In 1969, El Camino High School won State Championship Rifle Matches with La Sierra High School coming in a close second. As a result, El Camino High School was designated as the California Cadet Corps team to represent the State of California at the National Rifle Association sponsored National Matches that are held every year at Camp Perry Ohio. The La Sierra High School rifle team was designated as the alternate team in case El Camino High School could not attend. As a result of an ambitious fund-raising effort and marksmanship training program, both teams were able to attend and compete in the national rifle championships. Fund-raising efforts included selling greeting cards, selling candy performing car washes, cleaning apartments, and working at civilian rifle matches.
The first National Match Team from La Sierra High School was made up of Bruce Balvin, Mike Frerichs, Tom Thompson, Art Leuang, Kurt Murphy, and Ted Kline. The team flew from San Francisco to Chicago and then rented a station wagon for the rest of trip to Camp Perry, Ohio. Pictures form the trip are in the archive area. Click here for access.
An association was developed with the Roseville Rifle and Pistol Club for the use of their outdoor 50 yard outdoor range in exchange for maintenance work on the range and assistance at the rifle and pistol matches that they sponsored. This arrangement served both groups well for the next 10 years. Unfortunately this twenty point, outdoor fifty yard rifle range had to be closed because of the encroachment of a housing area behind the backstop.
In addition to the extensive fund-raising activities cadets attending the National Rifle Matches were expected to spend four hours a day, five days a week during the summer practicing intensively for the matches. Students from La Sierra, El Camino, San Juan, Grant, and Norte Del Rio consistently qualified to participate in the National Rifle Matches at Camp Perry each summer.
After shooting in the National Smallbore Prone and Position Rifle Matches, approximately eight days of shooting, many members of the California Cadet Corps Rifle Team served as volunteers to help the National Rifle Association run the National High-Power rifle matches. These cadets spent the next 11 days functioning as range officers on the firing line and as target officers behind the backstop. They were also actively involved with closing of the National Rifle Matches by assisting the National Rifle Association with the clearing of quarters and the returning of furniture and other materials to the Camp Perry warehouses.
Cadet volunteers received their room and board during the high-powered rifle matches and were paid approximately $5 per day for if their miscellaneous expenses. Cadets used their $5 a day stipend to help defray the costs of their trip to Camp Perry. Not only did this volunteer experience expose cadets to another rifle marksmanship discipline it also developed a spirit of giving, independence, responsibility, leadership, and a feeling of self worth in everyone that participated. These Cadets developed a reputation with the National Rifle Association for being hard-working and always responsible for the accomplishment of every task that they were assigned. Cadets were routinely asked to return to Camp Perry and assist with the matches as volunteers.
Kate Comer and Mark Christensen were the first Cadets to enter the Whistler Boy Trophy Junior Team Smallbore Rifle Match. The team copy of the original score card is shown below:
Read about the rescue of Grant Union High School Cadet Gary Johnson in Jewel Cave National Monument. Gary was traveling to the National Rifle Matches held in Camp Perry, Ohio with the California Cadet Corps State Rifle Time. Click here of the story published in The Valley Caver, the news letter of Sacramento's Mother Lode Grotto of the National Speleological Society. Pictures have been added to the original story.
Additional pictures taken at the National Matches are available in the restricted area archives. Click here to gain access.