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Inside American Marksman: A Different Kind of Shooting Competition

We got some behind the scenes info on ‘American Marksman’ and the newest shooting competition everyone can take part in.

Have you ever thought, if only you were given a chance, you could shoot with the best of them and give any other amateur shooter stiff competition? Would a $50,000 grand prize entice you to at least try?

That’s the plan of Outdoor Channel’s American Marksman, sponsored by Crimson Trace, and the newest countrywide shooting competition for the people. It’s your shot at competing against the best of the best, and being featured in a new season airing exclusively on two Outdoor Sportsman Group Networks, Outdoor Channel and Sportsman Channel.

We spoke with Derek Mosher, Operations Manager for American Marksman, who handles the “big picture stuff” and logistics for regional and national championship events, and to make sure people “know what American Marksman is all about.”

“We realized there was a gap where people in the shooting world really had no chance to move forward with anything,” Mosher said. He compared it to American Idol and said they’re “bridging that gap between amateurs and professionals and really giving them the opportunity to win that big prize that they wouldn’t normally have the ability to win.”

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Competitors shoot locally in a modified postal match, meaning you can participate at a range near you, at your leisure and on your own time. You send in results via mail, and they’ll then compare your results to folks on a national level. That kind of comfort can’t be found in any sanctioned shooting event anywhere.

You can also keep trying to better your score on the local level, which also makes it even more unique.

Those who advance in the first stage move on to one of nine Regional events, where things are broken down into four divisions: men’s open, women’s open, junior (12-16), and military/law enforcement. The best of the Regionals go to the National Championships, held on January 2-6, 2017 at the CMP Talladega Marksmanship Park in Talladega, Alabama.

Here’s a rundown of regional events still to come this year:

  • Northwest Regional Championships in Puyallup, Washington on August 13 – 14
  • Southwest Regional Championship in Las Vegas, Nevada on August 20-21
  • Midwest Regional Championships in Alda, Nebraska on August 27 – 28

You can view results, as well as as close to real time standings as you can get, on the competition’s website.

During the regional competitions, each competitor will participate in five courses of fire that include: .22 caliber pistol (TacSol Pac-Lite .22 LR), .22 caliber rifle (TacSol 10/22 X-Ring Open Sighted with Warden stock), two separate stages of 9 mm, and .223 caliber bolt action rifle (Model 6928 Ruger American Rifle All-Weather) at long range.

It’s been well-received, but Mosher jokingly admitted that the pros may be a little upset that they’re out of the running for such a big prize. Other than that, the idea that it’s amateur vs. amateur has only been a good thing. When someone tries to compete in a pro match, the first experience is bound to be rough. There were a couple things Mosher said American Marksman does to address that.

“One, it levels the playing field,” he said, “but two, it encourages them to get into the sport more consistently. They do well enough here, and they have fun, and maybe it’s less discouraging the next time.” As a result, more folks stick with it, and we develop a contingency of smart, experienced, and skilled shooters.

American Marksman competition in Byers, Colo., June 26, 2016. (photo by Jack Dempsey for American Marksman)
American Marksman competition in Byers, Colo., June 26, 2016. (photo by Jack Dempsey for American Marksman)

The end result will be a good portion of local and regional championship footage recorded for the show itself, and broadcast on both Outdoor Channel and Sportsman Channel shortly after the January date.

Be sure to follow along, and post your own photos and other stuff, with the American Marksman Facebook page and Twitter account.

And if $50,000 wasn’t enough, take the last piece of persuasion Derek shared with us before we ended our conversation: “What we’re doing here is about connecting people out there into this sport. There’s a lot of talk about shooters, and that type of thing, and we really want to paint what we do in our community in a good light, and really show how much fun it is for people to get out there and compete. To get more people out there shooting and enjoying the industry that we love is really what we’re all about. The more people we can get out there to enjoy this as a sport, the better.”

Can’t argue with that, can you?

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Inside American Marksman: A Different Kind of Shooting Competition