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June 22nd, 2021

14-Year-Old Earns First EIC Points in Pursuit of Distinguished

Firing school small arms Camp Perry

At a recent Miami Rifle & Pistol Club (MRPC) match in Ohio, a talented young lady, Madelyn Schnelle, earned her very first Excellence-In-Competition (EIC) points. This was a key step in her journey toward the coveted Distinguished Rifleman Badge.

At the MRPC match, held June 5-6, 2021, Madelyn gained her EIC points by placing second among Non-Distinguished competitors with a score of 480-14X. This is an impressive performance for a relative newcomer. Though she just started High Power competition in May of 2020, Madelyn is now maintaining a Master-level average. Madelyn competed in her first marksmanship match in May 2020 and has gone on to reach Expert classifications for both the CMP and the NRA.

During the 2020-21 winter, Madelyn trained with a SCATT electro-optics training device and a Compass Lake .22 Rimfire upper. Since getting back into competition in the spring of 2021, Marilyn has done great. This May she achieved her personal best, shooting 788-25X in an 80-shot event. Then, at an NRA Midrange Prone match at Wildcat Valley R&PC, she WON the match with an impressive 598-26X.

Grand-Dad Shoots with Grand-Daughter on Same Team
Dave Schnelle, Madelyn’s grandfather, is also a competitive shooter. At the same June MRPC match Dave had reason to celebrate. Along with finishing second overall in the Distinguished category of the EIC Match, he was able to watch his granddaughter earn her first EIC Points. Having earned his own Distinguished Badge in 2006, Dave is proud of his granddaughter: “In my 22 years of shooting High Power, I’ve never had so much fun! Madelyn’s progress is a testament to the fact that this is a learned skill, and with dedication, hard work and some good coaching, you can achieve remarkable results”. Dave and Madelyn often practice and travel together as members of the Wildcat Valley Rifle & Pistol Club.

Firing school small arms Camp PerryAbout the Distinguished Badge
The Distinguished Badge is a distinct honor for any marksman. The badge, available for a variety of disciplines, is awarded after scoring within the top percentage of participants in an EIC-designated event and netting the accompanying EIC points — with 30 points needed overall. Shown at right is the Distinguished Rifleman Badge awarded for rifle marksmanship excellence.

Learn about the CMP’s Distinguished Badge Program.

Madelyn Heads to Camp Perry Next Month

Firing school small arms Camp Perry

Madelyn will be making her first trip to the Camp Perry National Matches in July 2021. “She is a VERY upbeat person”, Grandad Dave noted, “She really brings a ray of sunshine to the firing line, and competitors love her light-heartedness and joking”. Madelyn is the oldest of six kids. Living on 80 acres of woods and trails, she loves the outdoors and enjoys hunting, fishing, and riding dirt bikes with her siblings. Her father, Matthew Schnelle, also shoots High Power matches.

Camp Perry 2021

This July Madelyn will go to Camp Perry in Ohio for the National Matches. She will participate in the the Small Arms Firing School (see below), team matches, and CMP Games events.

Firing school small arms Camp Perry

Praise for Madelyn from Another Lady Shooter

Dr. Paula Crenshaw, who earned her own Distinguished badge at age 67, praised young Madelyn:

“Congratulations Madelyn! Great score! I shot my first rifle at age 12 at summer camp and loved it, but it took me until my 50s to start shooting competitively. I wish I’d had an awesome grandfather like yours to guide me. Hope to see you at Camp Perry!

Glad to hear she uses a SCATT for off-season training, as I found it invaluable when I was working toward my Distinguished Badge. I hope she sticks with shooting as she gets older. Many young people quit once they leave their junior programs, but the beauty of shooting is you can continue to compete even into your later years, just like her grandfather Dave and I have done.” — Paula Crenshaw DR #2521

The Path to Distinguished — One Starting, One Finishing

Firing school small arms Camp Perry

At the same June MRPC match Scott Schneider (right) secured the last final EIC points he needed for his Distinguished Rifleman Badge. Here Scott and Madelyn pose together. On the very same day that Madelyn earned her first EIC points, Scott earned the final points he needed to “Go Distinguished”. This was a great day for both shooters.

About the Miami Rifle & Pistol Club

Firing school small arms Camp Perry

The Miami Rifle & Pistol Club (MRPC), located in Batavia, Ohio, hosts competitions for a variety of marksmanship disciplines. The club boasts multiple firing lines for rifle and pistol, situated in a scenic, wood-lined region of Ohio. The club has provide the tri-state area with firearms education and competition since 1916. For MRPC range info and event calendar, visit the MRPC Website.

Permalink Competition, Shooting Skills 2 Comments »
December 27th, 2020

SunDay GunDay: Doctor Paula Goes Distinguished at Age 67

CMP Distinguished Rifleman Paula Crenshaw Coalinga service Rifle Doctor .223 Rem Rifle optic 67 years woman
Paula Crenshaw earned Distinguished Badge #2521 in 2020 at age 67.

Feature based on story in CMP’s The First Shot
Paula Crenshaw, a 67-year-old grandmother, never stops reaching toward new ambitions. This November, Paula earned the prestigious Distinguished Rifleman Badge at the 29 Palms Marine Base. “I’ve always been late to the party,” Paula said. “I didn’t start medical school until I was 37.”

A physician from Reno, Nevada, Paula took up rifle shooting in her early fifties to support her husband’s interests and undertake a new challenge. Turns out she loved competitive shooting. And now, in 2020, many years later she earned her own Distinguished Badge, #2521 at the age of 67. Earning the coveted Badge was “The fulfillment of my dream” Paula notes.

CMP Distinguished Rifleman Paula Crenshaw Coalinga service Rifle Doctor .223 Rem Rifle optic 67 years woman
Paula earned her “hard leg” 10 EIC points during the National Matches at Camp Perry in 2019.

CMP Distinguished Rifleman Paula Crenshaw Coalinga service Rifle Doctor .223 Rem Rifle optic 67 years woman

Distinguished Badges are awarded to marksmanship competitors who collect at least 30 Excellence-In-Competition (EIC) “leg” points — earned by placing in the top 10% of an EIC match. This Distinguished Rifleman program was started way bay in 1884. Now, two decades into the 21st century, the badge continues to be a prized achievement for competitive shooters.

CMP Distinguished Rifleman Paula Crenshaw Coalinga service Rifle Doctor .223 Rem Rifle optic 67 years woman

Paula is a member of the Coalinga Rifle Club in California and the Palomino Valley Gun Club in Nevada. She had been on the hunt for a Distinguished Badge since she earned her first points in 2018, then went on to claim her own “hard leg” (10 EIC points) at the annual National Matches at Camp Perry, Ohio, in 2019.

After that, “legging out” (that is, earning enough points to receive a Distinguished Badge) became a near obsession. “I dry-fired almost every day,” she recalled. “I worked out. I thought about winning first thing in the morning and as I fell asleep at night. I read many shooting books, sometimes multiple times. I drove my non-shooting friends away talking about shooting!”

By the end of 2019, she had been so dedicated to competing that she had wrangled up 22 EIC points, just eight points away from a badge.

Overcoming a Pandemic and Anxiousness about Earning the Badge
The start of 2020 met Paula with not only the difficulty of finding matches due to the enduring pandemic but also with some EIC nervousness that kept her scores below a point-earning level. With the close of the 2020 shooting season rapidly approaching, Paula decided to go to the 29 Palms Marine Base in California in November for one of her last EIC match chances — carrying within her a newfound resolve to capture those final points she had sought after for so long.

CMP Distinguished Rifleman Paula Crenshaw Coalinga service Rifle Doctor .223 Rem Rifle optic 67 years woman
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CMP Distinguished Rifleman Paula Crenshaw Coalinga service Rifle Doctor .223 Rem Rifle optic 67 years woman

Achieving the Goal — After So Many Years
Though her emotions were up, Paula competitive game was down as she fired a sub-par offhand score to start out the first stage of her match. “I was done for, and therefore totally relaxed and enjoyed shooting the rest of the match,” she said. Her new leisurely approach to her final three firing stages, without the pressure, shockingly boosted her scores — enough to earn herself the final points she needed for her Distinguished Rifleman Badge.

“No one was more surprised than me to learn I had won the eight-point leg,” she said, proudly. “I had finally done it”.

CMP Distinguished Rifleman Paula Crenshaw Coalinga service Rifle Doctor .223 Rem Rifle optic 67 years woman

Husband and Wife that Shoot Together
Paula and husband Greg have shot together for many years. This demonstrates that competitive shooting can be a great activity for a couple to share. Paula told us that she often meets shooters’ wives at shooting matches who are interested in trying the sport, but some feel intimidated at first. Paula encourages them to get started. Interestingly, many shooting instructors find that women learn faster than men initially, primarily because they are better listeners, and they don’t let their egos get in the way.

CMP Distinguished Rifleman Paula Crenshaw Coalinga service Rifle Doctor .223 Rem Rifle optic 67 years woman

Paula notes: “For us, as a couple, to share in the joys and despairs of shooting competition has been really special. The wives and girlfriends of the men I shoot with have a really wonderful opportunity to grow in their relationships. So many men I shoot with have expressed remorse they don’t share this with the women they love. Greg doesn’t babysit me and we are independent at the range. But he really helped me get started, and continues to be supportive to this day. But I’m at a point I can help him too.”

Paula said husband Greg has been a great shooting partner — helpful and supportive from the very start. And Greg was very proud of Paula’s accomplishment in earning her Distinguished Badge. To celebrate and mark the moment she earned her final Distinguished Points, Greg pinned his own Distinguished Badge on her hat. “Greg most certainly helped make this possible for me….”

Details of Service Rifle — Components and Match Loads

CMP Distinguished Rifleman Paula Crenshaw Coalinga service Rifle Doctor .223 Rem Rifle optic 67 years woman
Click photo to see FULL SCREEN image.

Paula’s rifle features a 1:7″-twist Krieger barrel with Wylde Chamber, barrel sourced from White Oak. The Sun Devil lower is fitted with a Geissele Nat’l Match trigger. The stock is a Magpul UBR. The upper is fitted with a Hera Handguard. On top is a March 1-4.5x24mm Service Rifle scope with MTR-5 reticle. Paula uses a Hollis sling, Monard shooting coat, and both Monard and Creedmoor gloves.

Match Ammunition — For 200/300 yard stages, Paula runs 73gr Berger bullets, with Varget powder and Wolf primers. For 600 yards, she uses 75gr or 80gr Hornady bullets, also with Varget powder but with CCI BR4 primers. Bullets are loaded 0.060″ off the lands.

Paul Crenshaw AR16 service rifle distinguished
Here is Paula’s rifle from 4 years ago. She has upgraded her rig with many new components.

Shooting Sports — Multi-Generational Fun for All Ages
One thing Paula really likes about the shooting sports is that you can keep getting better even in your 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond. Walt Berger has won Benchrest matches in his 80s! Few other sports offer true multi-generational competition like this.

“The really wonderful thing about shooting is that you can do it at any age, and even with disabilities. There is a discipline for everyone. We all seem to put lots of energy into the junior shooters. I’d like to see more energy put into helping older shooters get started. For an aging person who can no longer do some of the sports of their youth, shooting is a wonderful new venture. For me, my age, just was never a factor. I do work out to stay as strong since old age is somewhat of a slide into decrepitude. Whether you are young, middle-aged, or a senior shooter, you can all compete together.” — Paula Crenshaw

Paula is justifiably proud of her accomplishment, and she notes that there is, perhaps, an important message to be found in her earning the Distinguished Badge at age 67. Paula demonstrated that men and women can achieve important things even late in life, even after retirement. “Keep striving for your dreams” Paula told us, and “stay active with the outdoor activities you love”. A physician, Paula observes some people who remain vital and active even in their 80s, while some people in their 40s let things slide.

Even during this tough Pandemic year, Paula stays fit through weight-lifting, and she also enjoys motorcycle riding (on her own machine). She wants to encourage readers to continue all their outdoor hobbies as long as they can. As they say, you only go around once in life. The important thing, Paula tells us, is to continue to do what you enjoy, focus on your goals, and remain positive. Even at 67 Paula still enjoys mountaineering and motorcycling as well as shooting. Here is Paula in her younger days, rock-climbing.

CMP Distinguished Rifleman Paula Crenshaw Coalinga service Rifle Doctor .223 Rem Rifle optic 67 years woman

CMP Distinguished Rifleman Paula Crenshaw Coalinga service Rifle Doctor .223 Rem Rifle optic 67 years woman

NEXT Challenge for Paula Will Be Palma Shooting
What’s the next challenge for Dr. Paula Crenshaw? Well right now our friend Gary Eliseo of Competition Machine is building Paula a new Palma rifle, using his vaunted TubeGun chassis. Paula looks forward to competing in long-range Palma matches with the new rifle, which will be chambered in the .223 Remington. Yes, you read that right. With the latest generation of bullets and high-energy powder, a .223 Rem can be competitive with a .308 Win in many conditions.

Paula encourages women of all ages to try shooting. In her experience women often excel far beyond their expectations: “Women seem to have an advantage in shooting, in that they take to it quicker. They get better quicker. Everyone has theories. I watch beginning juniors. The guys fidget more and seem to feel embarrassed if they don’t do well. The girls don’t seem to worry if they do badly. They listen better. But I see many fantastic female juniors excel only to give it up later. So it seems men stick with it longer.”

CMP Distinguished Rifleman Badge 2500 william Tom Collins Michigan Ohio
Photo courtesy photographer Jonathan Ocab, who himself earned the Distinguished Rifleman Badge.

Read more about Paula’s journey to earn her Distinguished Badge on the CMP website (search for Paula Crenshaw and then click on the Biography link).

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, Gear Review 7 Comments »
November 2nd, 2016

Stan Pate Earns First-Ever F-TR Int’l Distinguished Badge

Stan Pate Savage Leupold int'l international distinguished rifleman badge NRA F-Class F-TR

Stan Pate is the first-ever F-TR competitor to earn International Distinguished Rifleman honors in his discipline. We congratulate Stan for that achievement. As a long-time competitor, Pate has earned numerous honors throughout his shooting career. The International Distinguished Rifleman award is a culmination of decades of hard work and dedication to the shooting sports.

“To earn the International Distinguished Badge, especially as the first F-T/R shooter to do so, is the pinnacle of my competitive shooting career,” Pate said. “I’m honored to share this award with all of those who have supported me, especially Leupold[.]”

Stan Pate Savage Leupold int'l international distinguished rifleman badge NRA F-Class F-TR
Photo from Shooting Sports USA story on NRA International Distinguished Badge.

The coveted International Distinguished Rifleman Badge is earned by accumulating points at authorized matches. In the USA, this program is overseen by the National Rifle Association. International Distinguished points can only be earned at authorized international competitions. Points can be earned for the International Distinguished award at World Championships, the America Match, and the Australia Match. A total of 30 points must be earned to be recognized as International Distinguished.

“Stan represents the pinnacle of his sport and we’re honored to call him a friend and a partner,” said Rob Morrison, vice president of global marketing for Leupold & Stevens. “His tenacity and perseverance in competition demand that his optics perform at a similar level, which is why he chooses Leupold.”

Watch Video for Tips from Past National F-TR Team Members Mike Miller and Stan Pate

Permalink Competition, News 1 Comment »
June 18th, 2016

Ray Gross Parts with a Cherished Old Friend…

Ray Gross M1A M14 service rifle .308 .30-06 Distinguished rifleman badge
Old “Number 2″ belonging to Ray Gross. Click Photo for full-screen Image.

Ray Gross is captain of the United States F-TR Team. While he’s mostly involved in F-Class shooting these days, that wasn’t always the case. Ray is an experienced service rifle shooter, who secured his Distinguished Rifleman Badge 21 years ago. Ray has shot many different rifles during his competitive shooting career, but the rifle above has a special place in Ray’s heart. This old semi-auto earned Ray his Distinguished Badge, and he’ll never forget that…

Ray Gross M1A M14 service rifle .308 .30-06 Distinguished rifleman badge

“I said goodbye to an old friend last week…

Affectionately known as ‘Number 2′, she is the rifle that I earned my Distinguished Rifleman Badge with in 1995 (#1159).

That rifle was also responsible for a fair amount of Venison in the ’90s, as well. But since then, she has spent a lot of time in the closet. Last time I got her out was to destroy a bunch of hard drives containing evidence collected during my Computer Forensics days. She deserved better than that.

I will miss the beautiful sound of all that American steel slamming into battery when I tripped her bolt.” – Ray Gross

Ray Gross M1A M14 service rifle .308 .30-06 Distinguished rifleman badge

Permalink Competition 2 Comments »