Skeet shooter competes at world level
October 15, 2010
FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (Oct. 14, 2010) - For Maj. Dave Guida, skeet shooting isn't just a great way to keep up his soldiering skills. It's also a way to relieve stress and enjoy competing with fellow shooters.
Guida, a student in the 2011-01 Intermediate Level Education class at the Command and General Staff College, competed in the 2010 World Skeet Championships the week of Oct. 4, taking home 17 awards and three medals for placing in the top three of his class.
This is Guida's second competition at the World Skeet Championships. He competed in 2008, and said his shooting has improved since that time. Shooters qualify for categories for each event, and Guida qualified for mostly C except for the 12-gauge, where he competed as a B-class shooter.
For that event, he took eighth place in B class, hitting 147 out of 150 targets.
Out of five events, 12-gauge, 20-gauge, 28-gauge, .410-gauge and doubles, Guida took third place in the C Class for High Over All. He made 435 out of 450 shots. For the High All Around, which includes all gauges combined with doubles, he shot 518 of 550 targets.
Guida wasn't always a skeet shooter. He grew up hunting ducks, deer and other game in Minnesota with his brothers. As a young lieutenant at the Quartermaster Basic Officer Course at Fort Lee, Va., he took his first skeet class and was hooked on the sport.
"It's the best way to improve shooting, short of live-fire exercises," he said.
With three deployments to Iraq under his belt, Guida said it's always useful to keep up his shooting skills, though he was quick to point out that shooting at clay targets is far different than shooting at insurgents.
Because many old aerial gunnery sites make excellent skeet shooting ranges, Guida said he's found most military installations have them. Fort Leavenworth's Brunner Range, 701 Sheridan Drive, is operated by Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation.
Guida said Brunner Range is friendly to people who have never shot a gun before, and professionals are available to teach lessons on how to shoot skeet on the range.
"You could walk in the door and never have done it before," he said. "They give you a gun, take you around and teach you."
In fact, Guida said there are only 17 master-level certified instructors in the nation, and one is at Brunner Range.
"I've never been to an installation where they have the instructor on post," he said.
In his early days of skeet shooting, Guida didn't spend a lot for a shotgun. However, to compete at the world level, he needed to be able to shoot in all four gauge categories, so, he purchased a used Beretta 682 Gold E shotgun. Professional skeet shooters can spend thousands of dollars on their guns, Guida said.
"This gun has to last because you're going to shoot 1,000 rounds in a year," he said.
Guida's wife, Jeannie, said she enjoys watching her husband practice for shooting competitions. He's already begun teaching the his son, Matthew, 10, and hopes to one day teach his daughter Billie, 8, the basics of shooting.
"He could be the guy sitting in the bar or in front of the TV all weekend, but he's not," Jeannie said. "He gets outside, he's having fun, and he gets the kids outside."
Guida was also grateful to his chain of command for allowing him to compete in various events. CGSC granted him leave earlier this month to be a part of the Army team at the World Skeet Championships.
Guida said he was pleased with most of his scores, although doubles was the only event in which he did not place. Doubles is when two targets fly out from different directions at the same time.