Glengary, WV -(AmmoLand.com)- With a finish nearly 13 seconds faster than the other competitors, Texan Nick Atkinson didn’t leave much doubt as to who was the undisputed champion of the inaugural Starlight 3 Gun Championship sponsored by Timney Trigger at the Peacemaker National Training Center in Glengary, West Virginia.
To remove any doubt, he then turned in a jaw-droppingly fast run on the winner-take-all Sig Sauer Championship Challenge to take home both top prizes: the $5000 winner-take-all Sig Sauer Championship Challenge and the $15,000 top prize for being the first champion to have his name engraved on the Timney Cup.
After Friday night’s awards ceremonies, Atkinson, a former collegiate golfer, explained how his golfing style compliments his shooting.
“I don’t go out to win stages,” he explained, “I go hard, but I try to stay under control and shoot smooth.”
In the Starlight, smooth and fast went hand-in-hand for Atkinson.
That was most obvious in the Sig Sauer Championship stage, a bonus stage where the top five finishers, Atkinson, Norris, Kyle Simank, Todd Jarrett and Craig Outzen made very fast runs with three different Sig guns on a special stage designed by match director Chuck Anderson to allow the men to concentrate on running the guns rather than making long runs or negotiating complicated courses of fire. The result left the spectators and other competitors cheering the sheer speed of each shooter.
In fact, Atkinson had no idea until the actual award ceremonies that he’d won the winner-take-all prize.
In the ladies competition, Lena Miculek again demonstrated her abilities in 3 gun, taking the $15,000 top prize, followed by Becky Yackley, Dianna Muller and Michelle Cerino. Miculek finished in tenth position overall.
“I’m excited,” she said after the ceremonies, “and really impressed with how much everyone’s enjoyed the event.”
That seemed to be the initial impression from shooters, sponsors, spectators and officials involved with the Starlight 3 Gun Championship or the NRA World Shooting Championship. Billed as the NRA Freedom Weekend, the two events featured competitors from virtually any shooting discipline. While schedules precluded much mixing during the daylight hours, competitors, officials and spectators from the daylight match found time to wander over to the Starlight venue to drink in a little of the decidedly more lighthearted atmosphere of the Starlight competition.
“I loved this match,” said one shooter, “I didn’t shoot great, but I’ve never had so much fun when I wasn’t performing at my best.”
The Starlight 3 Gun Championship and next year’s Starlight 3 Gun Series, the events leading up to the Championship, have deliberately put the emphasis on fun.
“We are building events people will want to attend whether they shoot or not,” says organizer Jim Shepherd, “Timney Trigger, Sig Sauer, Ruger, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, and all our sponsors were attracted to the Starlight because our goal isn’t just to run a great competition, it’s to expose people to shooting who might not necessarily come if there weren’t fun things to enjoy too.”
“Once we offer something that gets their attention,” he says, “they’ll get hooked. Our competitors aren’t standoffish or distant -and that’s unusual for world-class competitors in any sport. It’s not often you have the chance to chat with someone like Jerry Miculek, or champions like BJ Norris, or Todd Jarrett or any of the other great shooters -and I’ve had several of our spectators tell me they had no idea how much fun the competitions were for spectators.”
The “fun” for spectators, officials and competitors included vendor displays, live music, food, and fireworks. Additionally, RePlay cameras offered competitors trial equipment record their individual runs, and an event-only opportunity to purchase complete camera/mount outfits at significantly reduced prizes. Ruger also brought along a “Spin-to-Win” game, giving shooters and spectators the opportunity to spin for a variety of prizes including their new custom triggers.
The Starlight was also the first-time GunDealio (www.GunDealio.com) had used their smartphone-based system to offer attendees the chance to have match and sponsor information delivered directly to their smart phones.
“It wasn’t seamless,” Shepherd says, “but I haven’t had anyone who was there tell me they won’t be back next year. We’ll keep improving -because we’re never going to be satisfied with whatever we do- but we’re not going to lose the fact that a key part of our purpose is to let people know two things: first, shooters are just regular people, and, second, shooting is a whole lot of fun you can have with your friends and family.”
Complete results of the inaugural Starlight 3 Gun Championship are available at: www.starlight3gun.com.
About the Starlight 3 Gun Championships:
The Starlight 3 Gun Championship is the nation’s first major shooting championship contested entirely in the dark using lights and lasers. Presented by Timney Triggers, the Starlight 3 Gun Championship also features the SIG SAUER Championship Stage, a winner-take-all competition pitting the top five finishers against each other in a winner-take-all competition using Sig Sauer firearms. Gold level sponsors include the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) and Ruger. 2015 sponsors include silver sponsors Crimson Trace, MGM Targets, HPR Ammunition, and Hornady, bronze-level sponsors LaserLyte, O.F. Mossberg & Sons, INFORCE, H&M Black Nitride, SureFire, Gun Dealio, Taurus,Vortex Optics, TruGlo, Inc., and supporting sponsors Brownells, Warne Mounts, DRD Tactical, MagPul Industries, Kahr Arms, TruGlo, Primary Weapons Systems and special supporting sponsor RePlay Camera Systems.
For more information, visit: www.starlight3gun.com.