RBC I Competitive shooters from across the country and around the world will make their way to the new Cameo Shooting and Education Complex when the United States Practical Shooting Association hosts its ESP-Bighorn Classic Sectional Championship July 19-21.
The world-class range just outside Grand Junction is shaping up to become the most comprehensive firearms facility in the world, and is estimated to boost the local economy with an additional 50,000 annual visitors to the Grand Valley.
“When this $30 million Colorado Parks and Wildlife range is completed over a 10-year build-out, it will attract shooters from all disciplines as well as law enforcement and anti-terrorist training programs,” said CPW CSEC Manager Walt Proulx. “Everything is state-of-the-art. The dedicated enterprise Wi-Fi network is the first of its kind.”
The system allows for electronic scoring, where competitors get their scores emailed to them the moment they’ve finished each stage, with final match results posted and distributed instantly. Future capabilities will include live-streaming, High-Definition visual drone feeds, and provision for as many as 300 users at a time on the 10GB fiber-optic network.
Everything is going high-tech in the shooting sports, even the event sponsors. ESP-Bighorn Classic Match Sponsor, Electronic Shooter Protection of Brighton, Colo., makes an in-ear, custom-fit, digital hearing protection product that blocks out harmful sound volume, yet lets the shooter hear normal noise and conversations.
“With the increasing popularity of all shooting sports, the camaraderie has become more important,” said ESP owner Jack Homa. “In a social setting like a USPSA match, it’s more fun to hear what’s going on around you, and many people feel they can shoot better when they hear better.”
Other sponsors include: Longmont-based Henning Group, manufacturer of custom firearms parts and aftermarket accessories; and Tactical Performance Center, a firearms training facility in Hurricane, Utah.
Gun ownership in general, concealed carry permits and participation in the “action shooting” sports like USPSA that simulate the practical use of firearms are increasing dramatically.
“There is no better way to be proficient, intimately familiar and second-nature safe with your handgun than to become involved in this kind of shoot-on-the-move competition,” said Paul DiMarchi, Match Director with the Action Pistol Group of Grand Junction, host club for the ESP-Bighorn Classic that is expected to draw 200 competitors.
The Club is dedicated to putting Western Colorado on the map for national competitions that traditionally take place on the coasts and near large populations centers.
“With this superlative facility, Colorado is serious about becoming the shooting Mecca of the world,” said Sean Utley, nationally known firearms writer and photographer based in Surprise, Ariz., who wrote about the CSEC inauguration last year for Guns & Ammo Magazine. “It’s a center for all disciplines of shooting, hunting, archery and education with the goal of capturing and retaining new shooters, and opening accessibility to far more people.”
The 1,800-acre CSEC is the brainchild of Colorado Parks and Wildlife Regional Manager J.T. Romatzke. Six years ago, he saw the need to increase public participation in the shooting sports with a world-class shooting and education complex in the up-and-coming destination of Western Colorado.
The Grand Junction area is a fast-growing transportation, agriculture and energy hub, with a burgeoning tourism market developing around vineyards, river-sports, mountain biking, hunting, fishing, off-road adventuring and now recreational and competitive shooting.
For more information about CSEC visit the CPW website or go to cpw.state.co.us/cameo.
Go here to learn more about participating in the ESP-Bighorn Classic Match, or go to www.actionpistolgroup.com/uspsa_section.html.