A slow start didn’t prevent John Simmons from shooting into the top-five at the 2014 IPSC B.C. Provincial Championships over the weekend in Kelowna.
After opening with a few lackluster stages, the Whitehorse handgun shooter found his groove and placed fourth in the open division, up from seventh last year and 13th in 2012.
“Surprised. I didn’t think I did that well,” said Simmons.
“The first day I felt slow and sloppy. I just couldn’t get my head going. I didn’t feel quick at all. My mind just wasn’t sharp. I was a little bit slow.”
Simmons finished the weekend with a score of 94.12 per cent over 14 stages at the International Practical Shooting Confederation competition, in which speed, power and accuracy are measured as competitors move through an obstacle course.
He finished sixth, sixth and eighth in the first three stages before taking first in stage eight – shooting 100 per cent – and placing third in stages six, nine and 10.
“I continuously picked it up,” said Simmons. “I stayed really consistent.”
With his fourth-place finish in provincials and strong results all season in B.C., the master-level shooter is ending the summer ranked second in B.C. for the open division.
That rank has earned Simmons the second spot on B.C.‘s Gold Team for next year’s nationals.
“I did some more learning. I was squadded with a couple top shooters again and got some advice from them,” said Simmons. “I’ll be practising what they suggested in preparation for World Shoot.”
Simmons placed fifth overall out of 66 shooters in the open division at the 2014 IPSC Canada Nationals at Pitt Meadows, B.C. last month.
In addition to producing his highest finish at the nationals, Simmons was the top master shooter, with four grandmasters ahead of him. His previous best finish was 17th last year.
Early this year Simmons received an invite to represent Canada at the IPSC World Shoot. He is one of only 60 Canadians selected for the triennial IPSC world championships to compete against shooters from about 80 countries.
The championship will be the first held in North America, scheduled to take place at the Universal Shooting Academy in Polk Country, Florida, next month.
“It’s my first one … and there are a couple thousand people, but I’d like to make the top 100,” said Simmons. “That’s my expectation for myself.”
The six-time Yukon steel-shooting champion placed first and second at a double-qualifier for the IPSC B.C. in Terrace, B.C., at the end of April. He also produced two first-place finishes at an IPSC B.C. double-qualifier in October, which, having taken place following the B.C. championship, is considered part of the 2014 season.
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