USA Shooting Team member Nic Moschetti summed it up best.
“I’m lucky to get to shoot with some wounded warriors,” he said. “I think it’s awesome. We all get to do what we love.”
Once again the Capitol City Gun Club hosted the WSF/USA Shooting Team Sporting Clays Shoot on Thursday, giving veterans who are wounded warriors a chance to shoot with USA Shooting Team members. The event is presented by the Wild Sheep Foundation, the USA Shooting Team and Wounded Warriors Outdoors.
Matt Amos of Mount Hope, Kansas, who served in the U.S. Marines, said he always enjoys coming back to the event in Carson City. “I love the facility and the people are phenomenal,” he said. “I’ve been a hunter all my life.”
Amos lost both of his legs when he stepped on an improvised explosive device in 2011 in Afghanistan. Amos became involved with Wounded Warriors Outdoors during a black bear hunt in British Columbia, Canada. “That was a game changer for my starting recovery,” he said.
He added through Wounded Warriors Outdoors, wounded warriors realize “you’re not alone. It’s always fun and therapeutic.”
Brian Meyer, another U.S. Marine veteran, went on that hunt with Amos and was also in the hospital with Amos. Meyer, who’s from the Florida panhandle, said he fell in love with hunting during that hunt. He had a good reason. “I actually had the biggest bear out of the group,” Meyer said.
Meyer has also hunted in South Africa and hunted dove in Argentina. “I really love to go hunting,” said Meyer, who had never been hunting before being wounded.
“It’s made a life long hunter out of me,” said Meyer about Wounded Warriors Outdoors.
Meyer was a bomb technician in the military but lost his right forearm and hand when trying to diffuse a bomb in Afghanistan. Meyer was right-handed so he had to learn how to shoot left-handed, no easy task since he only has a ring finger and pinky finger on his left hand.
As far as the USA Shooting Team members, they’re now gearing up for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics. “Of course the 2020 Olympics are the goal,” Moschetti said.
The World Championship Trials are coming up this spring in Tucson, Ariz. There will be several World Cup event this year with the World Championships to be held in the fall in Italy. The Olympic Trials also begin this fall and will also be held in the spring, 2020.
“It’s really a four-year process but it’s getting really hectic now over these two years,” Moschetti said. “It’s go time. The time to qualify starts right now.”
Moschetti, who will try to qualify for the Olympics in skeet, won a silver medal at the 2018 Junior World Championships. “Everybody’s focusing on qualifying,” he said. “We have so many talented athletes in the U.S.”
About representing the U.S. in the 2020 Olympics, Moschetti said, “That’s something I’ve been shooting for since I was a little kid,” said Moschetti, who began shooting when he was 12.
Moschetti also said he was impressed with the Capitol City Gun Club facility. “It’s a great place for the community to be able to come out and shoot,” he said.
Gracin Anderson is another USA Shooting Team member who will try to qualify for the Olympics in women’s skeet. “I think it’s pretty even across the board,” said Anderson about her chance of qualifying. “We all are about the same level.”
Anderson also said she was impressed with the gun club. “I think it’s really nice,” she said. “It’s really pretty. It’s a nice view.”
Kevin Neuendorf, the director of marketing and communications for the USA Shooting Team, said the organization’s focus is to have as many American shooters on the medal stand during the 2020 Olympics.
“We had a great 2018,” said Neuendorf about a year in which the U.S. became the best in the world in shotgun events. There are 15 Olympic events and the U.S. can qualify two in each event so there are 30 spots for the Americans.
The U.S. met the Olympic qualifying standard for 11 of those 30 spots in 2018. “That’s a real good year,” Neuendorf said. “We’re pleased with the progress we made in the last year.” He projected the U.S. would fill 26 of the 30 spots available in all the Olympic events. He said the U.S. should fill all its spots in the shotgun and rifle events while it still has a ways to go in the pistol events.
One USA Shooting Team member who was at the event on Thursday who should lead the way in pistol was Nick Mowrer, who finished 15th in free pistol in the 2012 Olympics. He was also a bronze medalist in the 2014 World Cup at Ft. Benning in men’s prone rifle and placed fourth in mixed team in the 2018 World Cup at Ft. Benning.
Other USA Shooting Team members at Thursday’s event were Julia Stallings and Jake Wallace, who was a gold medalist in mixed team at the 2018 World Cup in Tucson. He also hold the world record with a perfect score of 125 out of 125 in trap that he set in 2014.
Neuendorf said of those who were at Thursday’s event, some were “leading the charge” when it comes to the 2020 Olympics while others were “moving up the ladder.”
There’s one disadvantage the team faces, Neuendorf said. “We continue to struggle with the fact we’re not government funded. Countries across the globe are government funded. That puts us at a disadvantage the moment we start on that line.”
Other Wounded Warriors who participated in Thursday’s event were: Joshua Sust, Marines; James Kelly, Army; J.D. Williams, Army; Jason Pacheco, Marines; Yancy Baer, Army; Anthony Marquez, Marines; Joseph DelFrate, Marines.