Service Rifle's top prize at NRA Championships goes to All Guard Shooter
Port Clinton, Ohio - This time last year, Cody Shields was in his final days of deployment with the National Guard. Described as "eventful", there was little else said about his time in Afghanistan. A sentiment shared by many returning from battle. The important thing is that he made it back home.
"Ten fingers and ten toes," said Shields. "All is good."
In the weeks following his return, Shields found his way back to range. Back to a place that was welcoming and familiar. Back to his career in the shooting sports. A journey that found him with the winning score for this year's Irvine C. Porter Trophy match.
"My heart was beating out of my chest. It was my second time in a shoot off. The first one, ah, didn't go so well."
The Porter Trophy match is shot at the same time as the Leech Cup. Fired at 1,000 yards, shooters have 30 minutes to land 20 shots on target. And, as one might guess, the match is shot with a service rifle.
A competitive shooter since the age of fifteen, Shields has always been on the cusp of winning something big. He shot in high school, in college for Akron University, and now for the All Guard Team in Arkansas. But this, easily, is his biggest win.
"I was shocked when I realized how well I was shooting here," said Shields. "Once I realized I was thinking about it, I stopped thinking about it. Just focused on my front sight and tried to keep up with the wind."
Shields isn't in the mix for the overall title. Although shooting well, or at least better than his last time at the NRA Long Range High Power Rifle Championships in Camp Perry, there are plenty of other servicemen and civilians posting higher scores. But that's okay. It's not about anyone else. It's about you.
How you shoot. How you adjust and adapt. How you see the wind, dial it in, an put a shot right where you want to ... or at least close to where you want to. And for Shields, it's also about shooting along side the men and women of the All Guard team.
"They are real good people. The All Guard offers a great deal of support and for me, it's just a lot more fun shooting with service men. It's probably the best part of my shooting career."
For more on NRA's Competitive Shooting Programs, visit their website at compete.nra.org