Mile High Shootout brings high-caliber marksmen to Moffat County
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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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When you hear an unholy shriek or a cacophony of chest-pounding hundreds of feet high, you know you’re about to see something fantastic.