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Enthusiasm for Competitive Recreational Match Grows as National Rimfire Sporter Celebrates its 10-Year Anniversary

By Steve Cooper, CMP Writer

CAMP PERRY, OHIO – What started as an introductory recreational match in 2002, the National Rimfire Sporter Match is now bigger and better than ever following its 10th firing here Sunday, 24 July.
Saginaw, Michigan area residents Mike Mullally, 64, and his grandson, Briar, 14, enjoyed their second National Rimfire Sporter Championship and the father-daughter team of Donald LaBeff, 56, and Amanda LaBeff, 29, participated for the first time.

Since the John C. Garand Match had proven so successful in getting M1 Garand owners involved in fun-oriented target shooting competitions, the Civilian Marksmanship Program decided it was time to create a "Garand Match for Rimfires."

The new match was tested in Georgia in April 2002 which was followed by the first National Rimfire Sporter Match at the National Matches that year. Like today, the first match began with a clinic that covered safety and range procedures, course of fire and shooting techniques. Chief Range Officer Duane Tallman, of Jonesboro, Georgia was the first clinic instructor.
The Rimfire Sporter Match provides an excellent opportunity for families to come to the range where each member of the family can participate in recreational target shooting in a friendly, safe environment.

On July 20 of that year, 41 enthusiastic shooters participated in the first National Rimfire Sporter Match at Camp Perry on July 20. Russell Kapping of Buffalo Lake, Minnesota fired a 582 with a telescopic sight (T-Class), and Phil Croyle of Cleveland, Ohio fired a 529 in the O-Class (open sights). Kapping used a scope-sighted Ruger M10/22 semi-auto and Kapping fired a CZ-452 bolt action rifle. Overall, 10 shooters won gold achievement medals, two won silver medals and six won bronze.
CMP armorer Leon Rutherford, left, who works at the CMP South store in Anniston, Alabama, befriends Thomas Reed, 37, of Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Once the two got over being intrastate sports rivals, they took a few moments to have a friendly conversation about marksmanship.

In 2011 four relays with nearly 500 entries fired the match in the biggest turnout ever. Since the program’s inception, the CMP has tweaked the program, adding a Tactical Rimfire class and an Adult-Junior team element in 2010. Though some refinements to the course of fire have been made, the core purpose of introducing recreational competitors to a larger, family-oriented audience remains the same.
CMP North General Manager, Christie Sewell, presented special recognition certificates to shooters who have participated in all 10 National Rimfire Sporter Matches. From left, they are Keith Custard, Leo J. Sejnowski, Rex Walter, John Hojnacki and Ernest Oelker. Roger Wedge, who attended and fired in the 10th Anniversary match had to leave prior to the awards ceremony and is not pictured.

CMP gave special recognition to six shooters at this year’s National Matches who have participated in all 10 National Rimfire Sporter matches. They are: Ernest Oelker, 65, of Youngstown, Ohio; Leo Sejnowski, Jr., 64, of Eastlake, Ohio; Keith Custard, 60, of Beaver, Pennsylvania; Roger Wedge, 53, of Fostoria, Ohio; Rex Walter, 52, of Ellwood City, Pennsylvania and John Hojnacki, 51, of Homerville, Ohio. Each 10th anniversary competitor was presented a commemorative certificate of appreciation.
Each of the six shooters who have participated in all 10 Rimfire Sporter matches received this certificate.

Mike Krites, 54, of Cridersville, Ohio, the 2010 Tactical Rimfire champion, was back for his fourth year of competition and came to the match with Dave May, 58, of Spencerville, Ohio who fired in his third Rimfire Sporter match this year.

Both shooters said they enjoyed their return to Camp Perry and agreed the match is great for bringing young shooters into the sport, citing that it is more laid back.

Krites plans to bring his son-in-law, currently serving the military in Iraq and his grandson to the matches next year.

“I really enjoy it – there’s no special equipment or reloading required and the volunteers who do the running around make this a good event,” he said.

Thomas Reed, 37, of Muscle Shoals, Alabama, participated in his first rimfire sporter match and earned a bronze achievement medal.

“I was one point away from gold in practice, but it’s different up here,” he said. “I am thrilled to be here and I’m tickled with a bronze medal,” he said. “I’ve met the nicest bunch of people here and you get that feeling when you come into Camp Perry – it’s a rush,” he said.
Members of the Moraine Conservation and Sportsmen’s Association take a moment for a photo after receiving their team and individual awards. Their coach, Mike Ripley, is pictured second from the left in the front row.

Coach Mike Ripley, 44, of Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania, and a dozen or so shooters from the Moraine Conservation and Sportsmen’s Association in Butler, PA, made the trip to the National Rimfire Sporter Match to help work on fundamentals and give their team the experience of shooting on a big range at a national event.

“It’s a great event – we’re meeting people from all over the U.S., including some friends we’ve made from Arizona and Iowa,” he said.
The Sandusky County Sportsman’s Club, Ohio, made their team debut at the National Rimfire Sporter Match in 2011. The team was easy to spot as they sported bright orange shirts that read “X-Ring Mafia” on their backs.

The Sandusky County Sportsman’s Club, Ohio, made their team debut at the National Rimfire Sporter Match in 2011. Sporting bright orange shirts that read “X-Ring Mafia”, its members came in from Gibsonburg, Bowling Green, Toledo and Rossford plus several communities in between. The club has more than 950 members says Mark Montgomery, competitions chairman.

For complete results of the 2011 National Rimfire Championship, log onto To view photographs from the event, log onto our photo Web site at