This year’s World Speed Shooting Championship (WSSC) was held again at the CMP Talladega Marksmanship Park in Talladega, Alabama. The match ran from April 25 to April 30 and had 252 competitors shooting 673 guns, compared to last year’s record-breaking 712 guns for 277 people. This was the sixth year that the match has been at the CMP Talladega Park, and if you’ve never been able to make it, I highly recommend it. The good news is that next year, the match will return to the CMP Talladega Park and will be a little later in the year, May 28 through June 2. Every year the match is refined to try to make it better, but it’s like polishing a diamond—at some point, it’s not going to get any brighter.
This year’s match had some minor refinements that proved to make it shine brighter. While the stage layouts are consistent, this year they were positioned in the bays to ensure that every plate contrasted well against the berm. They were also positioned in the bays so the illusions when a stage is in a long bay didn’t exist. While these seem like minor things, every competitor I talked to thought the stages looked great.
The Steel Challenge Shooting Association (SCSA) also took advantage of a Practiscore feature called Score Logging. After the shooter hits Approve, an email with the stage, their overall time and their string times was sent. This was made possible due to a dedicated Wi-Fi network that the SCSA invested in. What I learned (thanks, Zack) was that when Score Logging is used, you can refresh the Practiscore Competitor app and it will update with all of the scores posted. This allowed people to track their competition and see where they stood against them. While this helped, it should be noted that official scores are only those that are posted to the website.
I was fortunate enough to spend entire week at WSSC this past April, and every day had its own flair. At the beginning of the week it was a little cooler, with some scattered rain—nothing that impacted the shooting, as they had canopies set up over the shooting boxes. The weather warmed up Friday and Saturday and again some rain came down, but nothing that impacted the match. Saturday was absolutely beautiful, warm, slightly overcast and no rain. By Sunday, the winds picked up, just enough to remove the canopies, but the temperature was perfect and there wasn’t any rain. Enough about the weather, let’s get to what you want to read about—the shooting.
shooting sports in the world, and records were meant to be broken; this year didn’t disappoint. Three match records were broken, and the previous records had been around for a while. Michael Poggie crushed the Iron Sight Revolver record (which he set in 2017 at 101.89) with a blistering 97.7. BJ Norris decimated the Production record, set back in 2015 at 87.00 with a time of 81.41. Kenshiro Nagata, not to be outdone, broke the RFRO record he set last year at 54.40 with a time of 53.53. I was able to catch a few stages of the Rimfire Rifle super squad, and watching that squad shoot was amazing.Steel Challenge is among the fastest shooting sports in the world, and records were meant to be broken. This year didn’t disappoint. Three match records were broken, and the previous records had been around for a while. Michael Poggie crushed the Iron Sight Revolver record (which he set in 2017 at 101.89) with a blistering 97.7. BJ Norris decimated the Production record, set back in 2015 at 87.00 with a time of 81.41. Kenshiro Nagata, not to be outdone, broke the RFRO record he set last year at 54.40 with a time of 53.53. I was able to catch a few stages of the Rimfire Rifle super squad, and watching that squad shoot was amazing.
There were also category world records set at WSSC 2023. In the Ladies category, Carleigh Chadwick set records in RFPO at 63.53 and RFRO at 58.74. Kenshiro Nagata set Junior records in CO at 83.6, PCCO at 57.08, RFRI at 57.04 and RFRO at 53.53. In the senior category, Jeff Jones shot an 83.38 in PCCI. Not to be outdone, the super seniors had Clifford Pietruski in CO at 105.86 and OPN at 107.26. Chet Whistle set the RFPO record at 81.83 and Carl Simpson set records in LTD at 140.88 and SS at 135.65. Rounding out the age-based categories is the new category, distinguished senior with competitors 70-plus years of age. Categories need at least five guns to be recognized, so following that constraint, the distinguished senior world titles were in RFRO at 71.58, PCCO at 73.05 and RFPO at 91.40, all won by Karl Sutterlin. With BJ Norris now in the law enforcement category, he set records in CO at 76.44 and PROD at 81.41.
Many of the divisions have been changing hands for the number-one slot, but there are a few repeats that happened this year. KC Eusebio won his sixth title in a row in Open and Chris Barrett won his fourth title in a row in PCCI. Michael Poggie continued his dominance in the revolver categories with his eighth title in a row in Optical Sight and his fifth (over seven years, no title was awarded in 2019 and 2022) in Iron Sight Revolver. Kenshiro Nagata repeated in RFRO with his second in a row. Looking at the ladies, Jessie Harrison won her eighth Open title (over 12 years, no title was given in 2015-2017 and 2020) and Kylie Wells defended her PCCI title with two in a row. The junior category saw repeat wins for Kenshiro Nagata in PCCO, RFPO and RFRO. In the senior category, Jeff Jones defended his PCCI title for two in a row and got his fourth title in a row in RFPO.
The SCSA has three special awards, Steel Master, Rifle Master and Rimfire Master. All of these require proficiency in multiple guns to be able to win. At WSSC 2023, the Steel Master was won by Gregory Clement, shooting Carry Optics, Limited and Rimfire Pistol Open, with a time of 258.26. The Rifle Master was defended and won by Kenshiro Nagata shooting Pistol Caliber Carbine Optics and Rimfire Rifle Open, with a time of 110.61. While there aren’t official world records kept for Rifle Master, this was the fastest Rifle Master score ever recorded at the WSSC. Rounding out the special awards with a defense of his Rimfire Master title, Grant Kunkel shot the four rimfire divisions with a total time of 266.00.
As always, the WSSC ended with the awards ceremony andbanquet; again this year it was at the International Motorsports Hall of Fame. Zack and team had all of the cups and medals on display, ready to be handed out. After everyone got some food, I announced all the winners and everyone got their picture taken with Zack. The night finished with the prize tables which, when I looked them over, had some nice prizes.
As I said earlier, if you haven’t made it to the World Speed Shooting championships, I highly recommend it. I’ll be there next year, hoping not to get shushed by too many Range Officers—if you don’t know, come to the match and find out.
See the full results of the 2023 World Speed Shooting Championship at the Practiscore website.
Article from the July/August 2023 issue of USPSA’s magazine.