Koenig faces a change in the format this year. The initial three-day course of fire aggregate score (Match X) will be used as a qualifier for competitors to advance to the Colt Championship Final. The Bianchi Cup Champion will be determined by the scores of the Colt Championship Final.
What does all this mean? Koenig has to qualify for the Colt Championship Final in order to win the 2017 Bianchi Cup. The scores of Match X and the Colt Championship Final will not be averaged to determine the champion. The only scores determining the winners will come from the Colt Championship Final.
It's not just format changes, either. There are more than a few shooters that could derail Koenig on his quest for number eighteen. Last year's runner-up, Troy Mattheyer, is at the top of the list.
Additionally, look out for Bruce Piatt, a five-time Bianchi Cup Champion who recently retired from his day job with the Montvale, NJ, police department. Every year, Piatt is a contender at Bianchi and 2017 is no different.
In 2016, Kyle Schmidt joined the perfect club at the Bianchi Cup with a 1920 score fired during Match X. He is certainly looking for an overall victory at the world's most prestigious pistol tournament.
And, previous Bianchi Cup Champion Kevin Angstadt could pull off another upset much like he did in 2014—one of the most memorable finishes at the Cup in recent memory. Could he do it again in 2017?
Patrick Franks of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (AMU) has won the Metallic Championship the last two years in a row. Robert Vadasz of the U.S. Border Patrol was the 2016 Metallic runner-up and will certainly be in the hunt to take it all.
Another AMU shooter, Adam Sokolowski, was the 2016 Production Champion and will certainly be looking to add a second Championship Cup to his shelf. Threats to a repeat win for Sokolowski include last year's runner-up, Michael Gasser (also from the AMU team), and multiple Bianchi Cup Champion Rob Leatham, who finished third in 2016.
Last year's Women's Champion, Tiffany Piper of New Zealand, was also a multiple Junior Bianchi Cup Champion. 2016 was her first year winning the Women's Cup. She will face the usual tough line-up of lady action shooters at the match this year, including notable shooters like Jessie Duff and Julie Golob. Piper will have her work cut out for her to repeat as the Bianchi Women's Champion.
The 2017 Bianchi Cup Action Pistol Championship is May 24-27, at Green Valley Rifle & Pistol Club in Hallsville, MO. Learn more at bianchicup.nra.org