Shortly after I was crowned the 2015 NRA World Shooting Champion, John McHale of TrackingPoint, Inc. reached out to me with a phone call I just couldn’t believe. The conversation started very casually with an explanation of his products, a “precision guided” so to speak, rifle system that was capable of amazing things. With the press of a button, the TrackingPoint could lock onto a target, adjust for distance, weather, target speed, all the calculations a sniper has to do before setting up a shot, and guarantee a hit in the 90 something percentile… every time!! I was vaguely familiar with the TrackingPoint system as I had fired a few rounds back in 2009 when they first came out and had seen them displayed at the SHOT Show during the years. John also went onto explain that he has partnered with Taya Kyle, the widow of Navy Seal Chris Kyle of “American Sniper” fame and the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation. He said that the system works so good that even a novice like Taya has been shooting the TrackingPoint so well that he was calling to see if I would be willing to have a little competition. Not seeing the point, he went onto explain further that he would bet just about anything to get TrackingPoint into the hands of todays soldiers and make them safer and more effective on the battlefield. He wanted this competition to showcase Taya using TrackingPoint technology and me using todays current US Military Issue weapons. When he told me his plan I paused in silence for a moment not knowing how to answer but it wasn’t long before he sensed my hesitation. John said we’re going to raise a bunch of money for the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation at this event but we really want you there as the World Shooting Champion. We want you there so much, if you beat Taya and our system, I’ll pay you $1 Million Dollars………….. Now I’m thinking to myself, “Did I just hear him right?”
“I’m in Mr. McHale” and the plans were made for the December 5th event in Mason Texas.
What did I get myself into? I thought as I began to prep for the event. I did my homework on the TrackingPoint and made a list of it’s assets. Once the event organizers contacted me, they told me I would be shooting standard US issue guns; an M4 in 5.56, an M110 in 7.62 and an M2010 in .300 Win. Mag. Shots would vary in distance, target speeds, and sizes from unknown position. All aspects of the event would be kept secret from me until the day of the event. I reached out to Todd Hoddnett of Accuracy First, LLC., one of the most sought after sniper instructors in the industry. He fit me into his schedule for some range time instruction. Not knowing if I would be allowed range finders or wind meters/ Kestrals in the event, Todd wore me out on wind formulas and ballistic calculations.
December 2nd rolls around and I travel to Mason, Texas to meet with John and Taya. I got supplied with the guns for the event, a practice range and managed to get everything sighted in with the help of my wife acting as my pit crew for the week. The American Sniper Shootout was more than a shooting event with county bands, vendors, family games, a regular carnival atmosphere. Over 2000 people attended and what a perfect Texas day it was. The event was filmed for a documentary and it was quite a production. Without giving too much away, I returned home without the $1 Million Dollars in my wallet but we did raise over 1/2 Million Dollars for the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation. I met people and made friends that day that I will never forget. It was an honor to do my part to help or military families and first responders. Thank you Mr. McHale and Taya Kyle for making this happen.