Lewistown’s rimfire event is state championships

LEWISTOWN — The Lewistown Pistol Club will be the host for the Rimfire Challenge 2018 Pennsylvania State Championships, which run August 17 to 19 at the club.

Andrew Ewing, assistant match director of the state championships, is one of the main reasons the club is hosting them to begin with. It all started when the club began running rimfire challenges three years ago.

“Lewistown has been running these rimfire challenge matches, about three years ago we ran one and last year we asked the Rimfire Challenge Shooting Association if we could rename the event the state championships. They agreed and licensed out the state championships to us,” Ewing said.

The event is growing each year and this August, Ewing and match director Ron Singer Jr. expect to have close to 120 participants for the championships. According to Ewing, the key to growth is getting sponsors on board.

“Two years ago, it was 50, we had 60 last year, registration is open now and we have about 45 spots already filled. We expect to have 120,” Ewing said. “Getting manufacturing companies is huge for growth. With sponsorships, the participants can come win prizes and that draws people.”

While growth is important getting too big too fast isn’t. Ewing, a one-man promotion machine for the club, wants to fill the slots faster each year, but not get out of hand.

“The big thing for us is to fill our slots. We want to get to a point where we are selling out year after year and trying to get Central Pennsylvania more involved,” Ewing said. “We want to see that 120 fill up more and quicker each year. We’d like to grow but not too much past the 120 we have now.”

Rimfire shooting is gaining in popularity. One of the reasons is it’s relatively inexpensive compared to other shooting disciplines and easier to learn. Ewing hopes that rimfire shooting will draw the younger generation, the future of the sport.

“It’s a speed shooting discipline all .22, half rifle and half pistol. They shoot each for one overall time with the lowest time getting the highest ranking,” Ewing said. “We sell monthly matches in the same discipline the first Saturday of every month. There is a handful of disciplines to get into. Why we focus on rimfire is its very family focused and it’s a good discipline for youngsters to get started in. They are the future of our sport and rimfire is a good place for them to start. Our focus is to get the younger kids out so the sport continues to grow.”

Another purpose for holding the state championships here is to increase membership in the club.

“We want people to join but they are more than welcome to come, watch the state championships, and get to learn and enjoy the sport,” Ewing said.

The Lewistown Pistol Club is located at 25 Ridge Runner Lane behind Walmart and Lowes. For more information go to the Lewistown Rim Fire Facebook page (www.facebook.com/LewistownRimfire) or the Lewistown Pistol Club website (lewistownpistolclub.com).