Anderson highlights friendship and community at First Shot Ceremony Featured

Gary Anderson taking the first shot at the 2014 National Matches.

The 107th annual National Rifle Matches started Monday, July 7, with the First Shot Ceremony honoring Gary Anderson. Anderson, a Nebraska native, taught himself how to shoot by dry firing. In his shooting career, he has won 2 Olympic gold medals, 7 world championships, set 6 world records and holds 16 national records. He also became the Director of the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) in 1999. Since then membership has skyrocketed from 2250 to nearly 5000.

“There is a big difference between shooting and marksmanship,” noted Anderson during his speech at the ceremony. “Marksmanship makes soldiers more efficient and able to better defend themselves and our country.”

Jack Price, WWII veteran, delivering the flag to be risen at the ceremony.

The three main topics that Anderson touched on in his speech were marksmanship, participation for all, and community. The National Matches are a place for not only the best shooters, but all shooters. Anderson explained that is good to honor those who are the best, but it’s great to allow everyone to participate and enjoy the sport and the bond that being a marksman has to offer.

After the first shot, Anderson returned to the podium and donated the first shot rifle to the Civilian Marksmanship Program. It is customary that the first shot shooter keeps the gun, but Anderson felt it right to donate the rifle to the CMP.

After the First Shot Ceremony, another ceremony took place; a dedication of the new Gary Anderson CMP Competition Center, CMP’s air gun facility. A ribbon cutting was held for the opening and dedication of the center.

Ribbon cutting for the Gary Anderson CMP Competition Center. L to R: Gary Anderson with grandchildren Max and Lisa and young shooters Brooke and Ian.

At the event, friend of Gary Anderson, Vice Chairman of the CMP Board of Directors, Cris Stone spoke fondly of him.

“This isn’t all just because of your marksmanship,” said Stone, “it is because of your participation and community.”

“If sharing what I did as a young person inspires a young person,” said Anderson at the dedication ceremony, “then I have served my purpose.”

The National Matches are being held until August 10 at Camp Perry and are open to the public.

First Shot National Matches 2014

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