Pyrotechnics, amputee skydiver featured at National Matches First Shot Ceremony on July 8

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SFC Dana Bowman made a patriotic landing at Camp Perry, just west of Port Clinton, to kick off last year’s CMP National Rifle and Pistol Matches. The games begin again on Monday, July 8 with the 1st Shot Ceremony at 10 a.m. at the Ohio National Guard installation and skydyver Bowman will return. The public is invited. The matches will be held through Aug. 9. (Photo by D’Arcy Egan)

BY ASHLEY BRUGNONE, CMP EDITOR

The Civilian Marksmanship Program has announced the lineup for this year’s First Shot Ceremony at the CMP’s 2019 National Matches on Monday, July 8 at the Camp Perry National Guard Training Facility near Port Clinton. The ceremony begins at 10 a.m. on the base’s Rodriguez Range and is free and open to the public.

All ages are welcome to watch the parade of historical vehicles and pyrotechnics that pay homage to American and military history while also spectacularly initiating the 2019 National Matches season.

At this year’s First Shot celebration, the CMP is honored to welcome back former U.S. Army Golden Knights skydiver, SFC Dana Bowman, who lost both of his legs in 1994 after a collision incident during the annual Golden Knights training in Yuma, Ariz. A story of triumph and inspiration, Bowman became the first double amputee to re-enlist in the United States Army later that year.

The First Shot Ceremony will also include free rides in Model T Ford automobiles from Timeless T’s vehicle club and a static display of military vehicles from the Firelands Military Vehicles Association, both from Sandusky.

No dress code is required for the First Shot event, but all ceremonial activities will take place outdoors, so dress for weather. Spectator seating will be set up alongside Rodriguez Range, with additional bleachers placed diagonally on Lawrence Road in front of the Plaza, where the ceremony will take place.

When all of the ceremony festivities are over, guests are invited onto the Petrarca Range, right next to Rodriguez Range, which features CMP Electronic Targets. The targets can accommodate both pistol and rifle shooting, using some of the latest technology, to instantly display scores on LED monitors beside each marksman.

The First Shot Ceremony serves as a greeting event for guests, participants, volunteers and staff conducting the 2019 National Matches at Camp Perry, which feature the finest pistol and rifle shooters in America.

Firing the ceremonial First Shot down Rodriguez Range will be CMP Vice Chairman E.C. “Cris” Stone. Stone can often be found at CMP Travel Games and the National Matches as both a spectator and a competitor.

Along with serving on the Board of USA Shooting over his career, Stone also earned the titles of director, chief credit officer and consultant for multibillion-dollar financial institutions. While a West Point Cadet, he shot in the All-Army Matches at Camp Perry. He was commissioned in the Infantry and completed Army Airborne, Ranger and Jungle Schools.

Stone served in Vietnam and Iran, with awards for service and valor in combat. The National Trophy Pistol and Rifle Matches have assembled talented marksmen and women at the Camp Perry National Guard Training Facility since 1907. The first CMP National Matches of the 2019 season will fire on July 13, beginning with the pistol competitions, and will conclude on August 9, following CMP’s fresh lineup of Long Range matches. Several other pistol, rifle and air gun competitions and clinics are scheduled throughout the National Matches to accommodate the thousands of visitors expected to participate in the annual event.

People are welcome to take a short walk over to the CMP’s indoor air rifle range at the Gary Anderson CMP Competition Center, beside Petrarca Range, to gaze upon authentic Olympic and other memorabilia from the notable career of American marksman, Gary Anderson. The facility also includes an 80-point electronic air gun range that will be open to the public periodically throughout the National Matches.

For more information about the National Matches, visit http://thecmp.org/competitions/cmp-national-matches/.

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