World, national shooting titles up for grabs in OKC
World and national championship events in the shooting sports are coming to Oklahoma City this week.
The International Handgun Metallic Silhouette Association world championships will be held for the fifth straight year beginning Friday at the Oklahoma City Gun Club north of Arcadia.
The nine-day event is expected to draw about 100 shooters, only about half of its normal participants because of COVID-19. The competition usually attracts at least two dozen international shooters but none are able to travel to Oklahoma this year because of COVID-19, said Jim Fields, match director at the OKC Gun Club and 23-time world champion in the sport.
In IHMSA matches, shooters must knock down heavy metallic silhouette targets of chickens, pigs, turkeys and rams from various distances from 50 up to 500 meters.
The event awards world championships in airgun, .22 rimfire and centerfire. Distances range from 10 to 18 yards for air pistols and 25 to 100 yards in the small-bore division (pistols chambered for .22 long-rifle cartridge only).In the big-bore division, for powerful centerfire handguns only, the distances range from 50 meters to 500 meters.
The Oklahoma City Gun Club has one of the best ranges in the country for IHMSA matches and this is the seventh time in the last eight years the club was selected as the site for the championships.
The Oklahoma City Gun Club also will be hosting the national high school rifle championships on July 18-19 in conjunction with the National High School Finals Rodeo, which begins Friday at the Lazy E Arena near Guthrie. On July 20, the national high school trap shooting championships will be held in El Reno at the Oklahoma Trap and Skeet Association range.
The governing body for the rodeo, the National High School Rodeo Association, sponsors separate shooting sports divisions in light rifle (.22) and trap shooting for high school competitors.
The rodeo was originally scheduled for Nebraska but relocated to the Lazy E Ranch and Arena near Guthrie last month when county health officials in Nebraska wouldn't allow it because of COVID-19 restrictions.
The NHSRA then turned to the Oklahoma City Gun Club to host the national rifle championship on July 18-19 and the Oklahoma Trap and Skeet Association range in El Reno for its shotgun competition on July 20.
"We have to fit our shooting events in between performances of the rodeo," said Lyn Ankeny, national shooting sports coordinator for the NHSRA. "The OKC Gun Club range has just bent over backward for us. They have opened up camping spaces to some of these kids who aren't involved in the rodeo.
"They have been very gracious, as have the (Oklahoma) Trap Shooting Association. The trap range is elite. It's like a place we have been to maybe only twice since I have been doing this."
The NHSRA has been in existence since 1949, but added a shooting sports division in 2007 at the suggestion of the National Rifle Association.
"We started out at the junior high level plinking BB guns at the red rocks in Gallup, New Mexico," Ankeny said. "It's gone from that to kids showing up with firearms that are worth more than most cars."
The top 10 shooters are awarded college scholarships. The national champion receives almost $2,000 in college scholarship money, a YETI cooler, a world championship belt buckle like the rodeo winners and more.
About 100 high school students from 29 states will be shooting in the two championships, fewer than normal because of COVID-19. In some years, there have been as many as 350 to 400 shooters, Ankeny said.
"It's just very different this year," she said.
Students qualify to the national finals through state competitions, but several of those were canceled this year because of COVID-19, including Oklahoma's state championship shoot.
The national high school shooting championships also normally attract competitors from outside the United States, such as Canada and Australia, but none are traveling this year because of COVID-19, Ankeny said.
The national high school rifle champions is a timed event from three shooting positions (standing, kneeling and prone).
Quail Forever chapter to hold first fundraising banquet
The first annual Canadian Valley Chapter of Quail Forever fundraising banquet will be held Thursday at the Mustang Community Center beginning at 5:30 p.m.
J.D. Strong, director of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, will be the guest speaker. For more information, call Todd Burcham at 405-834-2465.