This past weekend proved to be one of the most momentous times for the Lake Country Action Shooters (LCAS) team, one of the many teams participating in the National Scholastic Pistol Program (SPP) in the nation. The SPP is part of the Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation (SSSF).
Lake Country Action Shooters are one of the smallest teams in the SPP program. The SPP gathers numerous teams throughout the country. “With our extremely small budget, coaches and shooters need to be creative and resourceful”, explains Chris Lamm, one of the team assistant coaches. “We are all volunteers and have limited ways of raising money for the team. The coaches plan every detail carefully, and we design and manufacture most of our own practice equipment. We are extremely organized in how we run practices because we don’t have many luxuries. We just find a way to do it.” The team focuses on introducing new students to the sport of competition shooting. The majority of the team only has about 2 years of shooting experience, which makes its success even more impressive.
LCAS have achieved impressive results in its three-year history with the SPP at the National level. This year the nine members of the LCAS team received awards in the Junior Centerfire (team gold), the Senior Centerfire (team silver), the individual junior male centerfire gold, silver and bronze, and the individual junior female centerfire gold! The team’s achievements also include a new Junior National record of 188.59 seconds, shattering the previous record of 210 seconds established in 2014.
This year, SPP also implemented a new rimfire rifle competition. At the end of the new courses, the Lake Country Action Shooters found 4 of its members in the top 10 shooters, including third place finishes in both the student and coach’s categories. A rifle was won by the student and the coach brought home some endowment money to help pay for future costs of running the team.
Many of the SPP teams practice year around. This is not the case for the LCAS. The team struggles to find local range time. Head Coach Dave Richman, a competitive shooter himself, explains: “There are very few shooting ranges in our county with facilities that enable action shooting as practiced by SPP.”
So how does the team practice for the SPP championship? Again, Dave Richman explains: “We focus our practices on specific skills, not the courses of fire. We compete in multiple competitions that have a similar style of stages, such as steel matches. We put heavy emphasis on dry firing at home.”
Dan Matson, assistant coach for Lake Country Action Shooters, adds: “With Coach Richman’s years of competition shooting experience, he can observe a shooter and pick up little things that most people wouldn’t see. This allows him to make changes on the fly in how we coach that student. This has been invaluable to our shooters success.”
Michel Thouati, father of the lead off shooter for the junior team says, “ Coach Richman’s philosophy is that shooting fundamentals, such as trigger control and sight picture, are what makes a shooter successful. His intense focus on the fundamentals is relentless. But, beyond this focus our shooters follow truly unique training practices, all introduced by Coach Richman. No other team follows these training techniques.”
The hard work and dedication by the coaches and athletes has allowed the Lake Country Action Shooters to be very successful, having earned two team gold medals, and two team silver medals in the last three National Championships. This year, however, despite the increased number of competitors and the constantly improving times of the competitors, Lake Country Action Shooters’ success was even more rewarding . Individually our athletes also won two individual golds, one individual silver and one individual bronze – plus the National Junior Centerfire team record.
The goal of the SCTP and SPP is to promote safe gun handling skills and promote interest in the shooting sports. Participants are middle school, high school and college students. Our team motto “Go 5●4●5” is what we try to achieve on each run (five shots for five targets) with the greatest amount of speed coupled with accuracy that an athlete can perform. The SPP pistol stages consist of four individual courses of fire. Each participant shoots a course five times, with the slowest time thrown out. The remaining four times are added together for a total time on that stage. This is repeated for each of the four stages.
Lake Country Action Shooters, based in Hartland, WI, would also like to thank:
- The National SPP director and manager Scott Moore and Tammy Mowry
- State SPP coordinator Rick Leach (head coach for the Ozaukee SPP team)
- Head Coach Ed Ide (of the Wilmot SPP team) with sharing range time. Both of these head coaches also had impressive achievements at this years National Competition.
- Stone Bank Sportsmen’s Club and Board for utilizing their club
- WCTC Brian Dorow and Mike Neuens for classroom training time and facility use.