In his first time shooting at the American championships, Whitehorse’s Nicholas Rittel pegged off two seventh-place finishes en route to placing 10th overall out of about 100 shooters.
Competing at the 2012 Silhouette National Championships last week in Raton, New Mexico, the 21-year-old finished seventh in both the smallbore and smallbore hunter divisions in the master class.
“It wasn’t as good as I would have liked,” said Rittel. “There were a couple shooters down there who would shoot what I usually would shoot and we were tied, which wasn’t bad. And 10th is pretty good. It put my name out there.”
Both seventh-place finishes came through shoot-offs, winning one to break a tie between seventh, eighth and ninth, the other losing in a tie between sixth and seventh.
He was the top-finishing Canadian out of the three others who were there.
“It was extremely warm there; it was 39, 40 each day,” said Rittel. “The last day it wasn’t as much, but the wind picked up quite a bit, so it was pushing everything around.”
Rittel decided to enter the American championships after an outstanding performance at the 2012 Canadian Rifle Silhouette Championships in Kamloops, B.C., last month.
In Kamloops, he set two Canadian shooting records and won three divisions.
Rittel finished first in two smallbore divisions in the master class and also won the hunter high power division in the AAA class. (Master is the highest level of shooting, followed by AAA.)
“There’s standard class and hunter class and I shoot the same gun in both of them,” said Rittel.
He also tied for second in the standard high power class, and dropped to third in a shootout.
He set a Canadian record for hitting 39 out of 40 animals – steel silhouettes of animals – in the smallbore division. He has tied the previous record of 38 animals at a previous championship.
Rittel’s other record was in the high power division, hitting 10 turkey silhouettes in a row. The turkeys are 400 yards away from the shooters, who all shoot “off-hand”- standing without a rest to steady the rifle on.
Rittel, who is vice-president of the Yukon Shooting Federation, has been shooting for about seven years and won smallbore classes at the Canadian championships the last two years.
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