By Vera Koo, Women’s Outdoor News, Published September 30, 2015

Competing at the Bianchi Cup is not for the meek and faint hearted. The national event can be very intimidating because of the high number of participants, plus the spectators. The energy is high-powered. Thriving at Bianchi Cup requires consistent practice. It requires proper preparation. It also requires calm nerves. To hone your skills in those areas, I recommend that shooters compete in state and regional tournaments throughout the year, so they will feel at ease when they compete on the big stage at the Bianchi Cup.

In my 19 years competing at the Bianchi Cup, I have watched as the number of female participants has grown from 8 to as many as 41. Participation also has grown greatly among male shooters. One-third of the shooters at Bianchi this year were new shooters. Unfortunately, participation in state and regional matches hasn’t escalated quite the same way.

Each year, I will see rookie shooters compete at Bianchi, but then I do not see many of these rookie shooters at the regional tournaments at which I participate.

Shooting in regional matches should be viewed as part of the job description if you want to excel at Bianchi Cup. Regionals are like a testing ground. By participating at these smaller-scale events, you can condition yourself for the national match. Five years ago, I competed in 16 events in one year, and I still compete in multiple events throughout each year.

The regional match at the Chambersburg Pistol and Rifle Club in Chambersburg, Pa., is one of my favorite regional competitions, and I have competed there the past 6 years.

“You don’t get near the prize or the grandeur or the exposure as you do at Bianchi, but it’s definitely a training ground,” said George Martin, the match director and club vice president at Chambersburg.

This year, the regional took place on July 18. It was followed the next day by a state match, the Keystone Cup.

The regional attracts primarily shooters from the Northeast. Competitors from Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, New Jersey and New York have joined the in-state competitors over the years. However, the regional also has attracted shooters from California, Louisiana, Ohio, South Carolina and Canada.

The setting at the Chambersburg Pistol and Rifle Club is ideal. The range is set 100 yards off a road in a residential area. The driveway leading up to the range is lined by pine trees and gives you a heart-warming feeling, almost emitting a Christmas vibe. The grounds are made for comfort for the shooters, with canopy-covered picnic tables scattered around.

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