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Young marksmen -- and women -- take aim

Alex Green • Jul 8, 2014 at 12:00 PM


Fenway Park is baseball's storied shrine.

Lambeau Field is the sacred place of professional football.

And many claim Camp Perry in Erie Township is the ultimate location nationwide for rifle competitions.

The storied National Matches, which began in 1903, kicked off Monday with its opening ceremony.

More than a month of nonstop action is underway following the ceremony that saw Gary Anderson, one of the sport's all-time legends and two-time Olympic gold medal winner, fire the opening shot.

Anderson is closely linked with the Civilian Marksmanship Program at Camp Perry and the program's indoor firing range is named after him.

There is no shortage of events at Camp Perry following the opening ceremony.

The National Matches Junior Camp is among the festivities.

More than 60 young shooters from across the country are attending the week-long camp run by Hubbard native Russ Evans. One girl even flew in from Germany.

Evans has been running the camp for 27 years and said he gets anxious every year when the matches approach.

"It's an awesome place," he said. "I love to teach young adults to shoot."

Contrary to certain naysayers, Evans says he's not introducing young minds to deadly objects.

Rather, the kids are at the camp on their own free will, and safety is the No. 1 component of the events.

"My goals for the camp are safety, fun, and how well you can shoot, in that order," Evans said. "We have over 60 young adults who know how to safely use a firearm."

Monday was a chance for the teenaged shooters to practice their craft.

Some shooters hardly needed it, bringing back targets that were thoroughly pierced right at the center.

For 16-year-old New Hampshire resident Noah Car, the camp is a one-of-a-kind experience.

"I really like the competition of (rifle)," Car said. "I'm here to improve my shooting."

He picked up the sport about 15 months ago and has been hooked ever since. He will get a chance to display his talents this week during a 3-position competition, one of many to held on the grounds in the coming weeks.

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