Juniors Shine at NRA Championships

posted on August 31, 2016

Claudia Alley—Bianchi Cup
My name is Claudia Alley, I'm from Jefferson City, Mo., and Action Pistol is my game. I’ve only been shooting Action Pistol for a few years, but I have found that it’s a lot of fun. On my 14th birthday, I got to shoot my very first Action Pistol competition in Lake Charles, La., called the Crawfish Cup. I started off shooting regional matches and then the Bianchi Cup in the Metallic Division with a basic Smith & Wesson 1911 pro series in 9 mm. I shot Metallic for a year and then moved up to an open gun, one with an optic and cool looking wings on the side of the gun, but still in 9 mm, and have been for the past two years.

During the week of the Bianchi Cup, it's always a goal of mine to have fun and make new friends. The cup really improves communication skills because you are surrounded by people from all over the world—Australia, Barbados, Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Italy and Japan. They're some of the greatest friendships you will make and it makes you want to not leave all the new friends you just made.

The Alley family is one big, happy shooting family. My dad, brother and I all compete while my mom shoots the camera. Being on the line with my family is the best because it's a little competition of who can out shoot who.

I may not be a title holder, record holder, or a sponsored shooter, but each time I've shot a competition my scores have always shown improvements and I'm slowly working my way to the top and don't plan on stopping anytime soon. Plain and simple, it’s fun and that’s why I keep coming back. The challenge of trying to improve my last best score is great, but shooting and especially Action Pistol shooting is just great fun.

Cora Heisterkamp – Silhouette Rifle
My name is Cora Heisterkamp and I’ve been competitively shooting local Smallbore Silhouette matches since January 2012. In August 2014 I competed in my first sanctioned NRA match as an unclassified shooter. Twelve months later I graduated up to AAA class, earned eight state titles, over 30 first place finishes—and I qualified for Nationals.

It’s great to be a kid in a sport and still be able to compete not only against other kids, but also adults. On top of that, I’m proof you don’t have to have the most expensive gear available to be competitive and win. So, why should juniors try Silhouette shooting? It’s more fun than you can imagine and the thrill alone is enough to get you hooked.

On the first day of the 2015 Tennessee Smallbore Rifle Silhouette State Championship, the weather had changed and it was very cold and windy. After the day’s standard matches we learned I had won High Junior Champion and came really close to winning A Class Champion. Now, I knew I could do this and I was ready to take on Hunter class the following day.

The next morning my dad helped me set the scope and I warmed up. It was a fun day. I shot really well and was anxious to see the final scores posted. There were shoot-offs (tie-breakers) required in several classes. When the match director announced my name for a shoot-off for first place AA at the rams, against a shooter we knew very well and had always beat me in the past, my heart started beating really hard. I never want to be the first to fire in a shoot-off, so when the director said, “Fire!” I let the other shooter go first. He missed. Now I knew if I missed too I would have another chance. I took my first shot and also missed. I turned to my dad and gave him a confused look. He whispered, “Trust your gun.”

When the match director called us to the line for our second shot, I again let the other shooter go first. As I waited to hear if he hit his target or not, I watched my scope picture move up and down with my heart beat. I focused on my target, timed my heart beats and waited to take my shot. The other shooter fired and missed again; as the shot timer nearly expired I pulled my trigger and thankfully hit the ram, winning the Tennessee AA State Championship against a very experienced opponent! The other shooter leaned across the bench, shook my hand and congratulated me and then turned to my dad and said, “I could not have lost to a better shooter.”


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