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Addison teen claims junior world shooting title

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Posted on October 2, 2017 |
By Andy Kirkaldy



n Addison teen LEAD ShootingKid0012.jpg
MICHAEL DAVIS, 15, of Addison competes in a pistol event at last month's multi-disciplinary NRA World Shooting Championships, where he earned the title of NRA Junior World Champion and finished 63rd overall among 325 competitors, including sponsored professionals and military and law enforcement experts. Davis started shooting when he was five and competing locally two or three years later. Photo courtesy of Michael Davis

ADDISON — Not too many 15-year-olds list world champion on their résumés.

Addison resident, Vergennes Union High School sophomore and aspiring police officer Michael Davis does.

In Glengary, W.Va., between Sept. 14 and 18, Davis earned $1,000 and the title of NRA Junior World Champion at the NRA World Shooting Championships — for the second straight year, although he said there were more and tougher competitors this year.

Not only did he best a dozen other juniors in a 12-stage, multi-discipline contest designed to test all-around shooting ability with a variety of firearms, but Davis also finished 63rd overall in a field of 325 that included sponsored professionals and active military and law enforcement experts. Davis also took fourth overall in one event.

Davis, who has been shooting competitively for at least seven years, described the NRA championships as a unique challenge. The NRA provides all the firearms for events that range from distance rifle shooting to on-the-run pistol accuracy.

“This world championship is every major type of shooting combined in one competition,” Davis said. “This is the only competition that does this. You do not shoot your own guns, which is a big challenge, because you don’t know how they shoot. You’ve never picked them up, unless you’re fortunate enough to have one. But even then the gun is still different. All the guns are right out of the box. They’ve just been sighted and no one’s ever shot them. It’s a level playing field.”

And it’s also an event that Davis acknowledges is virtually tailor-made for him: Since he first picked up a firearm at the age of 5, he has never stopped shooting, and he enjoys all varieties almost equally.

“A lot of shooters only focus on one or two kinds of shooting, and not many do everything,” Davis said. “I am one of the very few shooters that shoot most different disciplines.”

LIKE FATHER…

There’s a good reason Davis started shooting as a kindergartener. His father, Timothy Davis, 57, was a champion National Guard marksman who helped the Vermont team win a national title about 30 years ago — and who also competed in September in West Virginia, although not as successfully as his son.

“He used to be on the Vermont National Guard shooting team, and he won the biggest National Guard shooting match in the nation. It’s called the W.P. Wilson Matches, 900 competitors from 13 countries, and his team came in first place,” the younger Davis said.

Michael Davis took to it quickly.

“I first started shooting competitions at 7 or 8 — local competitions,” he said. “But once I started winning those … then we moved on to regional matches.”

And then on to national junior matches. Davis finished third in 2012 in a Ruger Rim Fire competition in Allentown, Penn., and moved up to second in the same event in Tulsa, Okla., in 2013.

MICHAEL DAVIS, LEFT, takes aim during one of the many events that comprised the NRA World Shooting Championship held in mid-September in Glengary, W. Va. Davis, a 15-year-old Addison resident who followed in the footsteps of his father, also a championship marksman, earned the title of NRA Junior World Champion at the multi-disciplinary event. Photo courtesy Michael Davis.

In the inaugural NRA World Shooting Championships in Martinsburg, W. Va., in 2015 he finished fourth. In 2016 he won American Marksman Northeast Regional event, qualifying for this spring’s American Marksmen National Competition in Talladega, Ala., where he was 31st against all-age competition.

At least one sponsor has approached him to sign on, and at some point he hopes to ink a deal.

“I would love to,” he said. “I have talked to people in the past.”

Shooting is not his only pastime. Davis rows for the VUHS varsity club team, and he is a member of the local FFA mechanics team that won a state championship in May. This month that group will go after a national title. He is also restoring a 1957 Chevrolet pickup and building his own AR rifle.

But shooting tops his list. It’s the one activity Davis can always find time for and lose himself in.

“I’ve just always had an interest in shooting. Always been good at it, too. I guess it’s a calling to me,” he said. “It’s something I enjoy and don’t think is a chore. I row, and every so often I regret going to practice because it’s too hot or I just don’t feel like going that day. But shooting, I’m always up to do it.”

Davis also enjoys the camaraderie among competitors.

“Everyone is so nice. It’s competitive, but you also have people you are shooting against that will tell you what you are doing and how to do it, how the gun is shooting. They will give you every detail that they screwed up on and they will help you,” he said. “Most sports you don’t go up to people and say, hey, what is your secret? But in this sport everyone just tells you.”

LOOKING AHEAD

The events among the many at the NRA championship — they also included skeet shooting with shotguns as well as target shooting with a variety of rifles and pistols — that Davis enjoyed most both involved pistols and motion.

One featured a timed course that required competitors to move from barricade to barricade and fire — or not — at color-coded targets, some representing hostiles and some representing civilians.

The other required close-range shooting at paper targets while running, followed by firing from a barricade with a still-elevated heart rate.

Those challenges tie into Davis’s current career goal of becoming a state police K-9 officer, and he said he enjoyed the action and tactical element added by those events — and his fourth-place finish came in the latter of those two events.

“I just enjoy that kind of shooting because you get to move around and shoot behind barricades. I just find it fun,” Davis said “It’s more than just standing still and shooting a gun.”

Davis has another goal on top of pursuing law enforcement as a calling: He hopes to represent the U.S. in the Olympics.

“I want to shoot skeet or biathlon,” Davis said. “It’s a goal in life that I set high. Excuse the pun, but I’m going to shoot for it. Always aim high and make your goals high, otherwise you’re not going to get anywhere in life.”

Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at [email protected]

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