During the 2019 National Matches, 19-year-old Brad Schoenemann found himself walking to the historic stage at Camp Perry’s Hough Theater during the National Trophy Rifle Awards Ceremony several times to receive the many honors he earned on the firing line.
This year’s achievements began for Schoenemann when he finished as the High Junior of the President’s Rifle Match and the 15th overall competitor. The President’s Rifle event attracts top military and civilian marksmen, ending with a shoulder-to-shoulder 10-shot shoot-off. This honor is a life-long goal for many competitors—and Schoenemann has already captured the feat.
“It is absolutely unreal to compete on the line with some of the best shooters in the world,” said Schoenemann. “And the pressure to perform, especially in the shoot off was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
Schoenemann went on to join his Wisconsin Cheddar teammate, Thomas McGowan, to overtake the National Trophy Junior Team Match with a score of 978-28X—only a single point away from the National Record score.
Reaching the High Individual competitor title during the match, Schoenemann received the Col. Bill Deneke Trophy as the leading junior competitor in the President’s, National Trophy Individual and National Trophy Team events—as well as a spot on the honorary National Junior Team.
He also took his abilities indoors by firing in the AiR-15 Challenge, a 40-shot re-entry match held at Camp Perry’s indoor air gun range. He earned a top score of 396-8X and held the lead until SFC Brandon Green of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit ultimately outshot him by two points to earn the win. Schoenemann had earned second in the event in 2017 and finished in the Top 10 in 2018, making it known that he is as powerful of a force with a simulated AR-15 as he is with the real thing.
Currently a sophomore at University of Wisconsin-Platteville studying business, Schoenemann had always shot growing up, beginning in his backyard. He wasn’t interested in marksmanship until he was 11 years old, after taking a hunter safety course at his local gun club. There, Schoenemann was introduced to a smallbore program, which eventually guided him into the high power world.
“And I’ve been enjoying it ever since,” he said, adding, “My favorite part about marksmanship is that every shot counts, and it is almost a big mental game, as far as staying focused.”
After seeing the Wisconsin team at the same matches he was attending, he noticed the excellent program the members had cultivated and decided to join them.
“The whole experience with the team is just a blast, whether it’s on or off the range,” said Schoenemann.
Since joining, Schoenemann has been a major contributor to the team by helping its members excel to multiple National Match titles. He’s enjoyed his competitive shooting experiences for the past few years.
“I had always wanted to go to the National Matches ever since I started shooting, and it had always been one of those things that I would maybe someday like to do,” Schoenemann explained. “My favorite part about the National Matches is just the camaraderie of all the different people from all over the United States. It’s just an incredible experience.”
He capped off the 2019 National Matches by walking the theater floor, reaching the stairs and taking the final climb to receive his new, shiny Distinguished Rifleman badge.