Wednesday, August 20, 2008

2008 World Speed Steel Championships

PIRU, Calif. - Spc. KC Eusebio of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) is once again the world's fastest gun as he won the Steel Challenge World Speed Shooting Championships in a new record time of 79.16 seconds. It is the second time Eusebio, who hails from Diamond Bar, California, has won the coveted title and the third time it has gone to a USAMU shooter in the last four years.

Eusebio topped a field the world's best shooters including second place finisher BJ Norris, who also took second in 2007, third place shooter and 2006 champion JJ Racaza, fellow USAMU shooter and the defending world champion SSG. Max Michel who placed fourth. Revolver legend Jerry Miculek finished fifth overall.

"KC is recognized as one of the fastest shooters in the world and anytime he steps foot on a speed shooting range he's immediately among those favored to win. His record setting performance this year has set the bar incredibly high and the shooting world eagerly awaits next year's match when KC will defend his title," said Dave Thomas, Executive Director of the Steel Challenge Shooting Association.

Only two new world records were set by the top shooters. Max Michel set a new world record on the stage Pendulum shooting a 10.07 to crush the previous record of 10.72 previously held by Jerry Miculek. BJ Norris also set a world record by beating Max Michel's time of 10.06 on the stage Speed Option by shooting a 9.81. Both Michel and Norris each hold three of the eight world records.

Among the women shooters Kay Clark-Miculek claimed an amazing seventh World Speed Shooting Championship having won the title in 2006-2004, 2001, 2000 and 1997. She also holds all the current world records for the eight stages in the Steel Challenge.

"Kay is simply the best female shooter in the world with an uncanny ability to win again and again. No other shooter, male or female, has so completely dominated the Steel Challenge like Kay has and there's no reason to believe we won't see Kay's name atop the leader board in the future," said Thomas.

Also competing in the Open Division were Jim Duncan of Hemet, Ichiro Nagata of Le Grand and Deleana Saylor of Crescent City, California and Ryan Leonard of Canby, Oregon. Leonard led the group taking the title as Overall Junior by a margin of 1.43 seconds in a time of 96.14 that was good enough for 21st overall. Nagata shot a time of 113.96 to take the Distinguished Senior title. Duncan's 120.53 won him the title as Overall Senior by just 1.05 seconds. And the 12 year-old Saylor took the title as top Pre-Teen.

In the Limited match, Owasso, Oklahoma resident Phil Strader of the U.S. Shooting Academy posted the fastest time and edged out second place finisher JJ Racaza by just 0.91 of a second. Strader's time of 92.58 was good enough for 10th place overall.

Strader also won the Iron Sighted Rimfire Pistol match in a time of 85.51 beating out Seiichi Ishikawa.

Team Glock's Dave Sevigny of Mableton, Georgia won the Open Rimfire Pistol match with a time of 69.26 edging out BJ Norris by just 0.54 of a second. Sevigny also placed fourth in the Limited match and seventh overall shooting his Open Glock pistol.

There was little surprise in the revolver division as Team Smith & Wesson shooters locked up the titles. In the Optical Sighted Revolver division the title went to Jerry Miculek. His time of 89.57, which placed Miculek fifth overall, was more than 17 seconds faster than his closest competitor, Mark Itzstein of Little Elm, Texas. Miculek also took top honors in the Rimfire Rifle match again beating Itzstein but this time by a smaller margin of 2.22 seconds.

Team Smith & Wesson's other wheelgunner, David Olhasso of Holland, Pennsylvania, outshot John Bagakis of Livermore, California by 5.42 seconds in the Iron Sighted Revolver match to claim the title.

Ohlasso switched guns, going with a Smith & Wesson semi-automatic M&P pistol to help him take the Stock Service Pistol title. Olhasso beat out Seiichi Ishikawa for the title shooting a time of 119.68 which was just 1.85 seconds faster than Ishikawa's 121.53.

In the Enhanced Service Pistol match, Taran Butler of Simi Valley, California claimed the title of fastest gun by shooting a time of 119.63 to beat out Mark Hobbs of Coarsegold, California by nearly 10 seconds. Butler's time also won him the SureFire X300 Lightning Challenge which required shooters to attach an X300 to their pistol and compete with it throughout the entire match.

In the Custom Defensive Pistol match JT Tedder of Moorpark, California beat fellow Golden State shooter Jeff Ryan of Redondo Beach by 14.69 seconds with a time of 137.38 to win the match.

Rounding out the handgun competition, Clyde Harrison shot a time of 168.23 seconds beating Frank D'Amato of Mesa, Arizona in the Single Action Revolver match.

In the Shotgun match it was Butler again beating Hobbs to walk away with the title, but this time by just 2.1 seconds. In the match that was sponsored by Vang Comp Systems, competitors shot two stages of knock down popper style targets using a Vang Comp full house pump shotgun.

The Steel Challenge World Speed Shooting Championship is the crown jewel competition in the sport of Speed Shooting which is governed by the Steel Challenge Shooting Association (SCSA). Both professional and amateur shooters competed for their share of over $350,000 in cash and prizes. More than 200 competitors from 19 states and 4 foreign countries faced off against the clock and eight stages of fire in the three-day event held outside Los Angeles.


You may have noticed that the accomplishments of Ryan Leonard have been slightly emphasized.

(Photo courtesy of Mr Completely. Click on photo for full-size view.)

That may be due to the fact that Ryan is something of a Local Hero here in the Columbia Cascade Section of Oregon. Ryan, son of Nick Leonard (who has almost single-handedly managed to keep Speed Steel competition alive in NW Oregon), has been shooting competitively since he was 10 years old. I think it took him 3 years to beat me consistently in USPSA competition, and I have seen nothing but the backside of the lad for the last 3 years in both USPSA and Speed Steel.

Is Ryan another KC? Hard to tell, they started out at about the same age.

Ryan has already learned everything his father had to teach him, and is very much like Nick at matches; they exhibit the same speed, same personality, and the same drive go fast and win.

But Ryan started out very young, and has so far benefited from the coaching of an experienced shooter.

It may be time to find him a professional coach, if he is to remain competitive at a world-class level when he leaves Junior Competition.

NOTE and disclaimer: This article is based on an email sent to me as a subscriber to The Shooting Wire. I have quoted from the original Shooting Wire article extensively because it is representative of the kind of coverage of competition shooting news which is often not available from any other source. Shooting Wire Editor Jim Shepherd is aware that from time to time I draw heavily upon material from this source, and since he has not yet objected I will continue from time to time to credit him and The Shooting Wire with wonderfully informative articles. I strongly encourage you, if you find this article interesting, to subscribe to the service. (Subscribe here, please.)
All images from The Shooting Wire, except where other attribution has been specified.

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