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Above: Shooters in their carts and buggies of all colors and sizes getting ready for the dayís activities.

Bill McGuire of Tennessee ended the 2016 sporting clays season with what must easily have been his most successful and memorable sporting clays tournament season ever. A member of Team Blaser, Bill was crowned the Main Event Champion for 2016 as well as the Champion of the 5-Stand event, the Super Sporting event and was inducted into the NSCA Hall of Fame.

Bill, now a two-time Main Event Champion (2011, 2016) and three-time Nationals Champion, Bobby Fowler (2000, 2005, 2013) were inducted into the prestigious NSCA Hall of Fame for their outstanding shooting careers. Neil Chadwick was awarded the Hal duPont Service Award for his tireless contributions to the sport. Sincere thanks and congratulations to these three men for their accomplishments and service.

Bill was kind enough to provide me with a short interview over the phone recently.

Johnny Cantu: Congratulations, Bill, on both the win of the 2016 Nationals and your induction into the NSCA Hall of Fame.

Bill McGuire: Thank you. I was very blessed with a successful shoot, a great year and the Hall of Fame was very special, too.

JC: How did you feel about the targets at the 2016 Nationals? How were the courses in your opinion?

BM: I felt the targets were good. The K Cup I felt was the softest out of everything we shot. But I think the targets on the whole were good.

JC: Of the four courses (Orange, Red, Yellow and Green), which one did you feel was the toughest?

BM: Of all the courses, I felt the Green was the hardest, followed by the Orange, then the Yellow and the Red course. The target presentations were well done on all the courses, but I thought the Green was the most difficult.

JC: Was there anything different or special about any of the stations?

BM: What I liked particularly about what they did this year was on the stations that included a single bird on the menu. The way the presentation of the single bird, with a bit of orange on it, made you re-think what choke you were going to use for the station. You had to figure out what choke(s) you wanted to use on that one single bird. I thought those few stations were well done. I liked that.

JC: Were there any problems you noticed: trap issues, troublesome backgrounds, anything?

BM: No. Of all the targets I shot, I did not run into any trouble at all. I did not shoot any of the small gauges, so I canít comment on those. Very smooth. Yes, the Nationals was a good shoot for me. No doubt.

JC: Congratulations once again, Bill. Fantastic shooting throughout the year.

Even though the tournament is known as the Nationals or, more properly stated, the National Championship, it attracts competitors from around the world. Did you know there were five shooters from Canada, four from England, four from Australia, four from France, two from Italy, one from New Zealand, 55 from Colombia, 59 from Mexico, two from Ecuador, five from Venezuela, one from Russia and one from Africa? Of course, these shooters from other countries were sprinkled in and about the nearly 1,800 USA shooters. That made for a very healthy attendance number at the 2016 NSCA Nationals. The vendors who occupy the length of Vendorsí Row were all smiling. Good attendance at an event means sales of products and services.

One of the very interesting new products I saw on Vendorsí Row was the unique visual training eyewear by a company called VIMA. The device is still only in prototype form, not yet offered for public distribution. It was described to me by VIMAís Co-Founder and R&D Developer, Dr. Alan W. Reichow, as ďresistance training for your brainĒ. This eyewear is unique and simply stated trains your brain to make the most of the visual information you receive. Stay tuned for more on this in future issues of Shotgun Sports.

Other shooters who fared well in the Main Event were perennial All-American Anthony Matarese, Jr., Runner-up with his excellent 291x300 and Matt Fisher, who successfully survived a shoot-off with Brad Kidd and David Radulovich all with 288s, ended up on the podium in Third. Bill McGuire, by the way, fired a championship score of 293 in the Main Event.

Annabelle Ayres stood on the Championís step on the podium in the Main Event Lady Category with her 279 x 300 which was a full 11 targets ahead of the Runner-up, Haley Dunn, who shot a score of 268. Alexandra Wamplerís 268 earned her the Third podium position.

As mentioned earlier, the 5-Stand event was won by Bill McGuire with his 96, edging out Zachary Kienbaum with his 96 to give Zach the Runner-up position. One of the toughest competitors you will ever see, David Radulovich, took Third with his 94.

The FITASC event was won by Zachary Guerrettaz with an impressive 98, and the Lady FITASC Champion was Diane Sorantino with a 95.

The sub-gauge events have enjoyed a large growth spurt in popularity in the last six years or so. This year was right on track with hundreds of competitors launching 20, 28 and .410 shot columns at the Nationals.

The 20-Gauge Event champion was the always-in-the-hunt Derrick Mein with a 97x100. Brian Hughes shot a near-perfect round in the 28-Gauge Event, ending up with a 99x100. Zachary Kienbaum and his 98 in the .410 Bore Event earned him the Championís title. Congratulations to these event champions and the rest of the podium finishers in the sub-gauge events. Great shooting!

Junior competitors also earned positions on the podium. The Junior Champion in the Main Event was Tom Seay with a 286. Richard Garza took Runner-up with a 285, and Hunter Dreherís 284 won the Third position. Way to go, guys!

This, of course, is just a list of a few of the event champions at the 2016 NSCA National Championship. For a complete list of winners, visit winscoreonline.com.

The 2016 Nationals seems to just get better and bigger each year. Make your plans to be at the 2017 NSCA National Championship in San Antonio and take part in the fastest-growing clay target sport in the world.

See you there! SS