Written by Amanda Funke
Amanda Funke is the wife of NRL Athlete, Conrad Funke. Amanda has been supporting her husbands precision rifle career all year long, travelling with him when possible, and cheering him on at every match this season. Amanda shares her unique perspective at the 2017 NRL Championships, as a spectator and observer of the sport.
How This All Started
A little background on me and how this all started. In April of last year my husband decided to shoot his first National Rifle League match. That match we met a lot of great people and had a lot of fun. Throughout the year we traveled to Colorado, Oklahoma and New Mexico where he gained enough points to qualify for the inaugural NRL Championship Match.
The NRL Championships
The final match was in Las Vegas, hosted by a local rifle club Sin City Precision. The match was a 3-day event. Friday was pretty short day, we headed to the range where Conrad checked in with the NRL staff and zeroed his gun. After that we got a chance to catch up with friends. The NRL staff set up a bowling night for everyone at the Santa Fe Casino, which is where we were all staying. PRIME Ammunition provided food and drinks for the night, and everyone could bowl if they wanted to. It was nice to meet some of the other shooters, their spouses and hang out outside of the range.
Saturday was the Day 1 of the match and it started pretty early. I think we were at the range by 630 AM where breakfast was waiting for us. Shooters gathered around the match director for instructions for the match and a safety brief. After that, the American Flag was raised, and we sung the National Anthem. Everyone then broke up into their squads and headed to their starting stage. The squads were formed by rank so I got the chance to meet new people. When we get to each stage I like to look for the targets and read the stage description so that I know what the shooters are going to be doing at the stage. I will also take pictures and video when Conrad is up. Saturday was a little chilly, with a little bit of rain, but overall a fun day. That night a few of us stayed at the casino, had dinner, and hung out. Sunday was another early day. The sun was out but still a little chilly. After the Pledge of Allegiance the shooters broke up into their squads again and headed to their first stage of the day. The rest of the day was sunny and had some fun stages like shooting off the hummer, connex box, ladders, etc.
Once the squad shot the last stage everyone cleaned up and headed back to the casino for the banquet. Caracal USA provided food, while Kelblys, H-S Precision, and Area 419 provided kegs at the banquet. CONX Media put together slide show of pictures and videos of the whole season, that were shown while everyone was eating and waiting for the scores to be finalized. All the sponsors that put prizes on the tables for the shooters and ROs were awesome!
What I’ve Learned
On Sunday our squad was finishing up stage 5.9 Speedracer, when the next squad came over to get ready to shoot that stage. A female shooter walked up to me and asked if I shoot. When I said that I do shoot, but not matches, she asked why not. I have been asked a few times by some of the shooters why I dont shoot. Truth is I am intimidated by the clock. It usually takes me forever to set up, find the target and then shoot, so having to find the target and move into different positions would be challenging for me haha. Everyone says that it just takes practice and it is a lot of fun. They are right, so I am going to give it a try and hopefully shoot my first club match in March. Between the club and national matches that Conrad has been to over the past year, I have learned a lot in how to help find the targets, positions, etc. We have met a lot of great people and everyone is always willing to help eachother out. Thank you to the NRL and Sin City Precision for putting on a great match and fun weekend. The shooting community is a great community and it is great to see all the sponsors and families come out and support the shooters.