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The Bell City Rifle Club, Inc.



BellCity has had much to be proud of with regard to its Junior program over the years.  A large number of these youngsters have excelled locally, statewide and nationally in both smallbore and high power rifle disciplines.   Now, an International Championship can be added to the long list of accomplishments for the talented young shooters who have been associated with BellCity.


Steven Joyce, Jeffrey Mendyka and Amanda Elsenboss are members of the ten person USA Under 21 Team that won the Canadian National Fullbore Under 21 Championship, and then went on to dominate the World Long Range Championship for the Under 21 Teams. 


These three shooters are well known in high power shooting circles since they have been winning individual honors and team awards for National Match Course shooting competitions for several years.  Last summer at Camp Perry Steve, Jeff and Amanda tried out for, and made, the USA “Young Eagle” squad from which the Under 21 and Under 25 teams would be selected to compete in the World Long Range Championships held in August at the ConnaughtRanges near Ottawa, Canada.

Long Range shooting at the World Championship level has some pretty specific rules, but generally involves firing a 155 grain bullet from a .308 caliber rifle at a 44” aiming black (the 10 ring being 20” in diameter) from 800, 900 and 1000 yards in the prone position.  And… telescopic sights are NOT permitted.  44” aiming black at 1000 yards with no scope!  No wonder they call them the Young Eagles (Eyes). 


Although they had no opportunity to shoot together in the intervening year, these “Young Eagles” from all over the US brought their individual personalities and talents together in Canada to form a cohesive unit - a TEAM.  Jeff Mendyka, who is generally on the reserved side, used his National Guard training experience to move confidently into captaining the Under 21 Team.  They started the Canadian National Fullbore Championships as individual competitors - uncertain of their futures, buffeted by unfamiliar strong winds, subjected to unfamiliar firing procedures and target, not knowing team mates and most other shooters, and, oddly, missing pit detail.  While not as moved by the pomp and ceremony that accompanies these competitions as their elders, they gamely stepped up when Tom Whitaker of the US won the Governor's General Trophy, hoisting the chair in which Tom was seated into the air and marching him to the award ceremony. 


They began to feel their own strength in the Canadian National Fullbore Championship Team Matches, where they won the Long Range Match in the Under 21 category.  And when the World Long Range Championship competition began on Sunday, August 26 these kids knew the range, the routine and their own capabilities -- and they used it all to good advantage, handily outscoring the Canadian Under 21 Team (second) by 22 points, and the British Athelings (third).   Somehow, the pomp and ceremony didn't seem quite as onerous when they were called to the front to receive their gold medals as World Long Range Under 21 Team Champions. 


The next World Long Range Championship is to be held in 2011 in Brisbane, Australia.  Steven and Jeffrey already have military commitments, but have expressed interest in participating if possible.  It seems likely they will again bring honors back to the US, not only in terms of Gold Medal awards, but also in the way in which they conduct themselves.  We should all be proud of these Young Eagles from BellCity.

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