High Power Rifle shooter starts in Scotland, ends up in Singapore
Jacqui Rankin of the Great Britain Rifle Team relaxes at NRA Long Range High Power Championships in Ohio
Port Clinton, Ohio - Jacqui Rankin doesn't shoot much these days. Fact is she can't. Living in Singapore (permanently as of the last four years) means that only those who belong to a gun club are allowed to shoot with any regularity. So what was she doing at the NRA's Long Range High Power Rifle Championships this summer in Camp Perry? Shooting for the Great Britain Rifle Team (Great Britain Rifle Team) of course. And shooting better than ever.
"Parag (teammate Parag Patel) has a theory," explained Rankin. "There are a few of us expats who come back to Britain and for us, it's a tour. And you always shoot better on tour."
Learning to shoot rifles with the boys
There was never much of a desire to shoot. No father taking her out on the hunt or an uncle dragging her out to the range. No, for Jacqui it was more of an effort to run away from something rather then running to something.
"I was about twelve," she began. "At my school in Scotland (the Dollar Academy), I started shooting smallbore rifle because we either had to do that or take music. There were more boys in shooting so I thought I'd join. I wasn't very good."
That would soon change. In a couple of years, Rankin found her mark and moved on to fullbore rifle. Her training continued to pay off as she established a first. With only two years under her belt, she become first student from Dollar to join the Junior Great Britain Rifle Team on a "tour" of Canada. After that, everything fell into place.
"I joined the Junior GB full time, then the GB under 25 for about six years. Captained them in my final year. Went to the World Championships with them as well in 2003, which we won. Then my first full GB tour was in 2005 in Australia. which was a great tour in Brisbane. I've toured in a number places in the world — South Africa, Australia, Canada — but this is my first time to America. I'm really excited about it. It's been absolutely brilliant."
Getting to the NRA Long Range High Power Rifle Championships
Great Britain Rifle team's Jacqui Rankin takes aim at NRA Championships
So how does one get from Singapore to the United Kingdom to Ohio? By way of Toronto of course. That let made it possible for the Great Britain Rifle Team to kill two birds with one stone.
"We flew into Toronto and drove down for the NRA matches. Then we'll drive back up to Ottawa for the Canadian Match on Friday. We'll go straight to the range, get the rifles out and go shoot at the Ottawa Regiment which is the first shoot of the Dominion of Canada Rifle Association meeting."
Sure sounds like a good recipe for shooters fatigue. Not from shooting, mind you, just from the travel. But such a fatigue never realized as several members of the Great Britain Rifle Team finished at the top of the heap. One of their shooters, David Luckman, even walked away with the overall championships. And Rankin finished in the top fifty along with teammates Watson, Patel, Calvert and others.
It could have been the countless hours of training and practice, or it could have been the special diet forced upon them as they prepared for Camp Perry.
"We had two days once arriving from Canada," Rankin explained. "Two days off where we went fishing. We caught a lot of perch. I don't think the team wants to see perch again because we caught two hundred and five of those fishes. I made the team eat every single one for two days straight. They were very nice. It was great fun. Brilliant."
How the rifle shooting world works when you leave the United Kingdom
Rankin left the United Kingdom four years ago. With the global economy suffering a financial collapse, she took to the air in search of relief. It was a misstep that made everything possible.
"I got off the plane in the wrong place," she said with a laugh. "Seemed quite a good place to stay so I did. Wonderful place to live. Wonderful, wonderful. The only downside is no guns."
Quite the difference then her experience in the UK. Growing up in Great Britain, there's plenty of rifle matches for all who wish to participate.
"Our season starts with the Easter Match. Then there is training and matches all the way through the year. There'll be county level matches and club shoots. Then there are the National shoots which is England against Scotland against Ireland and Wales. Then you've got the Great Britain which is against everyone else. So there's various matches leading up to the UK version of the Nationals in July. The Bisley Imperial Meeting."
That's where members of the Great Britain Rifle Team met just days before departing for Camp Perry. A trip that would leave them with championships from Canada and the United States both. A reasonable reward for flying halfway across the world. But the only remuneration that Rankin seeks is return passage home. Home to Singapore.
"I Love it. Wonderful place, wonderful people. Very easy to live in a permanent summer. A girl from Scotland likes that."
Great Britain Rifle Team preparing for a team photo after the America Match during the NRA Long Range High Power Championships in Camp Perry, Ohio - Jacqui Rankin on the bottom right.