Daisy hosts BB gun championship

Competitors shoot from the kneeling position in last year's championship. Courtesy Daisy/Susan Johnston

ROGERS, Ark. — For the first time in its 45-year history, the Daisy National BB Gun Championship Match will be held in the hometown of Daisy Outdoor Products.

Forty-three teams representing 18 states will shoot Daisy Model 499 BB guns at 5 meters in four positions (standing, sitting, kneeling and prone) as they compete for this prestigious national title at Rogers High School.

The points event also includes a written safety test for the teams that include five athletes and two alternates,

"We're proud to host this match right here in Daisy's hometown," said Joe Murfin, director of marketing for Daisy Outdoor Products. "Our mayor, city, Chamber of Commerce, Convention and Visitors Bureau and schools have all cooperated to make this event possible. We're looking forward to hosting these teams and their coaches and families at our plant, the Daisy Museum, our hotels and at Rogers High School."

Marshall County's national championship team from 2009 has only one shooter returning to this year's competition."

"To come to the Nationals, a team must have placed in the top three at a sanctioned state match, so there can conceivably be more than three teams from one state," Murfin said.

Teams qualified through National Rifle Association or 4-H state matches and among the top three teams from last year, Penns Valley from Pennsylvania and the Washington JayCees from Missouri will be returning.

"Unlike other sports, other than good coaching, a returning team may not have any advantage," Murfin said. "Each team is five competitors and two alternates, who attend and can shoot in case of an illness. However, if a competitor shoots in the Daisy Nationals, they cannot return and shoot again. If a person is an alternate and does not shoot, they can return and shoot next year, so bringing alternates to the match to gain experience can be a plus if they do not shoot."

The road to the Daisy Nationals starts with a curriculum of shooting and gun safety education used by most civic organizations, which teach marksmanship. Only after the classroom portion of the matches are mastered can a team be taken to the shooting range.

Additionally, teams follow the NRA Rule Book for 5-meter competition, which states that 10 shots are to be taken within time limits at 10 bulls eyes from each of the four positions, but in past events, the written test often determines the winning team, Murfin said.

The teams attending this national match have qualified by placing first, second or third in a sanctioned state match that are competitors ranging in ages 8 to 15.

"Because of the ages of these athletes, parents and siblings will often accompany them to the match, making the trip into a family vacation," Murfin said. "That's why, while we know we have 301 athletes and 86 coaches coming, we expect 1,000 to 1,200 at opening ceremonies and other events throughout the competition."

Keynote speaker at Friday's opening ceremony will be Nancy Johnson, who won the Olympic Gold medal in air gun competition in 2000 representing the United States at the summer games in Sydney, Australia. A graduate of the University of Kentucky, Johnson has competed in Daisy shooting events since 1989 and is a multiple World Cup medalist and an NCAA air rifle champion.

"She knows all about the sport," Murfin said. "When we talked about a speaker for this match, we sought someone whom we felt was a hero of the sport and we had met Nancy just after she won the Olympics."

At closing ceremonies on Sunday evening, awards will be given to individuals and alternates who shoot the highest three scores in each of the positions. There will be certificates for those with a perfect score on the written test and the Paul T. Teifer Award will be given to the team with the highest combined score on the written test.

The Eddie Harper Memorial Award will go to the team whose National score was most improved over their state match score and the two individuals with the highest aggregate scores, as well as the teams and their coaches will also be given medals for their performances.

"The Daisy National BB Gun Championship match is a prime example of Daisy's commitment to introducing more young people to the shooting sports," Murfin said. "We are grateful to hundreds of coaches who share our dedication and give selflessly of their time to these young people.

"For every young person who qualifies for and attends the Daisy Nationals, there are thousands who followed the curriculum, learned valuable safety lessons and were trained in marksmanship skills. We continuously run into adults today who tell us that years ago, they learned valuable lessons on a 5-meter BB gun team that they believe, today, help them in their business and personal relationships."

Participation in the match and activities of the week and weekend are limited to those teams who have already qualified and registered, however, spectators are welcomed, Murfin says.

For more information on the match, check out /www.daisy.com/daisynationals.