The name Lones Wigger needs little introduction if you read this website regularly, or opened any gun magazine during the golden age of international rifle shooting, and beyond. Mr. Wigger is the only athlete to win medals in all three Olympic rifle shooting disciplines—including gold in 1964 and 1972.
At the 2016 National Smallbore Conventional Prone Championship awards ceremony, the National Rifle Association honored the five-time Olympian with a custom-made Montana Silversmiths Ironman belt buckle. The crowd gave Mr. Wigger a standing ovation during the surprise presentation.
Before inviting Mr. Wigger to the stage to give him the Ironman belt buckle, NRA's National Manager for Rifle Programs H.Q. Moody said a few words.
"There are very few people that have done as much as Lones Wigger has to advance competitive shooting in this country. Your dedication to the shooting sports, excellence in competition, and service to your country are unmatched. I am truly honored to present this to you, Wig."
The Ironman belt buckle Mr. Wigger received is similar to the one that will be awarded to the inaugural Lones Wigger Ironman Trophy winner at the conclusion of the NRA National Smallbore Championships.
After receiving the award, Mr. Wigger addressed the crowd. "I'm coming back next year, stronger than ever!" he exclaimed. The crowd gave the shooting legend another well-deserved standing ovation.
Lones Wigger is considered one of the greatest competitive rifle shooters ever produced in the United States. A short list of his accomplishments includes:
- 1964—50 meter Free Rifle Olympic Champion and World Record Holder
- 1964—50 meter Free Rifle 3x40 Olympic Champion
- 1965—50 meter Prone Rifle Olympic Silver Medalist
- 1972—300 meter Free Rifle Olympic Champion
- Member of 16 major U.S. international teams
- 22 World Championships
- Seven Pan-American titles
- 18 Championship of the Americas titles
- 16 wins in the Council Internationale Sport du Militaire match
- Over 108 international medals
In a March 1987 interview with Sports Illustrated magazine, Mr. Wigger discussed his philosophy of success and said, “In shooting, it’s persistence that pays the biggest dividends—constant, steady practice, week in and week out, all year long. I truly believe that anyone can be a champion marksman if they work at it long and hard enough.”