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Showing posts from 2020

Q & A: Cameron Hicks, MEC Outdoors New Sponsored Shooter

MEC Outdoors is pleased to announce the talents of Cameron Hicks as an addition to the amazing line up of incredible shooters sponsoring the brand.  Currently, MEC Outdoors partners with several exceptional shooters such as Dave Miller, Dalton Kirchhoefer, Makayla Scott, Shari Legate, Travis Mears, Will Fennell, Dani Zeigler, Morgan Craft and Richard Marshall Jr. Cameron Hicks is a fast rising star within the disciplines of Sporting Clays and FITASC and most recently has gone head to head with legends like Anthony Matarese Jr. and Bill McGuire. He was M5 at Georgia State, M3 at the NE Regional, Won Bison Cup in Virginia, M1 at South Carolina State Championship, M4 at North Carolina State and won the 2020 Gamaliel Cup FITASC and most of those were just in the past few months! So you might be wondering, who is Cameron Hicks and what got him into this sport?  Recently, MEC Outdoors spoke to Cameron and answered this and more in an in-depth conversation about him, the sport, and why

When You’re Having So Much Fun Shooting, Why Bother Competing?

It seems like such an easy question, you’re having the time of your life shooting sporting clays, why would you want to mess that up and ratchet up the pressure on yourself by competing? For me personally when I started shooting, in order to be on my SCTP team I had to commit to attending the state and national tournaments. I agreed at first because I just wanted to shoot and going to two competitions was a small price to pay to be able to shoot each week during practice. This is how the journey began but along the way a couple lessons snuck up on me. The first one was: even the casual weekend shooter wants to improve, the person shooting in the 60’s wants to make it to the 70’s, the 70’s want to be in the 80’s, and so on. The best way I’ve found to make this happen is to challenge yourself through competitions and all the preparation that happens before a competition. The second one is: Almost nothing in life of any significance is accomplished by accident. It usually start

Field of Dreams: Phase 1 Complete

Our Skeet Field is basically complete! Even though COVID 19 and an endless rain has slowed us up, we wanted to make sure our kids got in some quality practices with our team of coaches. We now have 20 kids- a number that surpassed anything we imagined! We are keeping within social distancing rules by inviting one family at a time per coach and wiping down everything with disinfectants as soon as they are finished. This also gives both athlete and coach one-on-one time to practice. The kids are having a great time learning how to shoot and handle a gun safely. And what's even better is that for 8 of our kids, this was their first-time shooting clays, or even a shotgun! We are totally ecstatic our team is growing the sport, getting kids outdoors, and we are teaching the good that comes from guns. For our more experienced shooters, since we don’t have a 5-Stand, we’ve added two MEC 300E Sporters and an old trampoline to throw some tricky targets! We have created an interesting 5-Stan

Reloading For Hunting

For those of us who enjoy harvesting our own game, the right load is paramount to the hunt being both successful  and gratifying, which is why I like to do my own reloading. I know when I take that shot, whether it’s hunting birds or large game, I can rely on the ammunition to perform. I’m not against factory loads, but I do know that factory loads can and will malfunction. It’s happened to me more than once on the trap and skeet range. I don’t mind that clay target getting away, because I know I’ll get a do-over with an ammo malfunction, but when I’ve been hunting all day and I’m ready to take the shot and the ammunition doesn’t work, I get slightly annoyed. Okay, in all honesty, I get VERY annoyed. Which is why I recommend wholeheartedly you should reload for hunting. But, there’s more to it than just knowing your ammunition will work. There’s a few other reasons as well. First, you’ll have a much more accurate round with reloading than with a factory load. It’s a proven load that

Competition Shooting: Techniques and Advice

COVID-19 has pretty much put a damper on any type of sports competitions right now, including the shooting sports. But that doesn’t mean you can’t keep preparing yourself for when the competition season does open up again. There are still many other ways to get ready and construct a comprehensive training program off the field. I was lucky enough to live in Colorado Springs during my 15 years on the U.S.A. Shooting Team which allowed me to train at the Olympic Training Center. Though I had access to one of the finest shooting ranges in the country, we spent as much time training off the field as we did shooting actual targets on the range. I’m a big believer in mental training and it’s times like these when you can really work on your mental game. Becoming a champion isn’t easy and we were taught there are four key elements to help you achieve the goal of being a champion; Mental Discipline; Self Control; Dedication and finally Confidence. Each one is equally important and each one r

Building a Skeet Field of Dreams Part 3

This is my 3 rd update of our Field of Dreams. Our Mec 300E Sporter Skeet set has finally arrived! Although I’m sorry I missed pictures of the uncrating, I just got so excited that I didn’t even think of taking any. It was like Christmas day for me!  One of our coaches Joe Hayes and I couldn’t wait for everyone else to help unpack. We went right to work getting the machines unboxed and set in place in the houses. We had called before and got all the specifications on the machines, so we had already built the bases. We set the machines in place roughly in alignment and bolted them down. Although I thought the small, minuscule adjustments would take hours to do, with the easy adjustability of my MEC Machines we had them set and throwing targets at the perfect height and angle in no time. We are having our local MEC dealer come to do the fine tuning of the machines so they will be ready to throw registered skeet targets.  Coach Joe Hayes and I couldn’t stand waiting any long

Make The Introduction

What’s the best way to introduce someone to the shooting sports? It’s easy. Simply invite them to come out and shoot with you. That really is the answer, but if that were the only answer it would make for a very short blog and there would actually be a whole lot more people out shooting right now. Introducing someone to the shooting sports can be tricky. If they’re interested in the sport and approach you, they’ve made the invite for you. You just take them out to the range with you. But more times than not, people are intimated by the sport. Especially women and kids and they’re afraid to ask. There’s a certain amount of fear that goes along with holding your first shotgun and pulling the trigger. Most all of it is unfounded, but the perception is still there. Sometimes they’ve had a bad experience. Someone handed them a 10 or 16-gauge with hot loads in the chamber and the recoil of the gun knocked them back or even worse, hurt them. Unfortunately, that happens more times than

How a Passion for Hunting Leads to Team USA

A passion for hunting began a journey that would lead all the way to a three consecutive National Titles and a two-time member of the USA Sporting Clay Team.  Dalton Kirchhoefer’s shooting journey began with an 8-year-old boy constantly pestering his father to take him pheasant hunting. Dalton after pheasant hunting with his dog Jessie in Indiana 2011 After trips walking in the field with his father and carrying the birds weren’t enough to quench his thirst at age 10, his dad finally relented on one condition.  Dalton had to go down to the local range and demonstrate he could be safe and responsible first.  Dalton and his dad goose hunting in Arkansas 2012 Almost as fate were leading the way, at the local range Dalton met local pro and MEC Outdoors sponsored shooter Bob Self.  Figuring it’s always best to learn the proper techniques, his father signed him up for a lesson.  Being the first time Dalton had ever fired a shotgun, the goal was just to learn the proper stanc

Getting to Know Shari LeGate

Brand Ambassador for MEC Outdoors I’ve been a brand ambassador for MEC Outdoors since 2009 and I’m excited to start this new monthly blog. Hopefully, this will let me better get to know the loyal customers of MEC Outdoors, answer questions and share what I’ve learned over my shooting career. I wasn’t lucky enough to grow up shooting. No members of my family were hunters or recreational shooters. We didn’t even own a firearm. We didn’t fish, camp, hike or anything else related to the outdoors. So, my introduction to the shooting sports came later in life as a result of a television program. 1984 Olympic champion Matt Dryke was shooting an exhibition skeet match on a show and the sport fascinated me, so I signed up for shooting lessons at a local club. I had never shot a shotgun in my life and for my first lesson I was handed a 20-gauge loaner gun, told to put cotton in my ears, and builder’s apron was tied around my waist that held a box of ammunition. I then was directed to

Building A Skeet Field of Dreams Part 2

A lot has happened since my last post! Tons of schoolwork and practice.  With all the latest activities, the most exciting has been the Field of Dreams. We have both the skeet houses about 80% completed. That turned out be the easy part! There is a lot of planning and engineering that goes into a Skeet field, as we have learned. It’s not as simple as just building two houses. Everything must be on grade and all the angles correct.  Thankfully, two of our coaches have a background in engineering and survey, so they were able to lay everything out. This took a lot of time and extra careful planning and we got everything correct.  We are also thankful to have a few awesome carpenters on our team as coaches, and they have gotten the houses built. Recently, they got the stairs to the high house done, and will be putting rails on the stairs and top of the high house porch to make it safer to feed our MEC 300E Skeet Set machines dozens of boxes of White Flyer clays.