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Before we get to the exciting action in Lethbridge this past weekend, we want to quickly tell you about the match the Buffalo Target Shooters Association ran on July 14th. The competition was held at the same range near Sibbald Flats, Alberta, which hosted the International Practical Shooting Confederation (IPSC) Provincial Championships on June 30th and July 31st.

In total, 40 shooters turned out to shoot six stages, which included shooting from a riot shield, off a spring board and also in the jungle run. The match winners were Ken Kupsch in Open, Tony Pascuzzo in Classic, John Dzurka in Standard and Todd Klinger in Production. Since the match turnout was relatively small, Kupsch, Klinger and Dallas Turner were all allowed to shoot it twice for the extra practice. The three competitors shot through the match during lunch break so that no other shooters were held up.

This past weekend, IPSC Alberta held its first two qualifying matches of the year, which was by hosted by the Chinook Country Shooters at the Lethbridge Fish and Wildlife Range. In total, close to 100 shooters were in attendance for the highly anticipated event.  The weather could not have been nicer– if you like hot and sunny that is.

“The weather was fantastic with temperatures in the 28 to 30 degree range both days,” said IPSC Alberta Section Coordinator Jim Pshyk, before recalling that some poor weather Friday night had Eric Ericson and the Lethbridge squad up early Saturday AM. “…But the crew were up early the next morning while we were all sleeping or having breakfast and rebuilt the stages for seven diverse stages to test even the veteran shooters. It is a great testament to all the volunteers, at all the matches, who take time out of their lives to put together these great shooting events. The stages allowed the shooters to test their skill, as there were long courses of fire with both accuracy, as well as some speed stages, which get the shooter’s hearts pounding with run and gun scenarios.”

There were seven exciting stages each day that involved and required action, precision, speed and strategy! Two of the stages contained clamshells which the shooter had to activate to get their target to appear. A few seconds after the target appeared, a penalty target sprung up and covered the shooting target, to make the competitor’s timing rather critical.

“The stages were all difficult in that they looked simple, but as it turned out several of them required precise shot placement in more than one area,” Ryan Cady noted,  “And if not done cleanly, could end up costing quite a lot of points early on as I discovered.”

“The stages both days were solid with the second match having a few more options than the first,” Frank Koch noted about the event. “The match staff did a good job in putting together a nice mix of skill requirements. I always enjoy Lethbridge, as first it is an excellent facility and second, I lived in Lethbridge for 10 years growing up.”

When the smoke settled in southern Alberta this weekend, the Open scores finished up as follows:

Qualifier #1

1 100.00 622.3586 71 Kupsch, Ken

2 99.87 621.5444 53 Koch, Frank

3 91.00 566.3547 43 Andes, Dave

4 87.77 546.2279 61 Altares, Romel

5 81.34 506.2563 40 Turner, Dallas

Qualifier #2

1 100.00 735.7237 53 Koch, Frank

2 96.47 709.7891 40 Turner, Dallas

3 88.53 651.3252 71 Kupsch, Ken

4 83.78 616.3639 43 Andes, Dave

5 75.23 553.4966 55 Alvarez, Jelimark

The other winners were the same on both days: Ivan Runions took Classic, Scott Penner won Standard and Shawn Gross was victorious in the Production division.

The top scoring lady was Debby Schubert on day one and Flora Kupsch earned top honours in day two.

“I thought the match this weekend was a good one. Nothing too complicated or fancy, but well balanced challenging stages,” said the Standard division winner Penner. “The weather was great and everything ran smoothly; can’t ask for much more than that.”

“On average, I  hit the practice range 3-5 times a week,” Penner said, while discussing his dedication to the sport. “I shoot around 50,000 rounds a year in practice and matches combined. I am very lucky to have a wonderful wife and son who understand and support my shooting  goals. Pursuing my goals would be impossible without their support.”

As the sport continues to grow, of course, veteran shooters can be a valuable source of advice and information for newcomers.

“One of the largest issues I see from newer competitors is they will practice what they like, but not what is weak,” said Koch, after his impressive showing this past weekend.  “When match day comes, they are wound up because in the match there might be some skill sets required that they haven’t practiced.  After every match, I determine if I was uncomfortable with any skills in the entire match, and my next practice session I work on that skill.”

“I think a lot of people underestimate the complexity of this sport,” noted Penner. “There is a lot more to it than running around shooting targets; it is a very intense sport. To be able to move smoothly and quickly, and at the same time shoot precisely presents a very unique challenge. There is always that precarious balance between going fast, and shooting accurately.”

“Another thing I’m excited to see is how the Production class has grown and the amount of great shooters around that bring the competition to a higher level, which makes matches that much more challenging,” said Cady. “Most of the training I’ve been focusing on is just A zone targets and plates at varying distances. Along with some shooting on the move with plates or minis, while trying to maintain a high A count, I have also been shooting DOTS which is one of the training tips of Manny Bragg.”

For some Alberta shooters, these were the last matches they will shoot before the Canadian Nationals in Brandon, Manitoba, from August 1st through til the 5th. You can find out more about the compelling event at  http://2012ipsccanadiannationals.com/ .

“Our next match is the Canadian National Championships in Brandon Manitoba on the August long weekend,” Pshyk noted. “This is the top gun of our sport where the best of the best–and some of us not so highly ranked–get to come together for a match, which ups the ante as far as stage design and complication goes. The Match Directors at the Nationals always come up with something totally out of the ordinary to test the skills of all competitors. We send four teams and a host of other Alberta shooters to this event. The Gold Teams are chosen after our Provincials from the top in each division.”

Psyhk then proceeded to break down the teams which will represent Alberta at the Nationals.

“The Production team has a good chance to take the title being led by Ryan Cady, who was the top Production JR at last year’s Nationals. Ryan is also a member of the CZ Canadian team. As well Joey Tolentino (2011 National Revolver Champion), Tim Dowse and Andy Cady, Ryan’s father, make up the team.”

“The Standard Team in my opinion will be one of the top led by Scott Penner, John Dzurka, Dave Schoenberg and Dave Lincoln.”

“The Classic team consists of Ralph Sanford, Ivan Runions, Mass Novati and Kelly Wisoley. I believe this is our best shot at the team gold, not underestimating the rest of our Gold Teams of course.”

“The open team consists of Ken Kupsch, Travis LaFayette (2011 National Open JR Champion–as well as another of the CZ Canada Team member), Todd Ondrik and Dallas Turner.”

“I’m really looking forward to the Canadian Nationals this year in Brandon,” Penner said. “One of my major goals this year is to place well at the nationals. I’ve had a bit of a monkey on my back where the nationals are concerned, and I’m looking forward to shaking that and putting in a good performance this year. The other big match that I will be attending later in the year is the 25th annual Desert Classic, USPSA Area 2 Championship, at the Rio Salado Sportsmanship Club in Mesa Arizona this coming November.”

 

“I can say I’m not too excited about the drive to the Nationals,” Cady noted. “But I’m excited to go to yet another place I have never been, and another range filled with more experienced shooters than I; get to talk to them and try to learn how they see the stage. I’m just hoping I can be at my best to represent Alberta and the LFGA shooting range.”

“This year will be very busy for me,” Koch said. “Matches that are set in my calendar now are the IPSC Nationals in Florida, the U.S. Nationals, Steel Challenge World match, the Area 4 and the Area 2.  If the opportunity presents itself to shoot an Alberta or BC match around my work, I’ll do that as well.”

And with the IPSC Alberta Qualifiers now in the book, Psyhk has begun looking towards next year’s campaign.

“Next year in IPSC Alberta will be a challenging one, as we have had a few issues with range closures, and this makes it difficult to schedule our matches,” Psyhk relayed. “These must be finalized well ahead of time to ensure we have the match directors in place and all the competitors can plan their vacation, days off and travel plans to compete. The Black Badge instructors have been doing a great job getting new shooters into our sport, and as of this week, we are past the number of members than we had all last year with 5 months to go. With the rumor of new ranges opening up and others expanding we see a great growth in the sport here in Alberta.”

Next weekend, on July 28th and 29th,  both Ken Kupsch and Dallas Turner will be going to Abbotsford for a two day Steel Challenge match. You can find out more about the competition via  http://abbotsfordfishandgameclub.org/.

In addition, the Wild Rose Action Shooters have begun accepting applications for an August 11th Steel Challenge at the Spurce Grove Gun Club. You can enter online at http://wrasalberta.com/ or drop by the Wild West Shooting Centre in Edmonton.

Once again, the Steel Challenge event will be capped at 80 entries, so pre-registration is necessary.

G.O.A.T. PR (www.goatpr.com)