If you are an Alaskan speed shooter, you know who John Simmons is. Or, you might know him by his nickname at the Alaska Speed Shooting Championships: The Canadian.
The Whitehorse pistol shooter made his third consecutive appearance at the championships this past weekend near Fairbanks. As usual, he made his presence known.
The six-time Yukon steel-shooting champion shot his way to second in the open category and third overall at the steel-shooting competition.
“I would have liked to have done better. I expected, in my mind, to do better,” said Simmons. “I didn’t do as well as I would have liked to, so I get that I-let-myself-down feeling.
“It’s not the end of the world. It still puts me near the top.”
Simmons was hoping to improve on his results from the last two years – not that there was much room for improvement.
At last year’s championships, he took first place in the open division and a second in the shoot-off division, the reverse of his results the previous year.
This year’s championships had some stiffer competition than usual. In addition to the overall first-place finisher, Bill Filiaga, the owner of a gun shop in Fairbanks, the competition had Mike Seeklander, a professional shooting instructor from U.S. Shooting Academy in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Seeklander took second overall.
“I’m not discouraged or disappointed or anything,” said Simmons. “Second is not bad. Third behind a semi-pro/instructor and Bill Filiaga is nothing to whine about.”
If there was something to be disappointed about, it would be that Simmons got disqualified in the shoot-off portion of the championships, the division he won in 2010.
“I eliminated myself,” said Simmons. “I had an accidental discharge on a draw. The shot was too far from the steel, into the ground, to be called a miss. So they DQ’ed me.
“That was a first.”
The shooting season is young, but it’s already been a productive one for Simmons.
He advanced from A division to master after shooting in his third and fourth International Practical Shooting Confederation (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.
Simmons will compete in another qualifier event in three weeks in Nanaimo before he heads to the IPSC Canadian National Championships and then the IPSC B.C. Provincial Championships.
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.
“I’m always pretty positive. I don’t let things bother me,” said Simmons “So I just keep moving along … I expect to do well. Period. I insist on it.”
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