CEDAR CITY – Competitors gathered Friday afternoon at the Iron County Shooting Range for the Hunters Pistol event, wrapping up the third day of shooting competition for the Utah Summer Games.
Being the only pistol competition of the games that does not involve targets, participants took aim at four sets of five animal silhouettes.
Each set of silhouettes was positioned at different distances – 25, 50 , 75 and 100 yards. The competition was scored by simply awarding the person who hit the most silhouettes, each one being worth 10 points.
Any caliber of pistol could be used in the competition based on personal preference of the shooter.
All walks of life could be seen at the range as both seasoned and novice shooters participated.
Event coordinator Arnold Vitarbo has been organizing the competition for 11 years. An accomplished shooter himself, Vitarbo is known by many in the sport for his accolades over the years.
Among the many shooting competitions Vitarbo has participated in are the 1968 Olympics, in which he placed fourth, and the 1967 Pan American Games, from which he took home the gold medal.
He has also held various national records in several different shooting categories.
When talking about Summer Games competition, Vitarbo responded simply, with a smile on his face.
“It’s kind of fun,” he said.
Vitarbo said he especially relishes the mental concentration of the sport.
He compared the shooting experience to the adrenaline that an Olympic athlete would feel just before the gun goes off at the start of the 100-meter dash. The competitor needs to mentally slow down in order to steady the hand, he said.
The sport also provides the opportunity to constantly improve.
“You’ll never be perfect, but you always want to be perfect,” Vitarbo said. “You always have the carrot in front of you.”
Former Olympians were not the only people present. The event also attracted first-time competitors, including Josh Neade, who said he wanted to see how he compared to the competition.
As it turns out, Neade measured up very well as he took home the gold in the Open-age open-sights division. By his shooting ability, you would never know that Neade is disabled.
“I’ve had compartment syndrome and I deal with infections and all kinds of stuff,” he said. “All kinds of medical stuff — that’s why I’m disabled.”
Compartment syndrome affects his leg, leaving the rest of his body more then capable to compete.
“That’s exactly why I want to do it,” he said. “My arms are fine. I can stand, my shoulders are good and my eyes are good. It’s something I just always wanted to try and I finally got a chance to do it.”
Pistol competition will conclude Saturday with the national match course, and action shooting.
Hunters pistol results
Open age – open sights
- Gold – Josh Neade
- Silver – Shawn Healy
- Bronze – William Niedermeyer
Open age – any sights
- Gold – William Niedermeyer
Senior age – open sights
- Gold – Kevin Johnson
- Silver – Frank McNato
- Bronze – Jim Snyder
Senior age – any sights
- Gold – Chuck Nichols
- Silver – James Whiting
- Bronze – Kevin Johnson
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