Over 450 Attend Ceremonial Opening of Gary Anderson CMP Competition Center at Camp Perry
July 21, 2014Civilian Marksmanship Program▸The First Shot▸Over 450 Attend Ceremonial Opening of Gary Anderson CMP Competition Center at Camp Perry
By Ashley Burgnone, CMP Writer
CAMP PERRY, OH
On July 7, 2014, the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) celebrated a monumental marker in its history with the dedication of the new Gary Anderson CMP Competition Center, located within Camp Perry in Port Clinton, OH. Around 450 guests toured the center throughout the day to see the state-of-the-art electronic air gun range, modern architecture and design, as well as display cases that feature authentic memorabilia from the many accomplishments of the center’s namesake, Gary Anderson.
“Considering what people usually have to do to get their names on buildings like this, I’m very honored,” Anderson, who personally attended the event, joked.
His overwhelming marksmanship career began as a member of the elite U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit at Fort Benning, GA, in 1959. He went on to produce two Olympic gold medals, seven World Championships, six World Records and 16 National Championships. In 2012, he was awarded the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Olympic Order. The Order is the highest award given by the IOC and is awarded to individuals for distinguished contributions to the Olympic Movement.
Anderson has also been an extremely significant part of the history of the CMP, serving as Director of Civilian Marksmanship, Emeritus. Under his guidance, the CMP installed eleven new events to the National Matches, helping to expand opportunities for eager young competitors. Through his teachings and encouragement, he continues to be an influential figure for competitive shooting.
“Having my name on this center is really a humbling experience. A lot of people have contributed to making this center work. It’s more than just me,” he said. “To build the sport, you have to have a place with leadership and programs. Now we have this major center, and the CMP has a great set of programs, so we really have a great foundation for building a bigger future for the sport.”
Surrounded by his relatives who attended the ceremony, including his son, daughter and sister, Anderson briefly addressed the crowd before walking up behind the blue ribbon draped across the first set of pillars of the building’s entryway.
Helping Anderson cut the ceremonial ribbon was Ian Foos and Brooke Nofzinger, two active junior marksmen from the Port Clinton area, and Max and Annalise Georgi, his grandchildren.
The juniors held the scissors in place upon the ribbon and posed for photos before receiving the command from Anderson to snip away. As the two halves of the ribbon fell to the ground, the crowd clapped, and the Gary Anderson CMP Competition Center officially opened to the public.
All in attendance were invited into the large reception area of the complex to witness a special unveiling of the Dedication Target, created by artist Jerry Antolik of Hudson, WY. Antolik has prepared many pieces of art for the CMP, including the impressive wall mural on the south wall of the 10-meter air range.
The Dedication Target depicts symbols of Anderson’s marksmanship career and will be on permanent display in the reception area of the new center. Mainly a European practice, commemorative targets have been a shooting tradition for centuries – often depicting special events or community members. In the past, marksmen took actual shots at the targets, but the tradition has transitioned into only decorative paintings.
Besides honoring the great accomplishments of Gary Anderson, the commemorative piece is meant to set the tone for all who enter – inspiring competitors to work towards their obtainable dreams.
During the unveiling, servers distributed flutes of champagne to Dedication attendees as a ceremonial toast was given. The burgundy cloth hiding the Dedication Target fell to the ground, and with ooo’s and ahh’s, the crowd applauded as they gazed upon the impressive piece for the first time. Visitors moved from the reception room into the Common’s Area, where they were able to indulge in trays of delicious bakery cupcakes as they gawked at Gary Anderson’s authentic competition memorabilia, displayed throughout.
“[The Center] is beautiful. I walked in and the first thing I noticed was the cargo netting on the ceiling,” said Sam DeWalt of Oak Harbor, OH. “I thought it was really neat. I might do that in my basement!”
Ginny and Scott Charlier of Dayton, OH, had never been to an air range before. Not only did they have the opportunity to fire an air gun for the first time, but they were also captivated by the content inside the Common’s Area, including true Olympic items and a piece of the Berlin Wall.
“It’s like a museum,” said Ginny. “I was really surprised to see all of it. Very impressive.”
Once inside the world-class, 10-meter air gun range, guests were invited to participate in a special prize shoot. Those up to the challenge shot ten lead pellets at the electronic targets down range – five practice shots and five record shots. To ensure any competitor had a fair shot at winning, the experienced and inexperienced marksmen alike, a secret x/y coordinate was chosen prior to the shoot. The participant closest to the coordinate would determine the winner of the grand prize – a CMP M1 Bavarian Carbine, donated by Gary and Ruth Ann Anderson.
Carmen Bova of Edison, NJ, managed to fire the winning shot – making her the envy of nearly 450 shooters.
“I was in shock! I’ve never won anything except $1 on the lottery!” she said with a laugh. “It was pretty amazing. I’m very happy, and pleased, and honored.”
Carmen was at Camp Perry for the first time, with her family, the day of the prize shoot. Her son, Nicholas, was at an NRA event while the rest of the family, husband Vincent and daughter Alyssa, attended the First Shot Ceremony. Later on, Nicholas and Vincent took a walk over to the new Gary Anderson Competition Center, to see what it was about. They were so impressed with the range, they urged Carmen and Alyssa to try it out for themselves.
The girls had never fired an air rifle before, but they were willing to give it a shot.
“It was fun! We really enjoyed it,” she said. “And the facility is beautiful.”
Alyssa, 12, has been reluctant about trying firearms in the past, but now that she’s fired an air rifle, she seems to have the itch.
“With the outdoor shooting, she was always kind of like, ‘I don’t want to do it,’” Carmen explained. “But now I think she wants an air gun for Christmas.”
Once back in New Jersey, Carmen plans to keep her rifle in a safe place on her mantel, next to a picture of her family and Gary Anderson.
“I don’t want to damage it! It’s perfect! It’s a great conversation piece,” she said with a smile.
No competitor in the prize shoot went home empty handed. Each received a printout of their targets – personally autographed by Anderson, who stayed the duration of the day, until the last pellet was fired. He exhausted two permanent markers in the process.
“It was a great day. Truly humbling to have such an overwhelming turnout,” he said.
Gary Anderson’s Personal Message:
Congratulations to Carmen Bova!
The winner of the Dedication Prize Shoot and the Winchester “Bavarian” M1 Carbine, SN 5741019, was Carmen Bova.
The pre-designated x and y coordinates for the Dedication prize shoot were x –5.42, y 6.55. Carmen Bova’s winning shot scored x -5.53, y 6.99. The winning shot was 0.45 mm away from the pre-designated coordinates. This is less than one-half of a millimeter. The next closest shot was 0.70 mm from the pre-designated coordinates. Six different shots were less than one millimeter from that spot.
We wish to thank and “congratulate” each of the 448 persons who shot in the Dedication Prize Shoot for their participation. The range was busy all day on 7 July from the late morning until 7:00 PM. Special thanks must go to the CMP staff and Range Officers who worked tirelessly the entire day to make the prize shoot a success.