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Fremont marksman wins championship at Camp Perry despite phy

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  • Fremont marksman wins championship at Camp Perry despite phy

    Fremont marksman wins championship at Camp Perry despite physical disability

    Toledo Blade outdoor writer Steve Pollick is reporting that Fremont marksman Greg Drown has fired his way to a national championship at Camp Perry in the difficult discipline of three-position smallbore or .22 rifle, and he did it from a wheelchair.

    Pollick writes that Drown, who copes with multiple sclerosis, scored 1195-73X out of a possible 1200 among 324 competitors to win the any-sight smallbore competition in what is called "3P" - standing, kneeling and prone positions.

    From the story:

    By rule, Drown is allowed to use what are called adaptive positions to compete from a wheelchair. "I developed multiple sclerosis gradually between 1995 and 2000. It was a shock," said Drown, 49, in an interview with the National Rifle Association, one of the hosts of the annual National Rifle and Pistol Matches at Camp Perry.

    But with the encouragement of family, friends and a chance meeting in 2001 with a policeman - Detective Brooks Harris of the Nashville police department - he continued a shooting career begun as a teenager. Harris inspired Drown to resume competitive shooting and serve as a role model for others.

    For standing position, Drown holds a hefty .22 target rifle without support, just like ambulatory shooters. For prone position, when others are on their stomachs and well-braced, he is allowed to shoot from a special table attached to his wheelchair, both elbows braced. For kneeling, he is allowed to rest one elbow, much as other shooters brace one elbow on a knee.

    "He works every day and is the most upbeat guy you ever want to meet," said Rick Kusmer. He works in Fremont at Mosser Construction, Inc., with Drown, who is in charge of masonry operations.

    "He shot for Ohio State in college," added Kusmer, "and was the captain of the rifle team in his junior and senior years. They won the Big Ten three out of four years. Greg tried out for the Olympics [1984] and in fact was asked to compete at their tryouts." Kusmer also noted that Drown was an avid triathlon athlete.

    "He never stopped shooting and as you can see he is pretty good at it."

    Pollick reports that just last month Drown won the Ohio outdoor three-position championship, also at Camp Perry. He competes in both the central and northwest Ohio rifle leagues.

    His shooting has become a family affair that includes his wife, Terri, twin 12-year-old sons, Dillon and Tyler, and 10-year-old daughter Jessica. At a match, they change targets for him and carry equipment to and from the firing line.

    "My family is a huge help," he said.

    Though he has won his share of state and regional titles, Drown said, "this was a surprise." The typically hot, muggy days on the Camp Perry range during the National Matches each summer challenge all shooters, but because of MS, Drown also has to fight against the fatigue the disease brings on. "It plays havoc on the body."

    But this summer's cooler weather was an unexpected bonus for him.

    "It was one of those things. I was doing really well this year. I'm always up there to do the best that I can."

    High Power Rifle competitions are winding down this week at Camp Perry. The 2009 National Matches conclude on Wednesday.