Race for NRA Black Powder title stays close at Whittington Center

Hammering shooting sticks into the ground at the NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championships in Raton, New Mexico

Raton, New Mexico - It's the last day of the NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championships and competitors are making the most of the clear skies and a steady headwind.

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Long Range Black Powder Target Rifle Championship begins

Black Powder rifle used during the NRA Creedmore Championships

Raton, New Mexico - In 1874, the first Creedmoor match was shot at the Creedmoor range on Long Island, New York. Competitors lined up at 800, 900 and 1,000 yards as the accuracy of Ireland's best shooters was pit up against the accuracy of the United States' best shooters.

The NRA has preserved that match throughout the years and the exact course of fire is shot today in the Creedmoor Championship.

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NRA's Competitive Shooting Director takes to the firing line

Director of NRA Competitive Shooting, Dennis Willing, shoots in the Creedmoor Championship

Raton, New Mexico - Dennis Willing thought he was only coming to observe. As NRA's new Director of Competitive Shooting, why else would he be out at New Mexico's Whittington Center during the NRA's oldest discipline. Little did he know what awaited him upon arrival.

After pulling in through the front gate, Willing learned that Match Director Jonathan Leighton took it upon himself to enter the boss into this year's Creedmore championships. Secured was a a place on the squad, a rifle, ammunition, and the hope that there'd still be a job once the match was complete.

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Exceptional shooting to clench top spot at NRA Whittington Center

Jack Odor wins NRA's 2012 Black Powder Rifle championships in Raton, New Mexico - Dennis Willing on left

Raton, New Mexico - Jack Odor had a narrow lead going into the last day of the Black Powder Target Rifle Prone Championship.

He started out good, but it wasn't good enough. Despite shooting a 99 at 200 yards, both Mike Rix and Mark Hipes fired 100s to close within one of him. But at 300 yards Odor was able to pad his lead, by four with Hipes and one on Rix.

Although shooters like Keith Lay and the Position Champion Chip Mate were matching or doing better than Odor's Day Two scores, they had more ground to cover and Odor needed only to stay the course in order to walk home with a trophy.

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Follow the Walters from Camp Perry to the NRA Whittington Center

Raton, New Mexico - A lot of shooters compete in multiple disciplines and Ronald and Barbara Walters are no different. These two are fresh from Camp Perry's High Power Long Range Championships which ended last week.

"We came from Camp Perry last tuesday," Ron told me, who began shooting in high school as a member of a junior rifle club. "We went back home to Michigan, Barb canned some pickles and did some laundry and I packed the van and traded out high power stuff for black powder stuff."

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Outshooting competition, Jack Odor has NRA title within reach

Shooter Dan Theodore escapes the sun at the NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championships in Raton, New Mexico

Raton, New Mexico - On the outset of this year's Black Powder Target Rife Prone Championship, shooters across the board were posting outstanding scores thanks to great conditions.

A couple competitors even managed to shoot themselves into the National Recordbook. Jim Kidwell became co-owner of the scoped 300 yards record, tying Terry Gazaway's 100-4x. Marisa Moritz actually broke a record - her own, by one point - for a 30-shot match at 200, 300 and 600 yards by a woman, firing a 285-5x.

More on Odor's lead at NRA's 2012 Black Powder Prone Championship ...

Black Powder Rifle Championships run in a unique, efficient way

Match Director Jonathan Leighton and Chief Range Safety Officer Dustin Swartz give commands to the NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championships

Raton, New Mexico - The NRA Whittington Center is purposely a minimalistic kind of place. One of its goals is to preserve and let visitors appreciate the beauty of the New Mexico landscape.

People coming out for hunts or competitions don't want to see buildings littered all over the place - that's what they came here to get away from. There are a few quarters for guests, a couple administration buildings and the museum.

More on the technology used at NRA Black Powder Rifle Championships...

Takes fifth NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Position Championship

Raton, New Mexico - After calmer weather on the second of the two-day championship, Chip Mate won his fifth Schaffer Trophy with a score of 552-10x.

"This is the best run match I've ever shot in," Mate said. "It's a shooter's match."

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Bill and Dave meet up every year at the NRA Whittington Center

Bill (right) and Dave (left) Wallinger at the NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championships in Raton, New Mexico

Raton, New Mexico - Every shooter has a story and Bill and Dave Wallinger are no different. These brothers grew up in Illinois, but Dave now lives in Idaho and the two have come down to the NRA Whittington Center each year for almost a decade to shoot the NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championships.

More on these brothers at NRA Black Powder Championships ...

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