By Kerrin Brinkman | January 23 2012 14:28

Many people go for broke in Las Vegas, but last week, Tommy Thacker raised the stakes and walked away with $50,000 - one of the biggest payouts in the history of competitive shooting. Phil Schreier brought you some initial coverage of the 3-Gun Nation Championship Finale Shoot-Off, but here's the whole story from 3-Gun Nation's Chad Adams.  

Tommy Thacker wins $50,000 in 3-Gun Nation Championship
Photo courtesy of Tim Walsh www.seanchaicom.com
What Happened in Vegas

LAS VEGAS - Before the largest crowd ever to watch a 3-gun match, and with the largest payday in the history of the sport on the line, eight of the country’s top 3-gunners stepped to the firing line at the Clark County Range here January 18. With the famous Las Vegas strip illuminating the desert sky as the backdrop, the sport of 3-gun formally announced its arrival to the shooting industry, major media outlets and a national television audience.

And then one team stole the show.

Team FNH USA’s Tommy Thacker defeated teammate Mark Hanish in the final round of the 3-Gun Nation Championship Finale, sponsored by Brownells, to become the 2012 3-Gun Nation Champion, winning an unprecedented $50,000 from Leupold Tactical Optics and NBC Sports Network.

“Unbelievable,” Thacker said, trying to put the enormity of the moment into words. “The only thing I could think is I am so blessed and everything happens for a reason. The only thing I could think is to thank God. When you think about everything that happened, I don’t know how else to describe it. Coming into this, I knew everything was right. I was in the zone more than I’ve ever been, and after the first run, I knew I was going to win this thing.”

"On behalf of FNH USA, we would like to congratulate Tommy Thacker and Mark Hanish for their outstanding performance during the 3-Gun Nation Championship," said Ken Pfau, FNH USA Senior Vice President for Commercial and Law Enforcement Sales. "Since joining Team FNH USA, both Tommy and Mark have demonstrated time and time again that they are superior marksmen. Their dedication to the sport of 3-gun contributed to their success in this final match and showcases FNH USA's commitment to the sport of 3-gun."

Thacker stormed out of gate with an opening round win over Phil Strader, getting off the eight-target shotgun station first before widening the gap with a strong rifle run across six steel plates. Thacker struggled on the 12-plate pistol rack before pausing for a moment, taking a breath, and regaining his composure to finish strong and advance to the semi-finals.

“I was pretty amped up for the first run,” Thacker said. “I was listening to the music trying to stay in the groove and relax. I was thinking ‘don’t let this stuff get to you. It’s a mental game now. Your skill set is not going to change.’ I played it over and over in my mind; I knew what I had to do.”

There, Thacker met up with Jeff Cramblit, a skilled 3-gun veteran who looked strong in his opening-round run. But Thacker again was dialed in and pulled ahead on a strong rifle run, building a lead he maintained through the pistol rack and on to the stop plate, setting up the Championship showdown with Hanish.

Finish reading abou the 3-Gun Nation Championship Finale Shoot-off.

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