Met with a week of fluctuating climate conditions, the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) hosted the 2021 Talladega Spring Classic, March 16-21, at the CMP Talladega Marksmanship Park in Alabama. Over 400 rifle and pistol entries flowed throughout the 500-acres of the facility, logging a successful turnout to launch the CMP’s spring schedule.
The shifting outdoor atmosphere kept guests on their toes, with temperatures dropping to the point of chilling frost on some mornings then warming into the 60’s later on. Luckily, the unpredictable elements didn’t keep visitors from getting back to CMP’s full lineup of matches – a mix of longtime favorites along with fresh events to challenge both experienced and beginning marksmen.
“All in all, it was a very good event,” said Steve Cooper, CMP’s education and training manager. “The matches ran really well. The CMP Talladega staff did a great job of keeping things maintained all week.”
New competitive matches held at the Talladega Spring Classic included the Pistol 2700, Mid-Range 3×600 Rifle and Benchrest Garand matches. Another exciting first-time addition for the CMP, never before fired at any other event, was the Pistol Marksmanship 101 class. Designed after the National Matches Pistol Small Arms Firing School at Camp Perry, the informative clinic was led by Cooper and CMP pistol coordinator, Jim Henderson. The two also conducted the Range Officer Level II class for rifle and pistol.
“Hendo (Henderson) is a natural instructor,” Cooper said. “It was a real treat for the class to have him share his experiences and knowledge of the sport. He will continue on with us and will instruct with us again at the Eastern Games (April 23-May 2 in North Carolina).”
The Pistol 101 course was vulnerable to the looming severe thunderstorms moving into the area, but with veteran trainers guiding the curriculum, a hustled classroom portion allowed participants to fully absorb the valuable fundamentals while still taking advantage of the accompanying range segment outdoors.
The popular Rifle Marksmanship 101 course also witnessed a rain-filled day, but the protective covering of the impressive 600-yard electronic John C. Garand Range kept participants dry and able to complete the class, without issue. The rifle course was led by the talented collective of CMP’s Highpower Team members Sara Rozanski, Danny Arnold, Bob Gill, Nick Till and Ryan Vander Poppen.
Other established CMP events, like the Rimfire Sporter Rifle, .22 Rimfire Pistol, Service Pistol and GSMM (Garand/Springfield/Vintage and Modern Military) Rifle matches brought notable scores from athletes making their marks on the range.
Here are some of the top scores fired during the 2021 Talladega Spring Classic:
M16 EIC Rifle:
Overall Winner: Michael Judd, 57, of Crestview, Florida – 385-10x
High EIC Competitor: Terry Mueller, 62, of Spencer, Wisconsin – 374-7x
M9 EIC Pistol:
Overall Winner: Arthur Rubin, 61, of Lincolnwood, Illinois – 249-1x
High EIC Competitor: Michael Cameron, 65, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana – 244-1x
Overall Service Rifle Winner: Larry Stonecipher, 68, of Ada, Oklahoma – 595-23x
Overall Match Rifle Winner: Robert Gill, 61, of Visalia, California – 594-29x
.22 Rimfire Pistol EIC:
Overall Winner: Benjamin Valdez, 59, of Knoxville, Tennessee – 271-3x
CMP EIC Service Pistol:
Overall: CPT Cliffton Allen, 34, of New Port Center, Vermont – 279-7x
Service Rifle EIC:
Service Rifle: Nick Till, 47, of Howell, Michigan – 493-19x
Rifle 800 Aggregate Day 1: Keith Schachle, 62, of Brooks, Georgia – 788-30x
Rifle 800 Aggregate Day 2, 3: Nick Till, 47, of Howell, Michigan – 791-26x, 787-28x
Rifle 2400 Aggregate:
Service Rifle: Nick Till, 47, of Howell, Michigan – 2362-80x
Overall Winner: Steven Dekich, 63, of Auburn, Alabama – 294-2x
Overall: Nick Till, 47, of Howell, Michigan – 287-4x
High Senior: Geoffrey Bateman, 60, of Powder Springs, Georgia – 286-10x
Overall: Michael Judd, 57, of Crestview, Florida – 287-3x
High Senior: Ken Lore, 64, of Hickory, North Carolina – 274-2x
Overall Winner: Geoffrey Bateman, 60, of Powder Springs, Georgia – 280-9x
Modern Military Match:
Overall: Keith Schachle, 62, of Brooks, Georgia – 296-12x
Unlimited Modern Military Match:
Overall: Rachel Miller-Lansdown, 56, of Jenks, Oklahoma – 290-7x
Rimfire Sporter Benchrest:
O-Class: Jimmy Hamilton, 65, of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma – 393-13x
T-Class: Samuel Payne, 21, of Kingston, Georgia – 398-21x
Rimfire Sporter Match:
T-Class Overall: Samuel Payne, 21, of Kingston, Georgia – 595-24x
T-Class High Junior: Cole Cook, 18, of White, Georgia – 589-27x
T-Class High Woman: Jennifer Brinton, 17, of Newman, Georgia – 587-21x
For a complete list of results of the Talladega Spring Classic, visit https://ct.thecmp.org/2021SpringClassicResults. Photos of the event can be found on the CMP’s Zenfolio page at https://cmp1.zenfolio.com/f639030871.
The next travel event is the Eastern CMP Games and CMP Highpower Rifle Matches – April 23 through May 2, 2021, at Camp Butner, North Carolina. To register or to view the entire match lineup, visit the CMP website at https://thecmp.org/cmp-matches/eastern-cmp-games-cmp-hp-rifle-matches/.
About Talladega Marksmanship Park:
The CMP Talladega Marksmanship Park, “the Home of Marksmanship,” is a safe and fun destination for marksmen and those aspiring to be marksmen – featuring CMP electronic targets and scoring monitors that can only be found at the 500-acre facility. The Park, which contains an Unknown Distance Range, 600-yard highpower range, action pistol bays and shotgun fields among several other opportunities, is open to the public every week and regularly hosts events all year long.
Off of the firing line, the Club House holds a fully-stocked Pro Shop that includes a collection of rifles, ammunition, marksmanship accessories and CMP memorabilia.
For more information on the CMP’s Talladega Marksmanship Park, visit the CMP website at https://thecmp.org/ranges/talladega-marksmanship-park/.
--By Ashley Brugnone, CMP Staff Writer
The Civilian Marksmanship Program is a federally chartered 501 (c) (3) non-profit corporation. It is dedicated to firearm safety and marksmanship training and to the promotion of marksmanship competition for citizens of the United States. For more information about the CMP and its programs, log onto www.TheCMP.org.