SHOOTING: Team USA is locked and loaded

By ERIC VICCARO and DANI BLACKBURN

sports@bowienewsonline.com

Team USA shooters descended on Willa Walla Shooting Range in Dye Mound last week to hone their craft before the Rio Olympiad.

Shooting sports begins on Aug. 6, and runs through Aug. 14. There are several shooting disciplines involved – ranging from rifle to air pistol and trap to skeet.

According to the Rio Olympics’ website, shooting as a sport originated in Europe – and there are German clubs more than 700 years old.

The first American shooting federation began in the 1870s. Women began participating in Olympic shooting at Los Angeles in 1984.

“We feel like we are doing our part for the Olympic movement,” said Nita Weger, who owns Willa Walla along with her husband, Johnny. “We’ve known these people for more than 15 years now,” Weger added. “They are kind of like our own.”

This marked the second time Team USA trained at Willa Walla, which also served as a practice ground for the 2004 Olympics in Athens.

“To Johnny and me, this was a golden opportunity,” Weger said. “We’ve gotten to know a lot of young people, and watched them grow up. We’ve formed some close relationships.” Read more in the July 27 Bowie News.

Members of Team USA Shooting practice at the Willa Walla Shooting Range in Dye Mound on Friday. Willa Walla has served as the training ground for Olympic shooters for the past two decades. Josh Richmond is seen in the foreground. (News photo by Dani Blackburn)