Weyburn target shooter attends world-level competition

Weyburn target shooter Jeremy Murray felt a bit alone at an international shooting competition, as he was only one of two Canadians to compete, but it was an invaluable learning experience that will help him in the future.

Murray attended the IDPA World Championship held at CMP Civilian Markmanship Park in Talladega, Alabama, on Oct. 23-24, where 411 shooters from 24 countries converged to shoot in various categories.

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He participated in the service pistol category, and placed in 72nd place out of 110 shooters. Overall, Murray was ranked as 242nd out of 411 competitors.

The level of competition was quite high, Murray found, particularly when he went up against shooters who were professionals, whose full-time job was target shooting for gun manufacturers.

Murray also found that the level of support was not exactly equal, as he had absolutely no government support at all in representing Canada. In his squad of competitors, one group were six shooters from Slovenia who were government-sponsored.

“They were good shooters. They weren’t great, but were pretty good shooters. The government funded their trip, provided a handler and a media person,” he said. “I was one of two Canadians who were there, and the other Canadian is actually an American.”

He said his friends and family in the community supported him, “but there were zero dollars from Sask Sport or any government support. It’s pretty disheartening. This is a very big competition that is only held once every four years.”

Murray found the facilities in Talladega were “overwhelming” when he first got there, as it’s a $20 million facility that is state-of-the-art and is federally funded.

“I’ve never seen anything like that, it was very incredible,” said Murray. “The competition was absolutely a top-tier competition, and I tried to shoot up to their level. It was definitely overwhelming.”

On his first day, Murray found himself caught up in a cycle where a competitor would shoot a target faster, and all the other shooters following would try to match or exceed those results, and this wasn’t helpful to his style.

“I didn’t shoot as well as I could’ve on the first day,” he said, adding he then talked to a mentor who gave him some sound advice, telling him to focus on his own shooting style and timing, and not to worry about anyone else’s.

“The second day I shot way better. I didn’t follow after others, but show my own stages and executed my own plan,” said Murray, noting there were 16 stages to go through, with time and accuracy the important scoring points.

The result was, the first six stages he didn’t do well in, the next six he shot to his ability, and four he exceeded his ability or personal best in.

Murray hopes that he can attend the World Championships again, because he will have a much better approach and will place much higher than he did this time.

He also hopes Canada can be better represented at a future meet, noting teams like China and the United States had huge teams. China had three squads of 12 shooters each, all state funded, and well over half of the competitors were from the U.S.

A team that surprised him with how well they performed was a four-person squad from Thailand. “They cleaned up in their categories. I never would’ve thought that,” said Murray.

“It was absolutely worth the experience, just to make contact with other shooters and to let them know Canada is there. It was disheartening not to have more Canadians down there,” said Murray. “It was a great experience to represent my country. I learned so much, and it will help me going forward.”

He will be attending competitions coming up at Macoun, and in the U.S. at Plentywood, Mont., and Minot, N.D., in the coming months.