August 21st, 2007

Max Michel Jr. Breaks 80-Second Barrier, Wins $30,000

Every year, many of the world’s top speed-shooters flock to the Int’l Shootists Institute in Piru, California to compete for top honors in the Steel Challenge, one of the world’s most competitive action shooting events. Don’t be fooled by the bucolic setting on private ranchland — when the Steel Challenge rolls into town, Piru becomes the center of the action shooting world. With events for Centerfire Pistol, Rimfire Rifle and Pistol, Shotgun, and Cowboy Lever Gun, the Steel Challenge boasts 150+ sponsors and over $370,000 worth of prizes and gun give-aways.

For the past three years, SigArms and the Outdoor Channel have offered a $30,000 prize for the first pistol shooter to break 80 seconds in the new, 8-stage pistol course of fire. The stages bear colorful (and somewhat intimidating) names: Showdown, Smoke & Hope, Outer Limits, Speed Option, The Pendulum, 5 To Go , Roundabout, and Accelerator.

At this year’s Challenge (held August 16-19th) three shooters broke the 80-second mark: Max Michel Jr., B.J. Norris and K.C. Eusebio. 2005 Steel Challenge winner Michel of the USAMU was the first to accomplish the feat. Max was immediately followed by his Army Marksmanship Unit teammate, K.C. Eusebio, winner of the 2003 Steel Challenge. Eighteen-year-old B.J. Norris from Texas finished third. As the fastest man of the three and the first to break the record, Max Michel earned the $30,000 check, and the title of the Fastest Shooter in the World.

A rising star in the shooting world, Max Michel Jr. is a 4-time winner of the USPSA Open Nationals, including the 2007 USPSA Championship. At 15, he was the youngest Grand Master (GM) in the history of USPSA shooting. Below is a YouTube clip of Max setting a record at the USPSA Nationals:

Max Michel Jr. USPSA

The 2007 Steel Challenge will be featured later this season on the Outdoor Channel TV show Shooting Gallery with Michael Bane. As a preview, here is a Steel Challenge VIDEO CLIP with action footage from previous years’ matches. The Shooting Gallery airs Wednesdays at 4:30 and 8:30 PM EST, plus Thursday at 12:30 AM EST.

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