana State Rifle and Pistol Association has been a key partner for the NRA with its new endeavor at Camp Atterbury. Essentially, the NRA could not have conducted the 2021 National Championships without the help of the ISRPA.
"We're blessed at the NRA Competitive Shooting Division right now to have people like [ISRPA President] Charlie Hiltunen and First Lady Holcomb on our side when we need them the most," said Cole McCulloch. "Charlie and I started together on this journey at the beginning, and he has been a real friend to me personally, as well as the NRA. The Indiana State Rifle and Pistol Association has stepped right in and been the NRA's best friend."
In addition, McCulloch revealed that the endgame for the NRA at Camp Atterbury is to augment the NRA National Matches with additional events to make a "summer-long festival of shooting." While the NRA's focus will always remain with the Precision Pistol, Smallbore Rifle and High Power Rifle championships, the hope is that additional events will bring more people into the shooting sports.
"New events at Camp Atterbury will be a great way to introduce your friends and family to the NRA and our way of life," said McCulloch. "We must carry on the great traditions of the shooting sports."
Acknowledging that the NRA Competitive Shooting Division is currently in a rebuilding phase, McCulloch also mentioned that he is adding staff and multiple NRA positions at Camp Atterbury will be available soon.
On Wednesday, July 7, the 2021 NRA National Matches at Camp Atterbury commence with the Smallbore Rifle 3-Position Championships. You can follow all the action by subscribing to the free Insider newsletter.
Read more: Updated 2021 NRA National Championships Calendar