JENNIFER FIERRO • PICAYUNE STAFF
MARBLE FALLS — Rifle and pistol shooters from across the country will descend upon Copperhead Creek Shooting Club on June 13-15 for the Sportsmen Team Challenge National Championship.
Qualifying rounds are June 13-14 with the national championship round June 15 at the club, 7030 RR 1431 East.
Two- to three-person teams of all ages will compete in .22 pistols, .22 rifles, center fire and shotgun. Not all members have to compete in each event, but each team must have one shooter in each.
The events feature shooting-skilled targets, which means they have different loads of targets, organizer Rhonda Bridges said.
“They’re horizontal, and you shoot through a hole or a shape like a diamond or stars at different distances to a metal plate behind it, and you knock it down,” she said. “It’s a lot of fun.”
Bridges said the reason organizers moved the event to Marble Falls was because of the Copperhead Creek facility. The championship had taken place in San Antonio for several years and was moved to Liberty Hill last year.
During that event, Bridges and daughter, Katie, a Marble Falls High School graduate and a member of the Texas Christian University women’s shooting team, invited organizers of the Sportsman’s Team Challenge to tour Copperhead.
“They really liked what we had to offer,” Rhonda Bridges said. “They were looking for a home to have it every year.”
While she did not know the number of competitors, she said officials are bracing for 150 vehicles to be at Copperhead Creek.
One of the attendees will be Olympic Hall of Fame competitive shooter Lones Wigger, who also helps organize the event. He is a five-time U.S. Olympian and considered by many to be the greatest competitive rifle shooter in the country.
“Lones is considered a legend in the shooting world,” Bridges said. “He has garnered more world medals and more world records than anyone in Olympic history.”
Wigger was the first organizer the Bridges took to Copperhead Creek, she said.
“He really liked it,” she said. “He talked to people, and they came and looked and decided this is where they want to be.”
Young shooters have the chance to earn scholarships at the event, Bridges said.
“There’s an overall champion, but it’s not individual,” she said. “You have to work together as a team in several categories for that.”
Spectators are asked to fill out paperwork for a free wristband to watch the event, Bridges said, so they’ll have access to the range.
Katie Bridges earned a state championship in small bore prone two weeks ago. She won by 15 Xs, which is the equivalent to 15 center shots.
In addition to competing against shooters from across the nation and Mexico, she also faced Mother Nature with rain becoming a factor in the two-day event.
“Katie was laying in a puddle of water,” her mother said with a grin.
Go to www.shootstc.com or call Copperhead Creek at (830) 265-4950 for more information.