Tech Shooting Club Coach Sets 7 National Records

PHOENIX, Ariz., March 22, 2016 – New Mexico Tech Shooting Sports Club coach Virginia “Ginger” McLemore brought home more than a satisfied contingent of young marksmen from the Black Widow Arizona State Metric Prone Rifle Championship in Phoenix over the March 5-6 weekend.

McLemore lifted first-place honors in several categories on her way to the Arizona State Championship title, but that’s still not all. She also put her name in the National Rifle Association (NRA) history book by setting seven new national records. The records will become official upon final certification, largely a formality.


Shooting Team Coach Ginger McLemore cleaning rifles with students.


Shooting club student president Troy Vigil and teammate Vincent Herrera also competed in the tournament and witnessed their coach’s heroics.

“She’s been shooting really well.” Vigil said. “She is trying to qualify for a national shooting team.”  

Vigil refers to the Roberts Team, which competes in England every eight years against that country’s best shooters. According to the Shooting Sports USA website, it is “the most prestigious international conventional prone rifle competition held” and is widely regarded as the shooting equivalent of golf’s Ryder Cup or sailing’s America’s Cup.

The Roberts Team will be chosen this July at the NRA National Conventional Rifle Championships in Bristol, Indiana and will travel to Bisley, Surrey in August 2017 to take on the English team. The 12 team members are chosen without regard to gender.

“I made the team in 2009,” McLemore said, one of three women to do so. An NRA newsletter reports that year’s competition as a win for the English team.

“I started shooting trap (shotgun) as a teenager with my grandfather. I started shooting prone .22 competitions about 1994. I have shot high power since 1984 and have been coaching since 1984.”

In her other life McLemore is senior economic geologist at the New Mexico Bureau of Geology at Tech.

She and her husband Jim McLemore received a special award from the New Mexico Tech Sports Club program in the spring of 2015 in recognition of their many years of guiding young shooters.  Jim assists Ginger with instruction while also helping with much of the gear and equipment the club uses.

A little technical information is useful in understanding Ginger’s accomplishments in Phoenix. Smallbore competition called for entrants to shoot in the prone position at distances of 50 yards, 50 meters, and 100 yards, using iron sights on Saturday and scopes on Sunday for a total score of 3,200. 320 shots were then recorded to determine total scores. The course of fire is the Dewar (20 shots at 50 yards, then 20 shots at 100 meters), 100 yards (40 shots), 50 meters (40 shots) and 50 yards (40 shots) - all in the prone position - for a total of 1600 points each day and an aggregate score of 3200.

McLemore shot a 400 with 27 center shots in the any-sight Dewar match, which broke the Senior Record (formerly 400 with 26 center shots). In the any-sight aggregate on Sunday, McLemore shot a total score of 1,584, which broke the NRA Open, Senior, and Women’s records (formerly 1,583). Then, for the two-day aggregate (and Arizona state championship title), McLemore shot a 3,149, which also broke the NRA Open, Senior, and Women’s records (previously 3,141).

The Tech Rifle Team isn’t finished with March Madness smallbore matches.Coach McLemore accompanied several students back to Phoenix over spring break (March 13-20) for the NRA National Metric Smallbore Rifle Championship and the Western Wildcats Championship - a total of seven days of shooting!

Vigil, who is a sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering, will travel to Ft. Benning, Georgia to compete in the NRA Collegiate Club Rifle Championships March 18-20.

When asked about his shooting experience, Troy said, “I have been shooting competitively for nine years. I started with rifle, archery, and shotgun with my local 4-H club in my hometown of Nokesville, Va.”

Tech students are welcome to try out for the rifle team. A good place to start is by attending air rifle practice any Monday evening at 5 to 7 p.m. in classroom one of the gym. The team is preparing for several additional prone rifle championships as well as the New Mexico Air Rifle Championship and it is not too late to join in. The New Mexico Shooting Sports Club has numerous additional events. Contact club president Troy Vigil (tvigil@nmt.edu), instructor Jim McLemore (jmclemore@prrc.nmt.edu) or coach/faculty sponsor Dr. Virginia McLemore (ginger@nmbg.nmt.edu) for more information.

– NMT –

By Dave Wheelock/Tech Sport Club Coordinator