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s PPP Championships


PPP National Championships Bring Pistol Youth Together


In the end it cost National


Assistant Pistol Coach Russ Doucette (pictured) a pony- tail, but the expression and emotion he displayed on the medal stand says it was all worth it. Similar emotion can be


extracted from organizers and competitors following year two of the dual-venue National Progressive-Posi- tion (PPP) National Cham- pionships that seems to be working. This year’s champi- onship brought a record 132 competitors to one of two regional venues, USA Shoot- ing’s International Shooting Center in Colorado Springs or the U.S. Army Marksman- ship Unit (USAMU) in Fort Benning, Georgia. Doucette’s Massachu-


setts Junior Pistol Team of Isabel Macaulay (Concord), Vladlen Vronsky (Brighton) and Kevin Bennett (Bel- mont) scored a pistol team national title in the Interna- tional Standing event, forc- ing Doucette to make good on a bet he made 15 years ago when he decided to start growing a ponytail and said he wouldn’t cut it off until his team had a National Cham- pionship. Macaulay cut the ponytail off for all to see as the team stood atop the po- dium in Colorado Springs. It was an emotional moment for Doucette. “Many years ago I grew a tail because of an event


which is a story for another time,” Doucette said. “When I was coaching the kids they would ask me about my tail and l I told them it was there until a team from Massachu- setts wins a gold medal at a National event and when that happens they will have the right to cut it off. That story got passed on year-to- year from shooter to shooter. I never anticipated that they would really cut my tail off if they won the gold medal but guess what, I was wrong. When these kids realized that they probably had won gold they started search- ing for a knife and I started to worry. A tear came to my eye because of my loss, or, was it because of their win? I’m still trying to fi gure that out. I was overwhelmed with pride, happiness, joy and I guess a little sadness. And so it goes (no pun intended) the tale of the tail.” It’s that type of spirit that


makes the PPP National Championships so critical to the long-term growth of international pistol shooting in the United States. Youth involvement in the pistol dis- cipline is a primary goal of USA Shooting to help create greater participation within the sport and to ultimately increase the quality and depth of our future Olympic pistol athletes. Intended to introduce young athletes to competi-


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tive pistol target shooting, the Progressive-Position Pistol Program provides competitive experience and creates an opportunity for youth to begin at an earlier age. As there is no minimum age limit, how early a youth begins depends on their ability to hold and shoot an air pistol as determined by an experienced pistol coach. The two-site system was put in place in hopes of helping drive registration numbers and make event travel eas- ier and more attainable for kids and families participat- ing.


“This is the fi rst National


level match experience for many shooters and we do our best to make it a good one,” said Eric Pueppke, As- sistant National Team Coach for Pistol and Match Director for the Fort Benning event. “Several of our current Na- tional Team members have told me that there was a point in time that some- thing or someone inspired


them, and at that moment they realized that they could take their shooting career all the way. What better place than PPP Nationals to ex- perience that inspirational moment? Running a world class match at a grassroots level was my goal this year, and I think we did just that. There’s something inspiring about winning a medal and the team jacket, and hav- ing an Olympic shooter, an Assistant National Coach, as well as the Commander of the AMU award you that medal or coat.” For more information on


the 2015 event, please visit http://bit.ly/12HMs2f.


event, scan this QR code with a smartphone.


For results from this


Year in Review 2014 | USA Shooting News


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