Whitehorse pistol shooter John Simmons had a rough start to the IPSC Canadian Nationals last week in Toronto.
He didn’t miss a pair of targets with bullets, he just missed them all together.
“On my very first stage on my first day of shooting I ran past two targets,” said Simmons. “So I get two failure to engage penalties, plus four misses, and all the points I would have got on top of that if I had shot the targets. So I was in a miss-80 hole to dig my way out of to start the match. At a national level, that’s pretty much unrecoverable.”
“It was just a mental lapse. It’s not anything’s fault, it’s my fault.”
The mistake was costly. Simmons, who placed fifth last year, slipped down to 21st out of 55 in the open division.
He did, however, make up a lot of ground. After the disastrous first stage, he placed top-10 in six of the next 13. He also won Stage 3.
“The second day I made up a huge amount of points and time, just to make 21st. I did a lot of digging; I dug myself quite a ways out.”
IPSC (International Practical Shooting Confederation) is a shooting competition in which speed and accuracy are measured as competitors move through an obstacle course.
Just last month Simmons took first place at the USPSA Sectional State Championship – using the U.S.‘s version of IPSC – outside of Fairbanks.
Not only did Simmons take first place in the open division, he registered the top score overall out of all shooters, across all divisions at the pistol championship.
“I just won the Alaska state championships, turn around and screw up nationals,” said Simmons.
“I’m disappointed in myself … I’m my own worst critic,” he added. “But I learned some stuff from it too, as far as focus and paying attention, those kind of things. It won’t happen again.”
The six-time Yukon steel-shooting champion will apply the lessons learned to his next competition, the IPSC B.C. Provincial Championships over the Labour Day weekend in Nanaimo. He placed fourth at the B.C. championships last season before heading to his first world championship in October. At the IPSC World Shoot Simmons placed 162nd out of 367 shooters in the open division and sixth out 25 of Canadians.
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