At the 5.11 Lodge on the banks of the Big Horn River in Montana, law enforcement officers are shooting pistols, rifles, and shotguns in a match against other teams. Competitors in the 5.11 Challenge are doing their best to secure a position as one of the top three teams of the summer.
For eight weeks, two-person teams compete in rigorous shooting stages. The teams with the top three scores of the summer will be invited, along with their families, to shoot for the top prize: products from all of the event sponsors. Each team of two officers has to put up a score that will stay in the top three all summer long.
In week one, the team of Jeff Gilbert and Mark Napier from the Monroe Police Department in Louisiana managed to post the top score of 3,480 points. Second and third place that week were teams from Southfield, Mich., and Palo Alto, Calif.
Week two brought a new group of competitors, all shooting to knock the teams from week one out of the coveted top three spots. Two teams—one from Flint, Mich., and one from Dyersburg, Tenn.—managed to do just that. John Joseph and Deric Gress from Flint posted a score of 3,461 to secure second place, and Milton Web and Jim Sanders from Henry County, Tenn., posted a score of 3,350 to secure third. The two teams from California and Michigan of week one found themselves out of the running.
In week three, Ron Wolford and Brad Smith from Greensboro, N.C., posted a new high score of 3,509 points. This catapulted them into first place and dropped the Southfield, Mich., team out of the running.
During week four, Border Patrol agents Charlie Exum and Dale Young from Alamogordo, N.M., posted a new high score of 4,276. Exum posted an individual score of 2,214. The highest individual score prior to that point was 1,878.
Not to be outdone, a team from the Fort Worth (Texas) Police Department ran a very close second to the Border Patrol. Rick Van Houten and Scott Keenum posted a score of 3,954. Van Houten posted the highest score for the summer in Stage 2 of the pistol competition. His individual total score was 1,962. For the seven stages of fire, Rick only missed six targets.
Currently, the top three scorers are teams representing the U.S. Border Patrol from Alamogordo, N.M., the Fort Worth (Texas) Police Department, and the Greensboro (N.C.) Police Department. The finals will be held on August 25.
If you want to track the scores, visit www.511challenge.com.