By Lars Dalseide | February 14 2012 07:50

Dustin Ellerman dismissed Jake's taunts and abandons plans during the History Channel finale

Top Shot Dustin Ellermann talks with NRAblog at the 2012 SHOT Show
Top Shot Dustin Ellermann stops for a photo at the Hornady booth during the 2012 SHOT Show in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The fourth season of History Channel’s Top Shot premiers tonight, February 14th, at 10pm eastern time. For the past two weeks, NRAblog has been running an extended discussion with last season’s winner Dustin Ellermann. Here’s part three of the four-part interview from the 2012 SHOT Show in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Las Vegas, Nevada - Top Shot fans will forever remember the prickly performance of Jake Zweig during season 3. The former Navy SEAL did his best to disturb, disrupt and dismantle both the competitors and the competition. Though Jake’s behavior had an affect some in the show, it was not enough to knock eventual Top Shot winner Dustin Ellermann off his game. And that seemed to make matters even worse.

“Jake didn’t like me much because he couldn’t get under my skin,” Ellermann explained. “It didn’t matter what a guy like Jake thought about me.

But that didn’t work for everyone. Other contestants, like second place finisher Mike Hughes, spent a great deal of time with Jake during the down time. Sometimes it went well and sometimes it didn’t.

“They (Jake and Mike) would pal around and then Jake would totally antagonize him,” said Ellermann. “I just laughed at Jake. He didn’t like me, he couldn’t bother me so that’s where it left us.”

Arriving in the Top Shot Elimination Round

Top Shot Dustin Ellermann smiles while talking about the elimination rounds with NRAblog at the 2012 SHOT Show

Top Shot’s elimination rounds had social media sites like Facebook and Twitter all a buzz. Described as more exciting then the team segments, season 3’s elimination rounds saw dazzling pieces such as the Cornershot System, the Hotchkiss Mountain Gun and the ever popular Gatling Gun. The opportunity to let loose with a few of those babies was what inspired Dustin to face dismissal. Or so he claimed behind a wispy grin.

“The challenge before, they got to shoot the Gatling Gun. So after that I decided to throw the competition because I wanted to see the cannons. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.” (As a point of fact, Dustin headed to the elimination round before the Galting was unleashed … but it makes for a good tale.)

From there he laughed and explained how the downtime and a brief loss of concentration ultimately led to his appearance in elimination. Thankfully he defeated Sara in the “Light it Up” challenge with a Smith & Wesson M&P. It was smooth sailing from there.

Forgetting one thing on the final day of Top Shot

History Channel Top Shot Dustin Ellermann talks with a Benelli representative at the 2012 SHOT Show

He didn’t think he would win. On the final day of the competition, while heading to the range, Ellermann gave his opponent an 80% chance of wiping the floor with him. All for one simple reason.

“Mike is a beast,” Ellermann exclaimed. “I told him if he was too far ahead that he should slow down so we can put on a good show for everybody. He said okay as long as you do the same for me. I kinda forgot.”

Practically duplicating season 2’s finals where Brian Zins was stymied by a Ruger .22 rifle, Mike found himself equally flustered by a Benelli M4 Super 90. With Hughes stuck in the mud, Ellermann continued running from stage to stage, hitting target after target until ultimately notching the win. Only then did he remember the promise.

“I just took off and nothing stopped me,” said Ellermann. “There was the time that everyone says they loved when I turned to my wife and gave her the thumbs up. That was when I knew it was in the bag. All I had to do was touch home. But Mike was a good sport and is a great guy. “

You can also read our first Ellermann interview or the second sit down with Dustin by clicking on those links.

The final piece of the four-part series will run this weekend on NRAblog. For those of you who'd like to take the first steps in shooting like they do on Top Shot, think about sign up for an NRA Basic Pistol or Rifle course on


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