The International Practical Shooting Competition (IPSC) Alberta promoted another successful Provincial Championship match this past weekend from June 30th through July 1st, which was hosted by the Buffalo Target Shooters Association near Sibbald Flats. The winner of the pivotal match was veteran shooter Ken Kupsch, while the competition’s top lady was the 11 year old, fast rising competitor, Rojin Altares. Remember? We told you to keep an eye on this shooter after the Provincial Qualifiers last month!
Contrary to what one might think, The Alberta Provincials are not limited to Alberta shooters, in fact, there were at least half a dozen competitors from British Columbia including Don Chang. Not only has Don won the BC Provincials in both the standard and open divisions, but he’s also a five time Canadian champion!
“I’ve always enjoyed travelling to Alberta for their Provincial Championships,” said Chang, who’s been shooting IPSC since 1993, when he took his black badge with Randy Fisher. “It’s a chance to see old friends and make new ones. To me, shooting is not just for the competition, it is a social event. Having a nice dinner and drinks afterwards with friends tends to make you realize that your scores really doesn’t matter. Tomorrow’s another day.”
Five time Canadian champion Don Chang shooting swinging platform
The scoring methods utilized in the IPSC Provincials are a bit complex to calculate quickly, as you total your points for a stage and then divide them by the time it took you to shoot it. The shooter with the best “hit factor” will get the maximum points for the stage and everyone else’s scores will be factored down from that. However, thanks to mobile apps on iPhone, the top open shooters can track their scores throughout the match.
The competition’s stages were exciting to shoot and very challenging. One of the consensus favorites amongst the competitors was the jungle run, which was 32 targets in the trees that you shot while running up a path on a hill.
“When I saw the jungle run on the match copy, I was terrified” said Kupsch “I have trouble remembering where 15 targets are; 32 was going to be crazy. Thankfully, after looking at the stage, it wasn’t as bad as I thought and was a thrill to shoot”
“Even though I had gun trouble all weekend, the stages were interesting and challenging. Small stages can be deceiving in how difficult they are to shoot,” Debbie Schubert, one of Alberta’s top women shooters added. “I would say–and I know many people said the same thing– that the most fun was on the jungle run stage. One of the more difficult ones was the bobbing targets stage. Being in stats and on top of the hill made me very grateful for the use of a quad! I am looking forward to more matches being held there and I know they have visions for many more upgrades to the range in the future.”
Once the action got underway, Chang dropped a lot of points on the first two stages due to a loose sight on his gun, and Travis LaFayette took an early lead and held it for the first half of day one. Dallas Turner and Frank Koch held close second and third places.
Kupsch was a bit behind after a partial bullet struck a penalty target and he dropped a shot on another stage. At the end of day one, the squad split in half to shoot the jungle run and the roller skate stage. These stages saw Kupsch and Chang make up a lot of points each, and at the end of day one, Kupsch was in the lead for the first time in the match.
Close behind “The Kanada Kidd” was Koch at about 97%, followed by Turner at approximately 95%, and Chang and LaFayette were sitting at around 93%. It was a big drop for Travis and a huge gain for Don, as the decorated shooter was catching up.
Dallas Turner blasting through one of his favorite stages “zig zag”
Day two started and Chang continued to climb up the standings by getting as high as 99%. Positions shifted slightly back and forth with most of the competitors until the final stage. It had some difficult shots as well, including three moving targets bobbing up and down behind a wall.
“The match was true to form for a Provincial Championship. It tested every shooter’s ability to shoot fast, move smoothly and to take the time to aim precisely,” Chang noted. “It was very challenging and well thought out. A couple of my favourite stages would be number 4 Zig Zag and number 6, Back me up. I just love stages that has multiple ways of attacking it. I can try to work a plan that is suited to my strengths. Both stages had a variety of swingers, backing up, shooting fast splits and aiming at those pesty plates–they seem to be jumping side to side for me.”
With Kupsch being in the lead, all he had to do was shoot a clean run and he would win the match. The other competitors, however, were determined to shoot a blazing run, but in most cases, it sunk them down even further.
“When you’re in second or third place, you have nothing to lose and you have to give it all you have” Kupsch commented about his teammates. “Although this is Provincials, the great thing about this sport is there’s always another match around the corner and you have another chance to do better”
“Really liked to shoot the last stage we shot, with the different speed bobbers and the back up stage that was sponsored by Wild West, as both stages had options on how to complete them,” said Dallas Turner. “Picking and sticking to a plan on those types of stages are my favorite part of shooting IPSC, as everyone has different ideas and strengths when it comes to stage execution.”
After it was all said and done, the top five scores were:
1 100.00 1007.1246 Kupsch, Ken
2 95.42 960.9773 Chang, Donald
3 92.84 935.0413 Koch, Frank
4 89.83 904.6732 La Fayette, Travis
5 87.84 884.6443 Ondrik, Todd
The competition’s other division winners included Scott Penner in Standard, Ivan Runions in Classic and Ryan Cady in Production. It’s interesting to note that often IPSC matches are won or lost by fractions of a percentage, or one point, however, all these shooters won decisively by 10% or more.
Debbie Schubert engaging targets on the “back me up” stage
When the club that was originally scheduled to host the event was unable to proceed, the Buffalo Target Shooters were willing and able to take up the challenge on very short notice. In addition, they expanded their existing range, designed stages, built props and prepared the match for 150 eager and talented competitors.
“My favorite part of the weekend was being able to participate at the first major match of a great new facility,” Turner said afterwards. “Kudos to Joe B for making that range happen and hopefully we will have many great matches for years to come – Nationals perhaps?”
“I want to thank the match directors, Rick and Joe for their hard work,” Chang added. “It takes a lot of willpower and manpower to put on a Provincial Championship. I am sure they are now sitting back and thinking “We will never do it again”. But give it a month or so and they will be planning on another level three or four match. There is something about this sport called IPSC that just makes you want to come back and do it all over again.”
“As it was “greenhorns” putting on the match and they had a very short time to pull it together, they did an awesome job,” said Schubert. “Of course it took many people to make it happen and it came together very nicely. My favorite part of any match is the people and the camaraderie. Mother Nature was very kind and the weather was fabulous. The view and being outdoors in the mountains is breathtaking.”
Upcoming competitions in Alberta include a Wild Rose 3 gun match at the Spruce Grove Gun Club on Saturday, July 7th and two IPSC matches in Lethbridge on July 21st and July 22nd.
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