COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. –-(Ammoland.com)- Two centers of marksmanship prowess are coming together to host the first combined USA Shooting National Championship for Progressive-Position Pistol (PPP), July 24-25.
The combined National Championship has helped push registration numbers over the 100 athlete mark for the first time in the event's history.
Intended to introduce young athletes to competitive pistol target shooting, the Progressive-Position Pistol Program provides competitive experience and creates an opportunity for youth to begin at an earlier age. As there is no minimum age limit, how early a youth begins depends on their ability to hold and shoot an air pistol as determined by an experienced pistol coach.
The Colorado Springs Olympic Shooting Center and the U.S. Army's Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) in Ft. Benning, Ga. will host the 2013 Progressive- Position Pistol National Championships. The two-site system was put in place in hopes of helping drive registration numbers and make event travel easier and more attainable for kids and families participating.
Assistant National Coach Eric Pueppke describes the PPP program as a “feeder” for USA Shooting.
“We want to get more people in the pyramid coming up to get to our national teams,” he says. “It [the PPP program] provides an avenue for younger people to get started.” Pueppke will be the match director in Ft. Benning.
While providing great experience for young athletes, the PPP National Championships also serve as a selection competition for USA Shooting's National Junior Team.
“Kids at this level are here because they want to be,” said Assistant National Pistol Coach Steve Faught. “They're focused and they work at it and it's a lot of fun for both them and the coaches.”
“The theory of this is for the younger kids,” added Faught. “It's hard for parents to buy airplane tickets and send 10- or 12-year-old kids across the country to a match, but if they can drive to that match in a day, they're going to take them. That's why we're trying the new dual venue to see if our participation increases, which it has.”
Participation has increased by 20 percent from last year.
With Nationals being held previously in Camp Perry, Ohio, participation among pistol competitors in Western states was sparse. The addition of a Western venue helped spur interest and participation as there are 44 participants registered to compete at the Colorado Springs Olympic Shooting Center. Combined with the 72 participants registered at the Eastern venue there are a total of 116 competitors, marking this year as the largest PPP Nationals yet.
Giving junior athletes an opportunity to participate in a postal (virtual match) competition three times per year (fall, winter, and spring), the PPP National Pistol Program helps grow participation and excitement leading up to the Junior Olympic PPP Nationals.
Youth involvement in the pistol discipline is a primary goal of USA Shooting to help create greater participation within the sport and to ultimately increase the quality and depth of our future Olympic pistol athletes.
Lydia Paterson (Kansas City, Kan.), who recently made the USA Shooting National Team with a second-place performance at the 2013 USA Shooting National Championships, was a featured shooter at PPP Nationals in 2012, finishing third. Robert Wells, Jr. (Pontotoc, Miss.), Brian Kim (Los Angeles, Calif.), Cindy Chung (Diamond Bar, Calif.) and Marshall Matters (Hermosa, S.D.) also competed in PPP and have made significant gains in their shooting performance over the past year.
Once the event starts, results will be posted at: http://tiny.cc/g6so0w
About USA Shooting
USA Shooting is home to your Olympic shooting team. There are 15 different Olympic shooting events in three different disciplines (rifle, pistol and shotgun). Collectively, American shooters are some of the most prolific medal winners in U.S. Olympic history. To learn more about Olympic shooting, please visit http://www.usashooting.org/.