Throwback Thursday: Patches Edition
While preparing for a yet-to-be-published post I was going through the box of shooting-related things from my childhood. In it I found one of the first awards I ever earned from shooting and one of my more recent achievements. Both "trophies" are in the form of patches, and both represent what it means to be a participant in a lifelong sport like target shooting.
The first award I would have received somewhere around 1997 or 1998. It is a patch from the NRA/Winchester Marksmanship Qualification Program that my junior rifle club sponsored. Through the MQP, participants shoot a certain type of target a certain number of times, aiming to get a minimum score to qualify for various levels of marksmanship achievement. When you earn each level, you are rewarded with a bar to sit under the larger MQP patch. This patch and the "Marksman" level bar underneath represented the first time I shot scores worthy of moving up a level (the basic level is Pro-Marksman, but I couldn't find that patch). This was one of the first milestones I achieved at the start of my journey in competitive shooting.
The other award, also a patch, represents the culmination of years of hard work and training: The NRA Distinguished Expert award in three position smallbore rifle. Over four years passed between the time I earned the first "leg" of my distinguished badge and when I finally got the fourth and final leg. I am immensely proud to be one of the 440 people to have earned this title, and I am so grateful for the people who believed in me, coached me, and encouraged me along the way. This badge is mine because of you.