It has been a while since I last competed at a USPSA match. In fact, I was a little shocked when I looked it up and found the last one I shot was the 2009 US Nationals in Vegas! Wow, how the years go by.
So it was time to go back to Florida – and once again compete in the US.
Since the US Market is extremely important to Double-Alpha and one in which we see great growth potential, we decided to sign on as a stage sponsor, and set up a booth at the match. While this is not easy or cheap to do from all the way over in Holland, it gave me the perfect excuse I needed to join the starting lineup and shoot the match.
I was honored to be invited to shoot on the Super Squad, an experience I would recommend to any top shooter, if the chance becomes available. Sure, from time to time we all get to shoot with another top shooter, or even a few top guys in a squad, but the Super Squads at the US Nationals are something else entirely. On this squad you will find 15 world-class shooters, all competing head to head on every stage. Of course there will be 2 or 3 front runners who are favorite to win the match, but several or more are able to win stages, and the rest are not far behind either. This type of squad really opens your eyes to the importance of perfection in IPSC shooting. How critical it is to get everything just right. For in this group of shooters – just one mistake will see you tumbling down the score boards. Add just 1 second to your time and it can cost you a dozen or more places on the stage. It’s a real eye opener and a wonderful experience for anyone really serious about pursuing excellent in this sport.
And then of course there is the added pressure of having the TV crews following this squad, and the dozens of spectators who follow the super squad to watch their favorite top-shooter.
I have to admit I was a little surprised by the level of difficulty this match presented. Most previous matches I shot in the US tended to be more about speed than accuracy. They are mostly designed to be fun for all, and not discouraging for anyone. Not this Nationals! We were faced with many tough shots. Partial and N/S targets out at 25m, tough leans and tight shooting positions, and several long distance, fairly fast swingers to boot. And then – there were the Standards! Several Virginia scored stages, where the temptation to go too fast will bite you in the ass – and quick! Certainly more than half the competitors finished this match with a double-digit tally of penalties!
Our first stage was such a stage, a simple Virginia count stage – and where I picked up my first miss… I am proud to say, though, that it was my only miss of the match. A good thing too, as not being as fast as some of the young top guys out there, I could ill afford to give away penalty points as well. I shot a solid match, making a few mistakes here and there, but working hard and shooting good points for the most part. I finished the match as Top International and 9th overall in Open.
The match developed early on into a three way battle between current world champion, Max Michel, former US champion Chris Tilley and speed demon KC Eucebio. All three of them incredibly fast and talented shooters. Hot on their heels was a new comer young talent extraordinaire Kincaid Ross, who at age 16 went on to win top Junior and finish 4th overall! Shannon Smith put on an impressive display of consistency and accuracy, and won a well deserved 3rd place finish.
KC was up there with a good chance, until stage 19, where we were met with a fast moving slider which held 3 partial target covered by No-shoots. And they were moving too, and none too close either. KC picked up several penalties on that stage, and dropped out of contention.
Max Michel who came into the match considered by many the favorite to win, struggled throughout to maintain his form. While he showed many bursts of brilliance, winning several stages by impressive margins, he lacked consistency and picked up too many penalties, which allowed Chris Tilley, who shot extremely well, to claim top spot and win the National title again. Well done Chris!
As a stage sponsor, we had the pleasure of displaying our goods on the range and speaking to many shooters using DAA. It was also extremely rewarding to see so many DAA logos on the range, and so many shooters choosing to use our gear.
Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your shooting success!
The USPSA Open Nationals was a real pleasure, and one I hope to repeat again soon!