About 250 of the world's best pistol shooters came together in the River Valley this weekend (Sept. 6-8) at the Old Fort Gun Club in Van Buren for the U.S. Practical Shooting Association Area Four Championship.
Event organizer, Troy McManus said the competitors come from "all walks of life" and include doctors, lawyers, plumbers, electricians, lab technicians and carpenters.
"Basically red-blooded Americans out here shooting their handguns on the weekends," said McManus.
McManus said most of the participants came from Area Four which includes Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas and Louisiana, but others traveled from North Carolina, New York, Utah, Nevada, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Six competitive shooters traveled from Thailand to participate in the match.
The men, women and junior shooters were scored on their speed, accuracy and power.
"Some of the highlights were getting to see some of the grand master shooters from around the country come out and compete," said McManus. "Some people turned in phenomenal times on some of the stages, really excellent shooting."
Kaci Cochran, the best overall female shooter at the match, said competing in a male-dominated sport pushes her to work that much harder to prove herself.
"If I can finish top ten in a match behind them, I am happy no matter what has happened in the match," she said.
Cochran, who lives in a town outside of Atlanta, has been shooting competitively for nearly a decade. She said she trains at least four days each week for at least four hours each day and has been known to compete in more than one tournament on a Saturday.
"It's a rush that you just can't explain," said Cochran.
The Old Fort Gun Club hosts a local match on the third Saturday of each month beginning at 9 a.m. There is no fee for members.