Whitehorse marksman achieves grandmaster status

Whitehorse pistol shooter John Simmons had a shorter competitive season than usual, but it was still a productive one.

Whitehorse pistol shooter John Simmons had a shorter competitive season than usual, but it was still a productive one.

He even hit a target he wasn’t expecting to. Simmons moved up from master to grandmaster, the highest classification of marksman in the International Practical Shooting Confederation (IPSC).

“Because I did so well in May and (had) high numbers prior to that, beating everybody consecutively re-ranked me to grandmaster,” said Simmons. “I wasn’t really expecting that, but it happened.

“I was concerned I wouldn’t be able to hold that position, that I’m not quite there, good enough, but I was and provincials proved it.”

“Though I competed less, I did really, really well in general,” he added of the season.

Simmons achieved grandmaster status by placing in the top five percentile in IPSC competitions, in which both speed and accuracy are measured as shooters move through an obstacle course.

He capped his season with a personal best finish of second place at the 2016 IPSC B.C. Provincial Championships earlier this month in Pitt Meadows. He took third last year and fourth the year before that.

With that finish Simmons ends the season ranked second in B.C. and top 10 in Canada. He also landed a sponsorship from Cape Custom Pistol.

However, the provincials didn’t start out all too promising.

“I took a number of misses on my first day because I was way too hyper. I was going so fast I was actually missing on occasion and it’s pretty rare for me to miss anything. But it wasn’t like a bad shot, it was a total miss, ” said Simmons.

“It was harder than it looked. A lot of people made a lot of mistakes. It was costly for a lot of top shooters. It was well set up, well thought out, and it pushed people to make mistakes.”

Simmons pegged off the grandmaster title right from the get-go this past summer in IPSC B.C. qualifier events.

He took the top spot in back-to-back days at a double qualifier in Terrace in May. Simmons then notched two first- and a second-place finish in a triple qualifier in Vancouver.

For years Simmons has been schooling Americans in practical shooting and this year wasn’t any different. Simmons placed second at the USPSA Sectional Alaska State Championship — using the U.S. version of IPSC — this past July in Fairbanks. He took first last year.

A fluky occurrence caused Simmons to finish second “by an absolute hair” to a grandmaster from Colorado.

“One of my magazines that I don’t use much — I only use when I’m out of country — my ammo did a nosedive in it and actually jammed into the magazine. I had to do a forced reload, which cost me time,” said Simmons. “It’s the first time I’ve had an issue in at least a year and a half.

“It just happened. Nothing you can do about it.”

Simmons attended fewer B.C. qualifier events this year, but the most notable void in his schedule was the Canadian IPSC nationals, which couldn’t have been much farther away in Halifax.

He skipped the championship this year, but it’s not a big deal since he already qualified for next year’s IPSC World Shoot in France with his results from the last two nationals, placing 21st last year and fifth the previous year.

The six-time Yukon steel-shooting champion competed at his first world championship in 2014. At the triennial world championship Simmons placed 162nd out of 367 shooters in the open division and sixth out of 25 Canadians.

As for finishing the season with the grandmaster title, “I’m elated and proud of that accomplishment,” said Simmons. “I’m pretty happy. I look forward to nationals next year (in Calgary) and World Shoot in France next year.”

Contact Tom Patrick at

tomp@yukon-news.com.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The new Yukon Liberal caucus poses for a photo during the swearing-in ceremony held on May 3. (Yukon Government/Submitted)
Liberal cabinet sworn in at legislature before house resumes on May 11

Newly elected MLA Jeremy Harper has been nominated as speaker.

XX
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for May 5, 2021.… Continue reading

Crystal Schick/Yukon News Premier Sandy Silver, left, and Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley speak at a COVID-19 update press conference in Whitehorse on Nov. 19. They formally announced that as of Nov. 20, anyone entering the territory (including Yukoners returning home) would be required to self-isolate with the exception of critical service workers, those exercising treaty rights and those living in B.C. border towns
Vaccinated people won’t have to self-isolate in the Yukon after May 25

Restaurants and bars will also be able to return to full capacity at the end of the month.

An RV pulls into Wolf Creek Campground to enjoy the first weekend of camping season on April 30, 2021. John Tonin/Yukon News
Opening weekend of Yukon campgrounds a ‘definite success’

The territorial campgrounds opened on April 30. Wolf Creek was the busiest park seeing 95 per cent of sites filled.

The site of the Old Crow solar project photographed on Feb. 20. The Vuntut Gwitchin solar project was planned for completion last summer, but delays related to the COVID-19 pandemic pushed it back. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Old Crow is switching to solar

The first phase of the community’s solar array is already generating power.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
One new case of COVID-19 in the Yukon

Case number 82 is the territory’s only active case

Flood and fire risk and potential were discussed April 29. Yukoners were told to be prepared in the event of either a flood or a fire. Submitted Photo/B.C. Wildfire Service
Yukoners told to be prepared for floods and wildland fire season

Floods and fire personelle spoke to the current risks of both weather events in the coming months.

From left to right, Pascale Marceau and Eva Capozzola departed for Kluane National Park on April 12. The duo is the first all-woman expedition to summit Mt. Lucania. (Michael Schmidt/Icefield Discovery)
First all-woman team summits Mt. Lucania

“You have gifted us with a magical journey that we will forever treasure.”

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)
City news, briefly

Whitehorse goings-on for the week of April 26

The Yukon Department of Education in Whitehorse on Dec. 22, 2020. The department has announced new dates for the 2021/2022 school year. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
Yukon school dates set for 2021/22

The schedule shows classes starting on Aug. 23, 2021 for all Whitehorse schools and in some communities.

Letters to the editor.
Today’s mailbox: rent caps and vaccines

To Sandy Silver and Kate White Once again Kate White and her… Continue reading

Most Read