By Kyle Jillson | October 17 2012 14:49

American shooters face off against opponents 4,000 miles away in real-time

Junior air rifle shooters at Ole Mill Range in Griffin, Georgia

Griffin, Georgia - A week and a half ago junior air rifle shooters from Georgia faced off against counterparts in Germany during an "internet match" that allowed both teams to keep track of their opponents scores in real-time.

Each shooter was ranked and paired against the corresponding member of the opposing team - like golf's Ryder Cup. Instead of a team aggregate determining the outcome, countries earned points for beating their opponents.

How did the US team fare? I'm sure they've seen better days. Outshot in all but one match, the United States lost to Germany 3-1.

Despite the defeat, this match was a great example of the shooting sport's international strength. American and German teams, separated by 4,000 miles and a six hour time difference, came together on a fall day to shoot a fun match between one another - simultaneously. Instead of waiting for results from one another and shooting on different days, it was great to see the two groups work out schedules that allowed competition as if they were all at the same range.

Jessi McClain (left), NRA's former Manager of Air Gun and Muzzle Loading Competitions at the Ole Mill Range in Griffin, Georgia

Speaking of ranges, the US team was set up at the Ole Mill Range in Griffin, Georgia, while their German opponents were shooting from from Untergrombach, Baden-Wuerttemberg, a state in southern Germany.

Instead of a normal 60 shot standing match, the two ranges agreed to tweak the rules to the head-to-head format for a little international fun. All shooters still shot in the same relay with scores reported as they came in and "wins" were counted after each pair had finished.

This "internet match" opened all kinds of doors for future matches between not only different countries, but states right here in the US. The ease of communication through computers can really help the shooting sports expand with a web of competitions the world over.

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