By Kyle Jillson | August 21 2012 11:52

In a close race, match leaders struggle to pull ahead in New Mexico

NRA Black Powder rifle shooter Robert Garibay

Raton, New Mexico - Day two at the Mid-Range Black Powder Rifle Championships began much like the first, sunny and cool. Shooters took to the line for the second half of the Position Championship at the NRA Whittington Center.

The firing line at the NRA Black Powder Rifle Position Championship

Clear skies give beautiful views of the surrounding mountains, but that's typical in the morning. "There's a valley to the southwest that usually spits out a storm around mid afternoon," Match Director Jonathan Leighton said while explaining yesterday's windy and rainy conditions. "Sometimes we dodge it and sometimes you get what we had yesterday. Relay four had bad shooting conditions, but that's what happens at the Whittington Center. You know what you're getting into and it could just as easily happen again today."

After shooting their strings, NRA Black Powder competitors take their rifles back to their trucks to relax

"Any shooter who's been caught in the pits during a storm knows there's not much you can do," Chief Pit Officer Skip Burks told me. "Luckily we have a couple shelters here at the Whittington Center, but you and your rifles can only escape the rain so much."

A Star Spangled Banner that flew over Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, blows in the wind over the NRA Black Powder Championships

Flying over the entire competition is, of course, a Star Spangled Banner, but this isn't just any flag. "My brother sent me this flag from Afghanistan when he was stationed at Bagram Airfield," Leighton said. "I think it's great to have it out here and I know the competitors like it too."

We've only had a couple rifle relays shot so far and don't have reportable scores yet, but we'll bring you an update soon to see if first place is still shared or whether a competitor has taken the lead.

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