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Athlete Feature: Nick Mowrer Prone to Success Luckily the Men’s Prone

Rifl e competition at World Cup USA was April 2. A day earlier on April

Fool’s Day and Nick Mow- rer may have never lived down the jokes. The lanky, mild-mannered guy from a small town in Montana usu- ally doesn’t draw too much attention to himself – he hopes his shooting does the talking. A 2012 Olympian in Men’s Free Pistol, Mow- rer represented the United States on the largest stage possible, but now he’s gar- nering more attention for something none of his U.S. teammates have ever done before. Mowrer, 26, qualifi ed for

the U.S. Prone Rifl e Team to compete at the ISSF World Cup in Fort Benning, Geor- gia, making him the fi rst athlete to compete in two entirely different disciplines on an international level. To top it off, he won a bronze medal doing so. “I think a lot of the com-

munity – not to be hasty or anything – but a lot of them thought it was a joke,” Mow- rer said, matter-of-factly. “Straight up thought - it couldn’t be serious that a pistol shooter made the rifl e team. And I’m sure it would be the other way too – I know it would be the other way if a rifl e shooter made the pistol team or the shot- gun team or any combina- tion thereof. It seems very… odd. People were confront-

ing me to confi rm the story. I think they thought it might have almost been an April Fool’s thing; like it was just a news release to see how everyone would react.” But it was no joke - his

results prove it wasn’t even pure luck. There was no Olympic qualifi cation on the line – Mowrer, a Resident Athlete for pistol just en- tered the U.S. Rifl e Selection Match for the reason he and most shooters get into this sport – Fun. “I’ve been shooting Prone

for quite a while now and learned (Resident Athletes) couldn’t train on the range the week of the rifl e match so I asked if I could shoot rifl e and they said I could if I paid my entry, so I did. Paid my entry fee, shot the match and made the team. And to be perfectly hon- est, making the team in the fi rst place was kind of an accident. There’s a large amount of testing and work that goes into it. In Prone, the easiest part of it is your

58 USA Shooting News | Year in Review 2014

position. The hardest part is getting your ammo to work with the gun, fi nding a bar- rel that shoots consistently all the time, and everything that goes into that. To throw some stuff together random- ly and lay down on the fi ring line and make the team is honestly, pretty much an ac- cident…but it worked out. So after I made the team, it was like ‘Okay, I can’t really rely on luck anymore. I need to actually lie down and fi gure some stuff out so I don’t em- barrass myself going to the next match.’” Mowrer fi nished in third

place behind Olympians Mi- chael McPhail and Eric Up- tagrafft to secure the fi nal spot on the U.S. Prone team. Just a week later, Mowrer left to compete in Air Pis- tol at the Bavarian Airgun Championships and found he had to confi rm his Prone Rifl e Team status to curi- ous international competi- tors. Even when he returned home to the U.S., the ques- tions continued.

“At that point people were

like ‘Oh, he got lucky’ and that’s a natural reaction for people in general to justify it. When I actually accepted the spot on the team, people were kind of up in arms – ‘Are you going to actually ac- cept the spot? You just shot the match for fun, but now you actually made the team. Are you going to pursue that or you just messing with us and sticking with pistol?’ My thought process for accept- ing the spot on the team was that it was experience. The World Cup is just anoth- er opportunity to compete against the best shooters in the world – why does it mat- ter if it’s rifl e, pistol, shotgun, underwater basket weaving – it doesn’t matter. You’re still competing with the best in that fi eld and I wanted the experience no matter what.”

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