Action Shooting Athlete Goes for Gold at Junior World Championship
“Blaine really does owe all his success to the SSSF and SASP programs.”Lori Simpson, SASP Parent
Blaine and his twin brother Aaron began shooting in the Scholastic Action Shooting Program as sixth graders, formimg the shooting team, Two2Shoot. Now with two Gold Medals under his belt from the 2023 Junior Olympic Pistol Championships, Blaine has been selected for the Junior World Championship and Junior World Cup teams for Sport Pistol.
“In the beginning they couldn’t have had any success without Scott and Lisa Poet-the Michigan State Directors,” said Blaine’s mother, Lori Simpson. “They held our hands and showed us the way, and really set Aaron and Blaine up for the success that followed. Aaron and Blaine usually compete for the top spot at the SASP National Championships in Iron & Optic Rifle, and have continued to be the Ohio State Rifle Cup Champions year-after-year. Aaron and Blaine shot 3-position air rifle for a while in the winter months, and then a year ago at the SASP National Championships Rick Leach-SASP Director, introduced Blaine to Vladimir Chichkov, and precision air pistol. With the support of SASP, Rick Leach, James Hall and Jim Henderson, Blaine started competing in air pistol. James Hall, SASP Director of Development, made sure Blaine had a pistol to get started, and has been a constant resource to Blaine. Jim Henderson-Director Cardinal Shooting Center, introduced Blaine to an electronic target and let Blaine shoot an electronic target once a week at the Cardinal Center. Blaine now has a primitive air range set up in the basement and he has everyone on speed dial when he needs coaching tips, encouragement and moral support.”
“When SASP started our international disciplines just under 2 years ago, we were met with some naysayers, said SASP National Director, Rick Leach. “We were told just because our athletes can shoot fast, doesn’t mean they will be able to shoot accurately and with precision. Our response was we have extremely talented athletes with a lot of drive and determination, and they can do anything they put their minds to. They love pressing triggers and competing and we need to open as many doors as we can to provide opportunities for our athletes to be successful.”
“I have had the great opportunity to mentor Blaine, said James Hall, Olympian and SASP Director of Development. “He’s a very attentive athlete and has focused on his goals and made significant improvements in the last year. I tease that one of my goals for him and other rising SASP athletes is to replace me on the podium! Watching Blaine and Aaron transition from action shooting sports to International disciplines is a testament to the vision SSSF had for including air rifle and air pistol in their offerings. Within shooting sports, there is a discipline for everyone, from our SCTP shotgun program to rifle and pistol. It’s been exciting to watch Blaine grow as an athlete across our programs.”
“The competitive shooting community has truly become his shooting family,” said Lori Simpson. “SASP has encouraged Blaine and Aaron to pursue their goals and dream big! Blaine has made so many lifelong friendships, and everyone is always rooting for one another. The shooting community wants success for youth athletes both on and off the range. We are so proud of his success. Blaine hopes his most recent two Gold Medals at the 2023 Junior Olympic Pistol Championships, and being named to the Junior World Championship teams is just the beginning. He can’t wait to represent the United States on an international stage.”