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Shooters gather in Hallsville

Wednesday, May 24, 2006 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 9:21 p.m. CDT, Friday, July 11, 2008

For Helen Jeavons, the sport of Action Pistol Shooting is not about winning and losing. It’s about how she shoots her highly specialized, Italian-made Tanfoglio 9mm semiautomatic pistol.

The Harrisburg resident is one of the best female Action Pistol shooters in the world, and she will test her skills against competition from other world-class shooters from the United States and 12 other countries this week in the 2006 NRA National Action Pistol Championship at the Chapman Academy of Practical Shooting in Hallsville. She placed second among women shooters in the 2005 tournament.

Action Pistol Shooting is a sport involving four separate events, each focusing on specific shooting skills. The Practical Event has shooters hit stationary targets at different distances. Shooters must shoot steel plates over in the Falling Plate Event. Targets at different distances move in the Moving Target Event, and shooters must hit targets while remaining behind walls in a confined area in the Barricade Event. The competitors are under time constraints, and their pistols must be holstered until given the signal to begin firing. All of these skills are crucial to success in the sport.

“You’ve got to be competent in all of them if you want to be in contention for the top position,” her husband, Grant Jeavons said.

Helen Jeavons came to the quirky sport in an indirect way. She had never shot a pistol competitively until she married her husband, in 1992. Grant Jeavons was in Columbia from his home in New Zealand to compete in the championship in 1988, and they met at a mutual friend’s house. After shuffling to and fro like one of the targets they shoot, Grant Jeavons went home to New Zealand, but returned for the tournament in 1990. Helen Jeavons then moved to New Zealand with him in 1990, and the couple was married two years later. After her father’s health problems, the couple moved back to Missouri.

“I wasn’t involved in shooting at all,” she said. But her husband’s passion for the sport


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