Having won more than 60 state and regional matches, Kevin Angstadt’s championship performance in the 2014 Midway USA/NRA Bianchi Cup may not seem like news to many. After all, he has been on every USA Action Pistol Team since 2006. And this year marked his 15th year shooting the cup. But it was also his first, and this year’s only, “clean” at the annual event held at Green Valley Rifle & Pistol Club in Columbia, Mo. That was an unpleasant surprise to nearly every other competitor—most notably 15-time champion Doug Koenig. But until the last shot rang out, Angstadt was unaware that his Mover score of 480-35X, wrought from many hours of practice, would carry the day and the championship. Said Angstadt: “The dream for all action pistol shooters is to come here and shoot a 1920. I was just hoping to get second place, but to win the whole thing? That’s unreal.”
Koenig’s string of victories was halted by his 1918-182X, but he still earned second place (among 295 contestants, the largest attendance so far). When he fired his last 25-yd. shot on the Mover as the tombstone target made its six-second pass from left to right, Koenig knew immediately that it was outside the 8" 10-ring. He rebounded to win the Open class Colt Speed event the next morning. Koenig was the first to shoot a perfect score at Bianchi in 1990 and all of his 15 victories were won with perfect scores except in 2008. He also holds the Bianchi record of 1920-187X, fired in 2011.
Amidst her television production schedule for “NRA All Access” and Taurus sponsorship duties, Ladies Champion Jessie Duff put aside a few practice weeks to fine-tune her shooting in preparation for the Bianchi Cup’s unique demands. Responding to National Champion Julie Golob on “Gun Girl Radio,” Duff said: “Other events put your adrenaline to good use with running between targets and shooting fast. In Bianchi, you stand and shoot. There’s no running to help shake off the nerves. When I stepped up to the first target on the Practical this year, my hands were shaking. I really have to work at staying calm, especially on the Mover where all eyes are on you.”
After more than 30 years of professional shooting, Production Champion Rob Leatham is still busy winning and loving every minute of it. He recently became the second person to win all six USPSA divisions, the most recent one being the revolver division. Julie Golob was the first. As Leatham jokingly points out, “She did it with a revolver I loaned her. So, technically, both titles were won with Leatham guns.” Leatham’s first Bianchi match was in 1982.
The Events The Bianchi Cup is the only major shooting tournament that has retained its original course-of-fire since its inception in 1979.
The Practical Event: Four competitors fire at two targets each, from distances of 10 yds. to 50 yds. under varying time limits. The 10-yd. line begins with a draw and two shots, fired within three seconds.
The Barricade Event: Four barricades are positioned at 10, 15, 20 and 25 yds. each. The fastest Bianchi event of them all begins at the 10-yd. line, drawing and firing six shots in five seconds.
The Falling Plate Event: Shooters fire at 8" round steel plates arranged in banks of six, at distances from 10 to 25 yds., starting with six shots in six seconds.
The Moving Target Event: One shooter per relay fires from distances of 10 to 25 yds. at a target moving left or right for 60 ft. The target is exposed for six seconds.
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