Marksman Simmons continues productive season

Whitehorse's John Simmons is feeling pretty good about how his summer is shaping up.

Whitehorse’s John Simmons is feeling pretty good about how his summer is shaping up.

The International Practical Shooting Confederation (IPSC) pistol shooter has been placing well in all his competitions, has twice moved up to a higher division and is on the cusp of making B.C.‘s elite Gold Team.

“I’m a little surprised because I don’t know what the difference is – I just don’t know how it’s happening,” said Simmons. “It’s definitely been productive.”

This past weekend was no exception. Simmons placed third both days at back-to-back IPSC qualifier events in Nanaimo, B.C.

A third place result is always positive, but Sunday’s was extra special. Simmons placed third behind two of B.C.‘s top three ranked IPSC shooters, both of whom are grand masters.

“I held my own – there’s no question about it,” said Simmons. “It’s good because I proved to myself and everyone else that I am actually at master level.”

Simmons, who is now ranked second in B.C. for master level shooters, advanced from A division to master after shooting in his third and fourth IPSC B.C. qualifiers of the season, in May. Simmons took fifth and then second at the event in Pitt Meadows.

He opened the season with second-place finishes in two other B.C. qualifiers in Terrace at the start of May, which moved him from B division into A in the classification of IPSC, which measures speed, power and accuracy as competitors move through an obstacle course.

All this progress has been made and the season’s two big competitions have yet to take place.

Simmons will be competing at the 2012 IPSC Canadian National Championship in Brandon, Manitoba next week. A strong performance at the nationals, in which he finished 25th in the open category last year, could lead to a trip to the IPSC World Championships. The next worlds will take place 2014 in Florida and will be the first to be held in North America.

He will then compete at the IPSC B.C. Provincial Championship at the start of September.

If he continues to shoot like he has been, next year he could be going to the nationals on B.C.‘s provincial team, the Gold Team.

“It’s really beneficial because you have really experienced, really good guys to talk to about doing a stage,” said Simmons.

The Whitehorse pistol shooter made his third consecutive appearance at the championships near Fairbanks in June. The six-time Yukon steel-shooting champion shot his way to second in the open category and third overall at the steel-shooting competition.

Simmons is not the only Yukoner shooting his way to glory.

Whitehorse’s Nicholas Rittel set two Canadian shooting records and won three divisions at the 2012 Canadian Rifle Silhouette Championships in Kamloops, B.C., finishing on July 12. The 21-year-old is currently traveling to New Mexico to compete at the U.S. championships.

“There’s two of us who are putting in a lot of time and effort here shooting,” said Simmons.

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com