Dragoon on mark at provincials
Marksmanship has been a part of soldiering ever since the musket became the primary weapon on the battlefield, and competitions have existed almost as long.
The Okanagan Valley’s own Army Reserve unit, the British Columbia Dragoons, recently sent two of its best shooters to the British Columbia Rifle Association (BCRA) Service Rifle Provincial Championship.
Those shooters were Master Corporal Graeme Barber from Vernon and Corporal Sean Sil of Kelowna.
Their experience levels differed greatly; Sil had participated and shot well at the 2011 competition, and had been offered a tryout position for CFSAC (Canadian Forces Small Arms Competition).
Barber, a veteran of overseas operations, had little experience in the world of competitive shooting, apart from the brief practice the previous week. This would be the second time the BC Dragoons would participate in the competition, and the challenge was on when they arrived into the largest competition the range had seen for years.
Only slightly more than half of the 90 competitors were active members of the military. RCMP, Vancouver Police Department (VPD), Army Reserves, and civilian shooters all rubbed elbows and talked shop as the matches progressed.
It became apparent very quickly that the skill level present was very high.
The shooting matches were scaled in difficulty from low to high, and separated onto different relays, meaning Barber and Sil wouldn’t see each other until the end of the day.
The excitement levels remained high all weekend as results were posted on the “wailing wall,” and heads shook in disappointment beside high-fives as shooters checked their scores.
By the end of the team matches, and with the BC Dragoons having headed a composite team, it had been a very good weekend. The composite team had beaten out the competition, to finally fall to some superb civilian shooters in the final of the falling plate match, but did well at the moving target from 200m.
By the end of the day, Barber was 40th overall, Sil 46th.
There was one surprise remaining, however.
In match four, Barber shot 48 with five “V Bulls” out of a possible 50 and 10, placing first in the match and bringing home a first to the regiment, the British Columbia Regiment Trophy.