"It doesn't get any tighter," Green exclaims after close finish in NRA High Power Rifle Championships
Port Clinton, Ohio - For years, the NRA High Power national title had always been just out of reach for Staff Sgt. Brandon Green. But finally, in 2013, after four tense days of shooting, Brandon Green is a national champion.
"It feels extremely good," Green said after receiving his national title at last night's awards ceremony. "It was a very tight match the whole way through. The weather conditions were so difficult but everybody still shot well. I fought hard to finally get here and it feels pretty good for everything to come out in my favor."
Brandon would have had enough to worry about with just the weather, but throw in a neck-and-neck race with defending champion Carl Bernosky and things get nerve-racking.
"It doesn't get any tighter than it was today," Green said to me.
Beginning the day tied in points, Green held six tie-breaking Xs over Bernosky. After the first of the day's three matches, the two were still tied in points, but Green had increased his lead by one X.
Bernosky, a 10-time High Power National Champion, was not going to give up without a fight and made a strong comeback in the second match. At the onset of the day's third and final match - the twelfth of the championship - the two remained tied in points, but Bernosky managed to shrink Green's lead to a single X.
"After watching [Bernosky] come off the 300 yard line with a 14x, I thought I was done," Green said. "And then, of course, I shot a nine on my very first shot for record and knew I was done at that point."
Green would go on to finish the 20-shot match with all tens, posting a 199-12x out of 200, but fearing Bernosky had shot a perfect 200 or at least beaten him by Xs. As it turns out, Bernosky had also dropped a point, scoring a 199, and had only shot 13 Xs - bringing the two to a dead tie.
In order to determine whether Green or Bernosky would walk away the champion, statistics officers had to compare how well each shooter had done throughout the week. Starting from the furthest distance shot to the closest, both competitors' targets would be evaluated until a discrepancy was found.
In the end, Green had bested Bernosky by one X at 600 yards and was awarded the title.
"It was too tight. Too close. I got some gray hair over it," Green laughed.
Think of it as one more souvenir from your win. You definitely earned it, Brandon. And if you think this was tough, we're excited to see you defend your title next year.