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1986 and Halley's Comet makes another appearance in the night sky and Rob Leatham wins his second IPSC World Championship, back in World Shoot VII there were no divisions, it was a straight heads-up battle between competitors from all over the world. It would be 28 years before the competition returned to these shores and once again Leatham is on the podium, this time in the Classic division which marked its first appearance at a Level 5 match. Joining him with his sixth gold medal was Eric Grauffel who swapped out his Open gun and competed in the most populous division, Production.

Since its adoption in 1996 the Production division has grown in leaps and bounds as it offers a lower cost option for those wishing to compete in this dynamic sport. It is not without its critics though, the IPSC trigger pull rule favors the SA/DA guns with an external hammer, as only the first DA shot has to meet the 5lb requirement, subsequent shots have no such limitation; Meaning that striker fired guns are at a distinct disadvantage as every shot has to meet the stringent weight restriction. It is no surprise that CZ and Tanfoglio dominate this division across the world. USPSA has no such trigger limitation.

Once the pre-match for the officials and sponsors had been completed, the 1000+ competitors gathered at the Lakeland Center in Polk County, Florida for the opening ceremonies complete with fireworks, water-skiing demonstrations, classic cars and an opportunity to meet up with old friends and new ones from across the globe. The main match ran for six days, with each competitor shooting for five days with a day off somewhere along the way and was hosted at Frank Garcia's Universal Shooting Academy in Frostproof, Florida.

LiveShots was providing coverage of the main match, throughout the week over 37,500 visitors were able to watch the match live on the internet. Photographs were also posted online at the end of each day.

After parking across the street the competitors had the option of riding a shuttle/trailer the hundred yards or so to the range entrance or just walking there. The Polk Country Sheriff's department was out in force to provide assistance and security for all the parked cars and to ensure that only authorized persons had access to the event. Upon entering the range the competitors walked around a small lake and past a large vendor area to the main-strip where the majority of the stages were arrayed to the left and right. The past two years have seen extensive improvements to this facility, solid wooden covered areas were in abundance along with permanent safety areas so competitors work on their firearms and make any repairs or adjustments that were required. Towards the end of the strip were the final six stages of the match fanned out between some large steel containers.

With most of the berms facing to the East and West and the late time of year, it was obvious that the sun was going to be an issue first thing in the morning and to a lesser degree toward the end of the day. The high humidity caused more smoke than was normal from uncompensated guns and that combined with a low sun position caused a few headaches for competitors as some targets vanished in a haze of excessive gun smoke and sunlight. While they could not always see the targets, competitors and spectators alike could enjoy the tremendous artwork that adorned many of the stages. All the artwork was provided by artistic family Dick, Ben & Elye Alexander and included a Tyrannosaurus Rex, Sasquatch, river boats, even one that bore a striking resemblance to Henning Wallgren.

As expected at such a large contest there were a number of 'Super Squads' which are typically made up of National teams that placed highest at the previous World Championship, this led to an unusual situation for Eric Grauffel whose French Production team did not finish well three years ago so he was not squadded with the other top contenders.

The Live coverage of the match began with the top Open teams as they engaged Stages 7-12 on their first day. All eyes were on Team USA as the hottest contest was likely to be between the team-mates, Shane Coley, Max Michel, Chris Tilley and KC Eusebio who had recently parted ways with Glock USA and was now shooting an old Caspian framed LimCat instead of his Glock. KC had suffered from some equipment issues over the past couple of years and that frustration probably led to the split, it was good news for the USA as equipment issues at a World Shoot would affect not only the competitor but the entire team. Team USA was joined by the Open teams of Australia, France and the Czech Republic which included in its line-up, Zdenek Henes who was the current Modified World Champion but following that division's removal from IPSC had switched over to Open.

The first members of the squad had arrived before the sun had risen and as the daylight swept away the gloom the stage materialized out of the dawn mist to reveal the large monument from which Stage 7 took its name. This was the largest stage of the day; IPSC subscribes to the 3-2-1 guide for stages at a World Shoot, this equates to three small stages, two medium and one large one, this methodology provides for a wider variety of shooting challenges than are normally seen in the United States. The stages themselves were a solid blend of speed and accuracy with Stages averaging Hit Factors anywhere from 3 to 8 with only a few at 10 or higher.
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“Monument” was a high speed stage that required a fair amount of movement and precise positioning to nail all the targets. Max Michel polished this stage off in 16.59 seconds but dropped thirteen points on the IPSC classic targets... Max finished 29th on this stage which is an indication of the skill level at a World Shoot, small mistakes such as too many dropped points and the effects could be catastrophic. Australian Brodie McIntosh dropped only six points in 14.45 seconds to take the lead and a series of malfunctions pushed Chris Tilley far down the leader board. He immediately swapped out his primary gun for his backup rather than risk further problems on the next stages.
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Stage 9 was the one with the Dinosaur and the Cooper Tunnel, in fact there were two tunnels with a string of wooden slats balanced between two walls. The competitor had to negotiate these tunnels without dislodging any of those slats as each one carried a ten point penalty, many competitors were able to keep their head low enough but then snagged a slat or two with their elbow as they reached for a magazine. Emile Obriot of France took the win here with a flawless sprint through the tunnels and onto the raised platform at the end.
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Shooting at the same time as the Men's Open team, the top Open Women were taking on Stages 13-18 which the men would tackle on their second day. Team USA were joined by the top women from Australia including reigning Champion Karla Blowers, along with the teams from the Czech Republic and the Philippines. Both Australia and Czech Republic had only three women on their teams which left two open spaces on this squad which were taken by Yael Dagan from Israel and Hilde Nakling from Norway. Nakling had the disadvantage of being the only one on her squad that was shooting in Standard Division.

When we caught up with the ladies they were part way through Stage 16 which was a straight up twenty round course with targets hidden behind some walls. A straightforward swinger and a bobbing target were at the end, and they were relatively tame compared to some of the swingers at this match, some of which had no-shoots attached to them. Jessie Duff suffered from a couple of malfunctions on this stage, problems that would plague her throughout the first days of the contest, this pushed her far down the results list and cost her sixty match points in the process, Martina Sera took the honors here before the squad moved over to Stage 17 which had an airboat on it.

The Florida Everglades make up a significant area of Florida and transportation through the slow moving rivers and high grasses are usually accomplished with airboats otherwise known as fan-boats, they are low draught vessels that are powered by an aircraft propeller contained within a metal cage. Stage 17 had a mock up of such a boat that was suspended on chains so that it moved, the competitor had to start seated at the rear of the craft with an unloaded and holstered gun, after the star signal it was necessary to move to the very front of the boat while loading to engage the four partial targets. On camera it did not appear that the boat was moving very much but when on board the effect was more noticeable which meant hitting those partial targets took a lot longer than would be the case on solid ground. Current champion Karla Blowers found the best mix of speed and accuracy to take a win for the Ladies beating out over 300 other Open shooters on this stage, it was a better run for Jessie who topped out Team USA.

Hilde Nakling took a win against the other women in Standard division with a 38th place finish overall on the boat, only dropping two points on those partial classic targets, she beat 310 other competitors on this stage.
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After the short stage with the boat it was onto Stage 18, 'Cigar City' otherwise known as 'DQ Alley'; This was a peculiar stage design, a wall ran the length of the course on the right hand side and another wall facing the competitor at the end (like a big letter 'L') with a port that slammed shut when a beer pump was pulled. It was possible to shoot the final array of targets through the port and then run back to pull the pump to engage the other targets or activate the port and shoot the remaining targets from a prone position.

The gun started empty in the holster with all magazines placed on shelves attached to the wall. For right-handed shooters this meant that they had to reach ahead of the gun for the magazines while keeping the firearm in a safe direction, the beer pump was placed high on a table so shorter competitors had to reach up with their weak hand to pull it, again keeping the gun away from their body. At ten DQ's, this stage had more than any other.

Dropping only four points as she ran down the stage, Athena Lee showed the women how it could be done in less than 20 seconds with some smooth movement and precise accuracy. Lee had to lift her gun hand high in the air when pulling the beer pump to ensure that she was not stopped for an infraction, this was perhaps the only way to activate that pump and be sure of completing the stage. It was a solid performance but it was impossible to determine who was winning as IPSC has never adopted electronic scoring for the World Championship. Results were posted online every evening but there are no analysis tools that can indicate likely winners as many top competitors are spread over different stages and could be shifting the High Hit Factors. Added to this was the problem that the top Men and Women in Open were shooting in different areas each day so the likelihood of those Hit Factors changing for the women's placement was pretty high, this was true in all the divisions and made tracking the top competitors extremely difficult.

As the first morning of the main match came to a close the next batch of competitors had already begun arriving, many had been at the range for much of the morning watching other shooters on the stages they themselves would shoot that afternoon. With only a few short minutes to analyze each stage, it was useful to watch how others were tackling each problem along with the speed of any swingers. The Range Officers were giving varying amounts of time to walk-through each stage depending on its complexity which helped to keep the match on schedule and still provide the competitors a fair chance to determine their strategy.
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In the afternoon session it was time to check up on the Standard Division starting with the Ladies; Randi Rogers won this title at the last World Championship and was among the hot favorites to win this time around, she was joined by Tori Nonaka who won the Silver medal in Greece, along with Carina Randolph and Brooke Sevigny they rounded out a solid team that had the skills to take the individual and team gold. They were joined by the national teams of Austria, Republic of South Africa and Germany.

The squad started their match on perhaps one of the most straight-forward stages, Stage 13. The competitor started standing between two sloping walls with two full targets, two partial targets and two poppers it only required ten rounds. Time could be saved by standing on the narrow wood strips that were part way up the walls, the other option was to lean on each wall, this provided a more stable shooting platform but ate a lot of time moving from one side to another. Most chose to step up onto the raised strips, Nonaka just jumped up onto them but fired four shots at the first target to make sure of her hits and that added a couple of seconds to her time, Randi had some issues hitting the popper on the left and this cost her valuable seconds, it was round one to Nonaka.
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Onwards to Stage 14 which had more of that incredible artwork from the Alexander family, mermaids and bikinis were the theme and the circular stage was punctuated by more bumpy-bits that the competitors had to move over to progress down range. Nonaka shot much of this stage on the move, but required a few extra shots to get her hits. Her team-mate Brooke Sevigny shot the stage more conservatively and was on her way to a solid run until a standing reload at the final position that cost her valuable seconds.

On the next stage, 'Daytona' the fastest thing was the swinger, a wicked setup that consisted of a classic target partially covered by a no-shoot leaving about 3-4 inches of visible scoring area, and it was fast ! Three IPSC poppers, one partial and one full target in addition to that swinger equated to just 45 points. Nonaka quick turned and went one for one on the steel and two shots on the static target, followed by two quick shots on the swinger, followed by four more for good measure. It ate a huge amount of time and all those shots hit the target so it was a lot of wasted time too, although she got some solid hits she was over 3 seconds slower than Randi who polished it off in 11 seconds.

The Standard Women's Super Squad would finish their stage on 'DQ Alley' and unfortunately for Brooke Sevigny it marked the end of her match too as the RO's indicated that she swept herself during the course of fire. This left team USA with only three members, the minimum required for team recognition, it would be up to Carina, Randi and Tori to continue the fight for Gold.
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We caught up with the Men's Standard squad just as they were completing Stage 9. Team USA has dominated this division like no other nation, frequently finishing with the top four places in previous World Shoots. This year America had perhaps its strongest team ever; Nils Jonasson, Dave Sevigny, Bob Vogel and Manny Bragg any one of which could win the gold. Joining them were the Standard Teams of Philippines, Spain and the Czech Republic along with reigning World Champion Blake Miguez. It speaks to the depth of talent that America has in this division that the current World Champion could not qualify for the National Team.

Stage 10 was one of this tricky stages that was shot from a single platform and included three static targets, one popper and two swingers, mercifully these did not have a no-shoot attached, it was possible to shoot the swingers from around once side of the wall but it was a tight lean especially for the middle popper and target which is why a rope was available to facilitate the lean. Some competitors like Dave Sevigny chose to shoot the middle target and popper strong-hand only then return a two handed grip for the swinger and static then switch to the other side to engage the final static and swinger. Bob Vogel and Manny Bragg tried an alternate method, first engaging the static target to the left then moving to the right, grabbing the rope and shooting everything strong hand only. With those swingers that was a risky proposition, Vogel could not pull it off but Manny took a convincing stage win here even though he dropped a few more points then Sevigny he was over 1.5 seconds faster.
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Next stop; 'Tinsel Town' otherwise known as Stage 11 and the sun was starting to become an issue on this west-facing berm, the start position was lying on a bed with the gun and magazines nearby on a shelf, further magazines could be placed on shelves elsewhere on the stage. A couple of partial targets tempted the shooters to try and engage them on the move but the risks were too high especially with the sun starting to drop towards the top of the berm. Two connected swingers were at the end that moved behind a metal no-shoot target and required careful aiming. Alvaro Ferreira from Brazil took a win here with Bob Vogel less than two points behind. With just one speed shoot left for the day the squad was fortunate that it was facing away from the sun.

After just six stages it was becoming clear that the tightest match was going to be in Standard as the times and scores were so close throughout this first day.
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As the second day dawned it was time to visit with the Production Super Squad, as mentioned earlier Eric Grauffel was not shooting with the Super Squad which was made up of the national teams from USA, Slovakia, Spain and the Czech Republic who along with Frank Garcia made up this seventeen person squad. They started the day on Stage 25. Shooting in the early morning the sun was a major issue on both this stage and the following one, all these stages were fanned out at the southern end of the range and the first two stages faced directly east.

Matthew Mink was up first and for him and the next six shooters the sun was just starting to peek above the berm, Ben Stoeger was the last one of the squad to escape the worst of the glare as the next competitor, Eduardo Lober of Spain caught the full brunt of the sunrise. The stage was awkward as it was a weak-hand only affair that started with the gun in a briefcase. Opening that case triggered a fast moving swinger and that along with two static targets and two poppers made up for a forty point opportunity. The big 'gotcha' was the procedural errors, if the competitor retained a grip on the case while shooting it was deemed as a procedural error for every shot fired. Five competitors in Production alone would zero this stage due to this infraction.

Eric Grauffel took the win with a six point margin over Ben Stoeger. Robin Sebo(CZE), JJ Racaza(USA) and Marian Vysny(SVK) were all within 1.5 points. On to Stage 26 and the first ones up here suffered as it was almost impossible to see the swinging target through the gun-smoke and the glare from the sun, videos taken at this time do not fully show just how bright the sun was. The first few shooters on this squad suffered from slow times and bad hits, Ben was one of the first to get a clear view of the targets once the sun had risen a little higher and he was able to beat out the rest of the squad here, but Grauffel who shot it later that day pulled another seven points ahead of Stoeger.
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Ben excelled on Stages 28 and 29, the first of which was the site of several spills. The stage started with an unloaded gun, after engaging the first few targets the competitors had a long sprint from right to left on the large stones that covered the ground, coming to a halt at the end to shoot two popper before moving forward to engage the final targets. The big issue was those stones and the impact they had when the shooter tried to stop suddenly, several didn't and fell while others slid as they raced around the corner to shoot the rest of the stage. Stoeger trumped the competition including Grauffel by over 1.5 seconds. His streak continued to the next stage which was one of those nifty speed shoots in the shape of an 'X'.

With only nine rounds it appeared to be straightforward but a lot of time was spent before the stage started as competitors tried to find the best way to shave fractions of a second engaging the three poppers and three moving targets. Stoeger was ruthlessly efficient dropping only two points in a tad over 7.5 seconds for another stage win. Performances like this were the reason that Ben was able to hold Eric's gains this day to just over three points.

It wasn't all about Grauffel and Stoeger on the second day. JJ Racaza lowered the boom on Stage 30 which featured a couple of ports that had to be opened in order to engage the swingers. Racaza was less than a second faster than Grauffel but with a couple of extra points on the targets pulled nearly nine points away from Eric. What was widely anticipated to be a two-horse race between Stoeger and Grauffel was actually a three-way battle with Racaza.
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In the afternoon it was time to hook up with the US Classic Team. Todd Jarrett and Rob Leatham were joined by Keith Dilworth and Gary Byerly and were squadded with a strong South African team along with the Russian and Swedish national teams, Jojo Vidanes made up the 16th member of the squad. Both Jarrett and Leatham had the perfect plan for the World Shoot which was to shoot their Major Single Stack guns at the USPSA Nationals as a warm up for the international event, but both elected to switch to Minor after walking the stages in Florida.

It was a decision that both would come to regret; Although the extra rounds provided for more options with reload locations, the lower hit factor stages placed a premium on accuracy and the smaller 'A' zone of the IPSC targets penalized peripheral hits from the Minor loads.

The Classic squad would shoot the same stages as the Production teams had shot that morning and they started sitting on a horse, or what passes for a reasonable facsimile in these parts, another speed shoot stage the competitor had to remain standing astride the wooden horse while they engaged the two popper and three moving targets. As with Stage 29, timing was everything, get it right and a good time was possible, but try to go too quick and rush the shots and the wheels (or hooves) came off pretty quick. Edoardo Buticchi of Italy took a convincing win here but Leatham was not far back. Ted Puente recorded one of the fastest times on this stage but too many dropped points pushed him back just ahead of Leatham with Jarrett and Byerly close behind.

That long sprint on Stage 28 beckoned next and the lean frame of Todd Jarrett took the win, it was expected that Leatham would struggle on a stage like this but his bionic knees seem kick in to high gear as he tore across the stage less than a tenth of a second behind his team-mate, and with the same points.
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It was another win for Jarrett on Stage 29, 'X marks the spot' both Leatham and Jarrett had the same plan and Todd's execution of it worked perfectly. Unfortunately Rob went to war on the steel throwing too many shots at one of those activating poppers as he moved down-range; Those extra rounds in the magazine were too much of a temptation, the stray shots led to a standing reload and cost him 15 match points which he clawed back on the very next stage with a flawless run on Stage 30.

The final stage of the day was Stage 26 and both Leatham and Jarrett dropped a bucket-load of points as they moved around the course, it was up to Gary Byerly to get some much needed points for Team USA as this one stage nearly cost the USA the gold medal.

The first Classic World Shoot was a fine match-up, the choice of whether to shoot Major or Minor, eight rounds or ten adds a new dimension to this event. Choose wisely and it can pay dividends, choose poorly and the decision can cost the match, in the end the Minor gun in the hands of one of the best competitive shooters in the world was just enough to take the inaugural Gold for Rob Leatham.

The team race was astonishingly close, with less than three points separating the Philippine team from the Gold medal that was snatched away by Leatham, Jarrett, Byerly and Dilworth. Leatham pipped Edward Rivera (PHI) by a narrow six points to take the individual Gold medal, while Todd Jarrett and Ted Puente took third and fourth respectively.

Wednesday was 'Ladies Day' and opportunity to spend a day with the top women in Production and Standard Divisions, the Russians were always going to be the hot favorite in the women's Production race, they were joined by a strong Italian team along with the Philippines and team USA with Sara Dunivin, Julie Golob, Cindi Thomas and Maggie Reese. The top 15 were joined by Swiss competitor Christine Burkhalter.
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The Ladies started on the scariest stage of the match, the hallowe'en themed Stage 2, 'Trick or Treat' which featured a pumpkin, a haunted house and a platform that triggered the moving targets. The competitor started on this raised platform that was rigged to activate once they stepped off it, the first swinger was on the left of the berm along with a static target and then the competitor engaged another target on the right before tearing into the house and shooting targets through open windows and finishing at the end with a final bobbing target. Maria Gushchina of Russia dominated this stage just as she did on practically every one of the thirty stages and was clearly in a league of her own leaving the rest of the top women to battle it out for the Silver.

Julie was the odd one out of the squad, being the only person shooting a striker-fired gun she was always going to struggle to keep up with the SA/DA guns, and with the tight shots that populated this contest accuracy was the 'word of the week'. Production competitors have to walk that fine line between speed and accuracy like no other division, dropping two points for every 'C' zone hit can rapidly destroy even the fastest run and perish the thought of a 'D' as this is a four point deduction. The trick is to know when to shoot on the move and when to stop, when to increase or slow down the cadence to match the targets. Get it right and its like watching a combination of Swan Lake and the latest Terminator movie, get it wrong, just once and the Gold medal is gone.
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Stage 3 was an opportunity for some precise footwork as the stage required the competitor to start on either side, move forward around a wall and backwards to the opposite side to engage the remaining targets. Under USPSA rules a competitor could just step outside the fault lines and avoid the backwards movement but this is forbidden in IPSC and would earn a procedural error for every shot fired after the infraction, this makes it easier on Course Designers as they can essentially force the competitor to comply with their vision of how the stage can be executed. Maria showed some excellent footwork as she finished eighth, less than 0.09 seconds behind Grauffel, Sara Dunivin led the US charge here but she was still down over 1.5 seconds from the Russian.

Gushchina struggled with one of the long-range plates on the snaking course of fire on Stage 4, with so much movement this was a foot-race with some shooting thrown in, she made up for those issues later by shooting everything else on the move, including another plate. The first part of the stage was more efficient for Christina Burkhalter going one for one on the plates but she then stopped at each position to engage the next group of remaining targets costing her valuable time. 'Move-Aim-Shoot' is faster than 'Stop-Aim-Shoot' and appears to be the secret to Maria's success, she moves wherever it is possible to do so, the shooting seems almost incidental to the process.
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Stage 5 beckoned next and it was time to get dirty ! Most of this challenge had to be shot from beneath a low wall and it was not possible to see all the targets from one place either. The whole stage hinged on how efficiently the competitor could get down to shoot under that wall, get up and then get down again in a different location for the last shot. Ilaria Giunchiglia showed some remarkable flexibility but was just a little out of position at the final shooting position to take 2nd place among the women on perhaps the most awkward stage of the match. Gushchina went down on one knee and although this was made for slower shooting it enabled her to move from one location to the next much more efficiently. Taller shooters such as Cindi Thomas had more difficulty here as she had to lift both feet off the ground while shooting prone to avoid procedural errors for touching the ground outside of the box.

Maria Gushchina of Russia dominated practically every stage she shot, the rest of the women were simply out-gunned at every turn, Christina Burkhalter had some solid performances but she was not in the same class. Gushchina beat Eric Grauffel on two stages at this match...Just let that sink in for a moment.

She finished 25th overall with 83.07% beating her nearest rival, Christine Burkhalter by a whopping 314 points and trampled over the collective egos of the 316 men she beat in this competition.

Julie Golob snagged the Bronze medal, capping an almost storybook return to the sport of Practical Shooting after a two year absence. Golob also led team USA to a Bronze medal behind the Italian team, Russia took the Gold medal convincingly.
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Meanwhile over in the Standard Division, Randi Rogers and Tori Nonaka were locked in a battle for the title; Randi took a win with the briefcase on Stage 23, but Tori pulled it back on the next two stages and then opened up a huge lead on Stage 28 as she ran full-speed across the stage and still came to a smooth stop to engage the two poppers at the end, despite a fumbled reload she was still able take forty points from Rogers. As the match continued Nonaka was able to maintain her lead on Rogers and it looked like USA was once again heading for a Gold and Silver. But the threat to Tori was not just coming from her team-mate..., it was coming from Norway. Hilde Nakling was squadded with the top Ladies Open squad and was shooting in a different area each day, while Nonaka and Rogers were shooting on the next day (Thursday), Nakling was on her break from the match so it was not until the end of Friday that it became evident that Hilde had the lead over Tori, but not by much. It would all come down to the final day of shooting and Hilde maintained her performance to take the Gold from Nonaka by fourteen points, Randi Rogers took the Bronze medal, thirty points behind Tori.

Nonaka, Rogers and Carina Randolph handily won the Gold medal ahead of the teams from the Republic of South Africa and the Philippines.
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In the Ladies Open category Karla Blowers started the penultimate day of shooting with a top five finish on 'Bigfoot' as she began pulling further away from the other competitors as Jessie Duff and Athena began dropping down the leaderboard only Kaci Cochran was left to fight the medal battle. Martina Sera from the Czech Republic was keeping pace with the Australian but only just. Karla suffered from two misses on Stage 4 along with a couple of 'D' hits which could have opened the door for a challenge but no-one was knocking, so her lead kept growing. An eighth place finish for Karla on Stage 11 on the final day and it was all over for Kaci Cochran who had to settle for third place behind Martina Sera who took the Silver.

Kaci, Athena, Jessie and Lisa Munson had a clear hundred point victory over the Australian team who took home the Bronze medal, behind a very strong Czech team that was only seventeen points behind USA's Gold medal team. We can expect that Czech team to be a significant challenge at the next World Championship.

The Championship was coming down to the final session for both the Men's Open, Standard Divisions and Production Divisions. Two solid days of shooting for JJ Racaza was topped off with a win on the first stage of the final day which was Stage 13 with its awkward ramped shooting position. Stoeger bounced back on Stage 14 but by less than a point from Racaza as Grauffel dropped fourteen points back.

Stage 15, 'Daytona' and JJ faltered dropping 22 points but came back for a win on the fan-boat stage. Eric's win on Stage 18 (aka 'DQ Alley') was the final icing on the cake that was Grauffel's sixth World Championship title. Racaza took the silver just thirteen points ahead of team-mate Ben Stoeger. In the team category USA won handily beating the Czech Republic by over 150 points, while France had to settle for Bronze.
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Both the Men's Open and Standard teams had Friday off and both would finish their matches on the same six stages, numbered 1-6. The Open team was up first and by now it was down to five potential winners, Emile Obriot from France, Brodie McIntosh of Australia and US team members, Shane Coley, Max Michel and KC Eusebio. Brodie began the day in the lead by twelve points on Shane Coley but a series of bad stages ruined any chance he had of taking the Gold, McIntosh seemed off the pace throughout the day. The top men were beaten by Junior shooter Kincaid Ross on Stages 1 & 2, but Max Michel was able to take his first of two stage wins on the final day on Stage 3 which also propelled him into second place behind Coley by less than a point.

Stage 4 went to Jorge Ballesteros of Spain but Coley was able to best Michel with a time that was over a second faster on the winding course that increased his lead to eleven points. Max took on Area-51's difficult prone positions nearly 2 seconds faster than Coley to claw back half of that lead leaving only a slim five and a half point difference as they made their way to the final stage of the match, 'Riverboat' on Stage 6.

Stage 6 was tucked away behind some foliage and consisted of a curved shooting area, competitors usually started on the right-hand side of the stage, engaged some targets, poppers and swingers and then had to back up shoot another static target before running around a clump of trees and bushes while staying inside the prescribed shooting area. It was very easy to lose track of the safety angles when negotiating this curved course as once they began to move they lost visibility of the back-stop. Max Michel seemed oblivious to the pressure and scored his final stage win of the match to take the Gold by less than two points over Shane Coley, Brodie McIntosh would finish with the Bronze. The US Open team dominated this contest earning the Gold medal by over 300 points, it was a tighter race for Silver with the Czech Republic pushing team Australia into third.
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The day off was an opportunity for Nils Jonasson to heal up from his fall on Stage 28 the previous day that had required some minor medical attention. Nils had sprinted across the loose gravel on that stage but came to a spectacular stop when his feet slid out underneath the large stone surface leaving a gash on his arm. He was able to complete the course of fire but struggled with his reloads after the spill, causing him to use his backup magazine that was stored in a side pocket of his shorts. There was a lot of speculation after the match that this should have resulted in a bump to Open division but the magazine was in line with the front magazine holder and therefore met the requirements for all magazines to be stored behind the hip-bone.
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The men began their final quest for the title on Stage 1 and would finish on the curving Stage 6. It was probably always going to end up this way. The top three members of team USA were all in the running to win the Gold, Nils was in first place with Bob Vogel and Dave Sevigny within striking distance, with Vogel just seven points back from the 2014 US Nationals champion. Much of that lead evaporated on the first stage called 'Bigfoot' that featured six IPSC targets and an activator pad that started a long-range swinger, Nils suffered from a no-shoot (or Penalty Target) and a miss here that cut his lead down to less than two points, Jonasson did better on Stage 2, 'Trick or Treat' but it was Sevigny that took the stage win and bought him within ten points of Bob Vogel who was now seven points behind Nils.

A no-shoot for Sevigny on Stage 3 cost him dearly as Nils started to pull away from Vogel and another solid run for Nils on the large Stage 4 further increased his lead but Sevigny did even better, overtaking Vogel to move into the Silver medal position with just two stages left. Matt Sweeney took the win on the prone stage while Bob Vogel outperformed Nils and Dave to challenge for second, and as they made their way to Stage 6 Nils had a 22 point cushion ahead of Dave Sevigny with Bob Vogel just two more points behind. As it was with Open so it was with Standard as Nils took the Stage win and the Gold medal, Vogel was able to overtake Sevigny for the Silver by less than half a point.

Over 500 points separated Team USA from Italy and Spain who had to settle for Silver and Bronze respectively.
With so many divisions and categories it was impossible to cover the entire match, it would take four or more reporters to cover and event of this size which is why there is little mention of the other category winners.

Over half a million rounds were fired during this competition by the hundreds of competitors who travelled from all across the globe to participate in the most prestigious match that has ever been held in the United States. The match was exceptionally well run and the organizers are owed a huge 'thank you' for their tireless efforts.

As for the competitors, many of them suffered from the agony of defeat, those missed targets and opportunities, the gun malfunctions, the unforced errors and the lapses of concentration. They will obsess about these things, but they will pick themselves up and begin the preparations for France in 2017, determined to improve and meet their full potential. And for some of our top Junior shooters such as Jacob Hetherington and Kincaid Ross that potential will most likely be on the podium.

For the winners there is the Rush of adrenaline and achievement that comes with that Gold medal, for some it may be the first of many or one of many already won, for others this is their one moment..., their one title that they will never reproduce but that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.