Air rifle competition makes changes
February 14, 2013
Perhaps the greatest threat to a Junior ROTC program successfully competing at a national level isn't training, or even opponents.
As Army programs prepare to take aim at national air rifle titles, Cadet Command and the Civilian Marksmanship Program, which conducts the events, is hoping to save money for programs in the Western part of the country.
Salt Lake City has been added as a new site for service-level meets that take place this month, complementing locations at Camp Perry, Ohio, and Anniston, Ala.
Shooters qualifying in Utah will do so on portable electronic target systems that virtually mirror those used in Ohio and Alabama, said Brad Donoho, program coordinator for the Civilian Marksmanship Program. He said the arrangement poses difficulties from a logistical standpoint, but it benefits programs that might not otherwise have the funding to travel great distances.
One drawback, though, is that there will be a gap between events, so the overall Army winners will not be immediately known. Competition in Ohio and Alabama takes place Friday and Saturday, while firing goes off Monday and Tuesday in Utah.
Air Force competitions will take place on the same dates.
Daleville (Ala.) High School captured the Army sporter championship last year with Flowing Wells (Ariz.) High finishing second. Flowing Wells went on to win the JROTC national sporter title.
In precision shooting, Ozark (Mo.) High School took first, and Del Valle (Texas) High School finished second. Ozark also won the JROTC national precision crown.
JROTC teams are slated to shoot this year at the location that is geographically closest to its brigade. Teams in the 3rd, 5th and 8th brigades, for instance, will participate in Salt Lake City.
However, the Civilian Marksmanship Program has made some exceptions for schools to shoot elsewhere in situations that are financially more feasible. For example, teams in Tennessee, will travel to Alabama instead of Ohio, where most of 7th Brigade will compete.
Because air rifle participation is more common among Southeast programs, the bulk of the 300-plus shooters in this year's Army nationals will be at the Anniston facility, requiring a fourth heat instead of the usual three.
Even after the addition of a new range, it's possible further changes could take place next year, Donoho said. One possibility is conducting a national meet solely for the Army.
"We'll learn from what we've done right and what we've done wrong," Donoho said.