February 27th, 2016

Help Support the California Grizzlies Rifle Team

California Grizzlies junior Team

You may not know it, but a team of youngsters from California is the winningest junior team in the history of the National Matches at Camp Perry. Despite California’s tough gun laws, the young shooters on the California Grizzlies Rifle Team have managed to rack up impressive victories in competition, achieving excellence season after season.

Help Support the California Grizzlies Junior Rifle Team
Right now the California Grizzlies are seeking donations to support their effort to attend the 2016 National Matches at Camp Perry. You can make a secure PayPal donation through the Grizzlies’ website, www.TeamGrizzlies.org.

California Grizzlies junior Team

The California Grizzlies squad has always excelled — it remains the only junior team to ever win the Infantry Trophy (NTIT) at the NRA National Championships. In 2009, Team Grizzlies O’Connell shot a 1284 to win the NTIT, becoming the first junior team to ever win the event and the first civilian team to win in 79 years. In 2013, the Grizzlies again shot superbly, winning not only the High Junior Title, but the Civilian Title as well. In fact, in 2013, the young Grizzlies squad beat ALL the adult teams except the powerhouse U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit Team.


Here is the 2009 Grizzlies Squad that won the NTIT outright, beating ALL other teams.

Watch the Grizzlies in Action, Training for the Nationals
This video was filmed in 2010 during a week-long training clinic held at the Coalinga range in central California. During the clinic, Grizzlies members honed their position shooting skills. We wish these boys and girls good luck in their quest for another team victory at Camp Perry.

Permalink Competition, News 3 Comments »
September 14th, 2010

California Grizzlies Sweep Three Major Junior Team Matches

California Grizzlies Jr. TeamThe California Grizzlies junior rifle teams put on an impressive display of marksmanship at Camp Perry this year, winning the National Trophy Junior Team Match (NTJT), the Minuteman Trophy and the Junior Infantry Team Trophy at the 2010 CMP National Trophy Rifle Matches. The two-person California Grizzlies Berger team of 19-year-old Chad Kurgan (Twain Harte, CA), and 20-year-old Anthony Henderson (Sonora, CA) fired a team score of 967-26X to win the NTJT and set a new National Record. Kurgan fired an aggregate score of 492-19X and Henderson followed with a 475-7X.

In the six-person National Trophy Rifle Team Match (NTT) junior category, California Grizzlies Team Seeley captured the Minuteman Trophy with an aggregate score of 2852-72X. Firing members of Team Seeley were Kurgan, Henderson, Bharadwaj, Shelby Rosasco, 19, of Jamestown, James MacMillan, 17, of Kentfield and Cheyanne Acebo, 18, of Vacaville. Team Seeley was captained by Thomas Pappageorge and coached by Dirk Seeley.

California Grizzlies Jr. Team

In the National Trophy Infantry Team Match (NTIT) junior classification California Grizzlies O’Connell won first place with an aggregate score of 1268. The team scored 556 at 600 yards, 526 at 500 yards and 186 at 300 yards and 0 at 200. Team O’Connell firing members were Bayer, Kurgan, Lehn, MacMillan, Maddalena and Rosasco. The team was coached by Jim O’Connell.

Permalink Competition, News No Comments »
July 13th, 2010

California Grizzlies Junior Team Readies for National Matches

California Grizzlies junior teamNext month, the California Grizzlies Junior Rifle Team will head to Camp Perry to compete in the NRA High Power National Championships. Those of us here in California are very proud of these young shooters, who topped the USAMU in last year’s “6-Man Rattle Battle”, the National Infantry Trophy Team Match. Using rifles fitted with “bullet buttons” or other devices rendering their AR15s compliant with California’s draconian gun laws, the Grizzlies have managed to become one of the nation’s top junior teams, despite the misguided efforts of California politicians to ban AR-style rifles.

The California Grizzlies Junior High Power Team currently consists of 15 juniors who are from different parts of California. The team is open to NRA High Power-classified California youths between the ages of 13 and 20. The California team has the privilege of competing in the National Rifle Matches at Camp Perry, Ohio every August. Shown below are team members at Camp Perry last year, with coach Jim O’Connell (orange sweatshirt).

California Grizzlies junior team

California Grizzlies Jr. Team Biographies (with photos) | California Grizzlies 2009 Match Results

Grizzlies High Power Training Video
The video below was filmed in June, during an intensive, week-long training clinic held at the Coalinga range in central California. During the clinic, Grizzlies members honed their position shooting skills in preparation for the 2010 National Championships. We wish these boys and girls good luck in their quest for another big win at Camp Perry.

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Thanks to Steve of The Firearms Blog for first writing about this video.

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August 28th, 2009

California Juniors Win Infantry Team Trophy

If you were trying to predict the winner of the 2009 National Trophy Infantry Team Match (NTIT), odds are you would have focused on the top military teams in the event. This makes sense considering that the last time a civilian team won the NTIT was in 1930. That is until a group of juniors from California stepped up to the firing line at Camp Perry on August 7th 2009, and made history.

Team California Grizzlies O’Connell shot a 1284 to win the NTIT, becoming the first junior team to ever win the event and the first civilian team to win in 79 years. In fact the top three NTIT teams this year were civilian. Forbes Rifle and Pistol Club finished second with a 1275 and Oklahoma Rifle Assn. finished third with a 1250. The Grizzlies won the event shooting Hornady 75 gr BTHP match bullets in their .223 ARs. The team also won the junior title and set new records in 2008 and 2009 in the NTT.

The California Grizzlies O’Connell team was named for team coach Jim O’Connell. The team captain was Anthony Henderson, and firing team members were Cheyanne Acebo, David Bahten, Matthew Chezem, Chad Kurgan, Joshua Lehn and Jim Minturn. The team is based out of the Yosemite area in central California, but team members come from all over the state.

Juniors Win Despite Restrictive California Laws
The group’s accomplishments are particularly impressive considering that California State Law prohibits juniors from handling rifles with a removable magazine. In California the team can only practice with a 10-round fixed magazine that can only be removed using a tool. This makes training for rapid fire difficult, and the only time the team gets to practice with standard removable clips is when they arrive to Camp Perry for the National Matches.

The team… can only get together as a whole team a few times during the year. One of those team meetings comes in the summer, when the team attends Camp O’Connell, lead by the team’s coach Jim O’Connell. The eight-day camp is held at the remote Coalinga Rifle Club in Central California, where team members sleep in tents and do range maintenance projects in addition to their training.

Much of [the team’s success] derives from an introductory program that the Grizzlies have established to attract new shooters. There is a .22LR program that introduces the sport to about 160 juniors a year, ages 10-16. If juniors show aptitude and interest, they move to the farm team where they shoot AR-15s at 100-yard reduced targets until they reach Sharpshooter classification.

READ MORE ….

Story by Sommer Wood, CMP Writer, courtesy ODCMP.com. The full story appears in the current edition of The First Shot, the CMP Online Newsletter.

Permalink Competition, News 3 Comments »