Augusta, ME – It was Alyssa Gidney’s first time at the NRA Open Air Rifle/Pistol Sectional shoot in Augusta, ME, the last weekend of January.
Gidney, shooting in the rifle division, and a member of the St. Croix Sportsman Club, not only shot her way to a silver medal (claiming first in the Marksman category, and second overall), but shot her personal best on the five bull target, with a 90.83 average, with scores of 90, 92, 92, 89, 90, and 92 (for a 545 total in 60 shots).
In total, 33 shooters participated in the event, with 15 shooting rifle. The competitor who took gold in rifle, shot in the expert category.
Don Brown, Gidney’s coach, accompanied her to the shoot – something he said he “wouldn’t miss for the world”.
“For her first time going in, it’s quite an accomplishment. She’s been training quite hard at the range at the boys and girls club; she shot a lot of extra evenings to try and get ready for it. She was pretty much on top of her game when she left here,” Brown said.
“She had great composure – she was steady, and very consistent. She was very much in control.”
Used to shooting one target, Gidney has spent the last few months working with the five bull target to prepare.
“I would do them occasionally, probably one of my three nights (at the range, located at the Boys and Girls Club of Charlotte County), I’d work on them for about a month or two, and then in the week before the shoot I did them every night from Monday to Friday,” Gidney said.
Obviously more difficult than shooting one target, Gidney said she’s had to train her eyes to focus on each target she’s shooting at.
“I find it’s hard on the eyes to shoot five bulls because they want to go to each target, so I’ve got to try to focus on one, but my eyes want to wander to every one.
“It takes a while to find which way you want to shoot them because some people stand still and shoot, and others move their feet a bit,” Gidney said, and added she tried both ways, concluding she was more comfortable standing still.
Though Gidney describes the Augusta shoot as relaxed, the athletes are required to shoot for more than an hour and a half period. She joked by the end of the shoot, her feet were falling asleep.
With the NRA Sectional behind her, Gidney is slated to compete in the Maine State Championship, to take place at the same range in Augusta a week from Saturday – something she said she’s looking forward to.
“I’ll be more confident probably, because I know I can make it through the whole set ok.
“I might want to try to take a bit more time in between shots, but mostly I think I just need to practice, practice, practice.”
Brown said he hopes to accompany her to the next shoot as well.
“She’s worked hard for it, and she’s one hell of a nice kid.”