The match itself was full of great stories. In the Production and Metallic divisions, there were seesawing battles between some of the world’s top shooters. No one shooter took an early lead—each champion was decided on the last day. On the final day of the Production competition, the race came down to three shooters who were within 8 points of each other: Rob Leatham and Vance Schmid, both former Bianchi Cup champions; and Enoch Smith, who finished second in Production has been a contender ever since his first Bianchi Cup. Competition started with Vance and Enoch tied at 1,407 points each. Bruce Gray, another past winner, was leading the pack at 1,412 points, but three missed plates cost him his shot at the title. Rob was still in the running at 1,403, but to win he needed a poor performance by Enoch on the Mover event and by Vance on the Falling Plates event. With everything on the line, Rob shot 476 out of 480 possible points on the Moving Target, just 4 points shy of perfect. Enoch stepped up and bettered Rob’s score by 2 with a total of 478 points. Because Enoch’s score was just 2 points shy of a perfect 480, Vance needed to shoot all 48 plates on the Falling Plate event to hold for the win—one dropped plate, and Enoch would be the champion. Vance did not drop a plate. Going 48 for 48 on 8-inch steel plates at 10, 15, 20 and 25 yards is no mean feat. With the pressure on, Vance brought home his first Production championship and his third win at the Cup.
A similar battle took place in the Metallic division. On the last day of shooting, Phil Strader had a one-point lead over Robert Vadasz, who in turn had a one-point lead over Bruce Piatt. Bruce and Robert are both former champions as well. Phil shot the Practical event, where shooters engage static targets all the way back to 50 yards. On Friday, Bruce and Robert finished shooting the Mover, where a single target must be engaged from 10, 15, 20 and 25 yards while the target moves from left to right (and right to left) at 10 feet per second. On the Mover, Robert and Bruce shot 476 points—Robert preserved his one-point lead. On the Practical, all Phil needed to do was shoot a 475 or better, but he had some tough shots and turned in a 469, dropping him below Bruce for a solid third-place finish. Robert Vadasz took another Metallic division win.
The Open division saw another win from Doug Koenig, continuing his division dominance for another year. In the Women’s division, Julie Golob reclaimed the title from last year’s champion, Jessie Harrison-Duff. Most notably, there were hundreds of shooters fighting their own personal battles. Some came out to the match to beat a personal best, while others came for the first time to discover what the Bianchi Cup was all about. And they all shared something in common: that week in Columbia, Missouri and the wins, losses, emotions and friendships. This is what makes Bianchi Cup one of the greatest matches in the world. For more information, please visit nrahq.org/compete/nm_actionshooting.asp or call 703-267-1478.