A steady hand and precise aim were enough to earn some Yukon Army and Air Cadets a trip to Edmonton next month.
Competing at the 2010 Northern Region Cadet Marksmanship Competition at the Canada Games Centre over the weekend, five cadets from each of Canada’s three territories were selected to represent the northern region at the
Cadet’s national air rifle competition in two weeks.
“The region is divided into three different areas, so because of costs and the opportunity for kids to travel, we bring everybody in to do both the area championships and regionals,” said Cpt. Cheryl Major, public affairs officer with the Regional Cadet Support Unit (Northern). “Normally, let’s say in BC, they would have a marksmanship competition in different towns or different areas. In this competition, we bring everyone together and present awards for area and regions.
“The whole point of marksmanship is to introduce cadets to the sport, to give them familiarization and respect for firearms and give them the self-discipline needed to perform well in marksmanship.”
Making the cut for the national air rifle competition from Yukon were 2685 Whitehorse Army Cadets’ Nolan Mountain, Mitchell Shepperd-Wipp, and Nathan Brown, plus 551 Whitehorse Air Cadets’ Dominic Larkin and Halley Wilson.
“I’m pretty excited, it’s a nice thing to go – not many cadets get to go,” said Larkin, a sergeant who has been in the Cadets for four years. “It’s a great opportunity and I’m looking forward to going.
“I have been shooting a number of years with the cadets, but I haven’t gone to the competitions – they’ve usually fallen on an inconvenient date. So this is my first time going to nationals, and regionals for that matter.”
For Brown, who also has a background in biathlon and seems to be a natural at the sport, the selection was unexpected.
“I was actually quite surprised; I wasn’t expecting to be on the team because of my overall score over the weekend – I was expecting a little bit higher,” said Brown, a master warrant officer in his last year with the Cadets.
“I just started shooting two years ago; three years ago it wasn’t much of an interest to me. When I eventually tried it, I was top-shot pretty much right off the top. I’m not going to say I was a natural, but I was born to do it.”
Mountain finished first in the Western Arctic Area Junior Category (14-and-under), scoring 354 out of a possible 400, followed by Shepperd-Wipp with 334 and Wilson with 311.
Mountain’s score also gave him a silver in the Western Arctic Area Open Category (all ages), while Brown took bronze.
In the Western Arctic Area Team Awards, the 2685 Whitehorse Army Cadets took gold, shooting 1328 out of a possible 1600, while the 551 Whitehorse Air Cadets won bronze with a score of 1208.
“In the last six years I’ve seen a huge change in my behaviour,” said Brown, speaking of his time with the Cadet’s. “I’ve met a lot of people from around Canada and even around the world, so it’s a very good program for a lot of youth to be in and it’s a positive for the parents. Trust me, the parents are going to like it if their kids join; they are going to see a good difference in their kids.”
Contact Tom Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org