Mile High Shootout brings high-caliber marksmen to Moffat County |

Mile High Shootout brings high-caliber marksmen to Moffat County

KJ Otterman with High Country Precision picks up brass at the Mile High Shootout Friday, July 12.
Clay Thorp/Craig Press

Some of the best long distance shooters in the world are in Moffat County this weekend sending some lead downrange near Lay for High Country Precision’s annual Mile High Shootout.

The Mile High Shootout will start Saturday, July 13 west of Craig on Highway 40 near Moffat County Road 17.
Clay Thorp/Craig Press

This year more than 100 shooters signed up to try their hand at some serious rifle therapy on Rodney and Margaret Culverwell’s Rio Ro Mo Ranch west of Craig. The shootout on Saturday and Sunday — sponsored by High Country Precision and XLR Industries — will challenge each shooter in almost two dozen stages, each with their own target distances and shooting positions.

Shooters might be in the prone position, or kneeling, or sitting. Maybe their rifle must be perched on a wall, or free floating while in the standing position.

“You’re gonna see a pretty diverse group of folks shooting,” said Wade Spriul, this weekend’s chief safety officer.

Mike Moore lobs some lead downrange at the Mile High Shootout Friday, July 12.
Clay Thorp/Craig Press

As shooters and their crews from across the Western United States began to hit the registration table Friday morning, Spruill explained this weekend’s shootout is for those looking to add to their National Rifle League points to chase Nick Gadarzi, currently the No. 1 shooter in the country. Spruill also pointed out those competing in Moffat County this weekend are serious competitors with some serious gear.

“This isn’t a cheap game,” Spruill said. “Between ammo and rifles and all the gear they gotta get, out of 10 shooters, you’ll probably have $200,000 worth of rifles and ammo and scopes.”

Angel Miller, 34, of Evanston, Wyoming, got her hands on one of the nicer loaner rifles Friday after a malfunction took her rifle out of the running, at least for a while. As she tossed a few rounds downrange for her first national shooting competition, the audible clink of a hit target could be heard a few moments after Miller pulled the trigger, breaking one of the weekend’s first targets.

Angel Miller listens to a shooting instructor from Mile High Precision Friday, July 12.
Clay Thorp/Craig Press

Miller said she’s hoping to hone her skills.

“I’m just starting out shooting,” she said. “I’m learning a lot about wind calls and getting in truer, faster, and to steady my gun.”

Angel Miller smiles after breaking a target with the perfect shot Friday, July 12.
Clay Thorp/Craig Press

A slight breeze meandered through the hot air Friday, which presents a challenge to any shooter. But the breeze didn’t seem to phase Amanda Ott, an avid shooter from Craig.

“I’m just looking for a personal best and to have fun, maybe learn something new and meeting some new people,” she said.

Ott loves coming to shooting events, whether in Moffat County or beyond.

“This is a good community,” Ott said of Northwest Colorado’s shooting community. “It’s like family.” 

Matt Means of XLR Industries in Grand Junction holds a Nyx Elite package by Kelby’s Rifles Friday, July 12.
Clay Thorp/Craig Press

About 40 volunteers will be making sure those in attendance have enough water, sunscreen, and safety measures in place, so Matt Means of XLR Industries encouraged those interested in long-distance shooting sports to see this weekend’s competition.

“Come watch some of the greatest shooters in the world compete against each other for free,” Means said.

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