By Lars Dalseide | August 16 2012 08:37

In an homage to her mother past NRA Rifle Champ wins Leech Cup

Nancy Tompkins at the NRA Long Range High Power Rifle Championships

Port Clinton, Ohio - Nancy Tompkins has won a number of NRA Rifle Championships throughout the years. In fact, she's won the whole shooting match. But this year there was something more important on her agenda: the Leech Cup. Why so important? Because she promised her mom.

Nancy lost her mother just a few months ago. A dutiful daughter, Nancy stayed by her mom's side throughout the final days. It was then she made her promise.

"I told her I was going to win the Leech Cup this year," said Tompkins. "It's one of NRA's top matches, one of the oldest trophies, probably my favorite overall. I promised to win it for her."

Her score after the match, a 200-15x, was the highest total in all of the relays. But it wasn't enough. According the NRA Long Range High Power Rifle rules, the Leech Cup isn't won by the best relay score — it's won in a shoot-off. This was only the first step.

The NRA employs shoot offs during Long Range Rifle matches in order to ensure fairness. With more shooters than firing points, competitors are divided into different groups, or relays. One relay shoots in the morning, the next before lunch, the next after lunch and the final in the afternoon. Top shooters from each relay then compete in a shoot off so each competitor faces the same challenges when it comes to wind, rain, light, etc. …

And just because there wasn't enough of a challenge, fate decided to throw a curveball Nancy's way. That curveball took the form of her daughter, Sherri Gallagher. A two-time National NRA Rifle Champion herself, Sherri is a member of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit with the same competitive drive that fuels her mother. It wouldn't be easy.

Competitors gathered on the hill as spectators crowded 'round. Ten shots in twelve minutes. But it didn't take that long.

Nancy began firing almost as soon as the whistle blew. Shot after shot, sailing 1,000 yards down the Viale Range, all finding their mark. Eyes from the crowd darted left and right at the competitors score cards. Each being updated with every shot. An X for Nancy, another for Sherri. Neck and neck as oohs and ahhs grew louder then silent in anticipation of the final shots. Then it was done.

Cheers rang out when the final shot was scored. Mother and daughter both with 100 points – a perfect ten for ten. It was down to the X-count (there is a smaller X-ring inside the 10-ring to gauge a higher level of accuracy). Fourteen for Sherri, fifteen for Nancy.

A smile beamed across her face upon learning the results. Her odyssey complete. Task fulfilled. Promise kept.

This one is for you Mom.

Nancy Tompkins wins the Leech Cup at the NRA Long Range High Power Rifle Championships

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