Straight ShootersThursday, May 20, 2010 By Michael Dalton
The Rifle Team by Michael Dalton On April 16 through 18, the WHS Rifle Team participated in the Arizona state Midrange Championships. The team, coached by the ineffable and effervescent Rex Powers, set several school and state records. The team of Michael Dalton, Victoria Gray, William Burg and Travis Burian recorded the highest team score for junior shooters in the nation !!! The other four records were all set by sharp-shooter Travis Burian. Five state records were set by the team consisting of Jordan Busone, Victoria Gray, Michael Dalton, William Burg, Dylan Evans and Travis Burian. In addition to Ariz. state championships, the junior team will be going once again to the national championships held at Camp Perry, Ohio. They will be leaving on July 27 and be gone for over a week. Although it is not yet final who will be attending, but the members who have committed to this challenge so far are Travis Burian, Michael Dalton, Victoria Gray, William Burg, Jordan Busone and Steven Swayzee. The trip will be funded primarily from donations given by the kind and considerate people of the Wickenburg area. The rifle team will be practicing all summer long for Camp Perry, a National Guard post on the shores of Lake Erie. This National Trophy Team Match—more affectionately known as the Rattle Battle—brings in the top civilian and military shooters in the world together every year. Some refer to this event as the World Series of competitive shooting. Imagine the scenario, as described by The Union Democrat newspaper, of Sonora, CA. Six-person teams line up — eight at a time — along a quarter-mile firing line, starting at 600 yards. The targets are of the military variety, human upper-body silhouettes, rather than the usual bull’s eyes. At the command to begin, all the shooters start firing as fast as they can, sending as many rounds downrange as possible in 50 seconds. Shooters then hustle up to 500 yards and do it all over again, laying down a barrage aimed at slightly smaller silhouettes. Next, it’s 300 yards and even smaller targets. When it’s over — and it’s over fast — whichever teams hits the most targets the most often, wins. You can almost smell the gun powder. Practice for the WHS rifle team generally takes place at the Ben Avery shooting facility located off route 74 near I-17 in Phoenix. This year’s WHS team is quite a bit larger than last year’s, in spite of the fact that Coach Powers has retired as a WHS teacher. Powers has been the coach for more than 16 years, and often finances much of the team’s expenses from his own (dwindling) monies. Since the team is no longer recognized as an official “club” at the WUSD level, Powers receives no stipend for his time, effort and considerable expertise. No rifle team has ever won a national championship more than once—except the Wickenburg High School team, which has won the championship an astonishing 16 times!!