By Lars Dalseide | February 2 2013 12:53

Great Britain's Luckman in Long Range rifle and Arizona's Templey in Smallbore

Great Britain's David Luckman keeping score at NRA Long Range High Power Rifle Championships in Camp Perry, Ohio
Great Britain's David Luckman keeping score at NRA Long Range High Power Rifle Championships in Camp Perry, Ohio
Fairfax, Virginia - With a few thousands stories posted every year, the task of tapping just one for the top spot proved to be arduous at best. Basic Pistol classes, Youth Hunter Education, Women's Shooting Clinics and Law Enforcement Training ... where do you begin? In all, there are 178 programs in the NRA. That's why I went with our oldest program; the National Rifle & Pistol Championships in Camp Perry, Ohio.

But there were dozens of great stories at the National Championships too. We found a Youth Education Summit alum firing Smallbore, a touch of international flavor during the American Cup match, a sibling shooter juggling a publishing/aviation career as well as the Australian Rifle team and The Wagon too.

After sifting through six weeks of the ups and downs that Camp Perry always has to offer, I decided to push. Yes it's a tie. A tie between the Long Range High Power and 3-Position Smallbore rifle champions. First is the Long Range.

NRA's 2012 Long Range High Power Rifle Champion David Luckman

David Luckman came to the U.S. with the Great Britain Rifle team to take part in the America Cup match. A veteran international shooter, Luckman has European titles, International titles and as of 2012, an NRA Championship.

Topping three-time Long Range Champ John Whidden by a mere point, Luckman was reserved in victory. Thoughtful, reserved, yet open throughout our interview, David Luckman constantly displayed the grace and talent of a true champion.

"We arrived early to warm up for the America Cup" said Luckman. "To win the overall (NRA) Championship is just brilliant."

3-Position Smallbore Rifle Champion Tarl Kempley

Tarl has been shooting NRA Smallbore for a number of years. Finishing in the top five for a number of years, Tarl was always among the best, but it wasn't until 2012 that he broke through to the top spot.

Tarl Kempley wins NRA's 2013 Smallbore 3-Position Rifle Champoinship in Camp Perry, Ohio Once the bright lights of the championships were finally cast in his direction, he deflected. Not talking about struggles or training or what it takes to win — he went a different direction. When Tarl was asked about winning the NRA Smallbore Championship, he talked about family.

"My grandfather, Roy, shot here at Camp Perry back in the 30s," said Kempley. "Shot all his life. My grandmother would joke about him abandoning her for the range. My father shot too. Now he's my coach. And Reya (his sister) has been doing pretty well here at Camp Perry for years."

That's why David Luckman and Tarl Kempley are my top story of 2012.

Usually I'd close the piece with the "my top story" line, but an email from Tarl & Reya's mom arrived soon after the original posts. Hopefully something we've written throughout the years have meant as much to you as those stories meant to her.

From Susan Kempley:

Just have to write you once again, to THANK YOU for such fantastically written articles about Tarl and Reya at Camp Perry. I reread all of them, now and then, and they still bring tears to my eyes. It's such a joy to be their mom and have known how wonderful my son and daughter are all these years, but how you wrote about them is a gift to me.

To learn that someone such as yourself sees them how they really are, and appreciates that, makes me burst with pride. We've sent out many copies to family members, and I'm so thrilled to present them with such well written stories!

So to Susan, and everyone else out there who who has a kind word for our endless hours on the road, afternoons baking in the sun, mornings drenched in the rain and weeks of planning, those of us here at NRAblog thank you.

While you may not believe every piece is penned by Hemingway, we are doing what we can to bring you the best of the NRA. Knowing people like Susan are out there reading our work makes it all worth while.

So grab a gun, hit the range, and get yourself ready for what promises to be an exciting season for the shooting sports.


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