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Owens Armory 2017 Battle Royale Champion, Phillip Velayo

Written by Phillip Velayo

A wise man once told me, “Shoot against yourself.” Well it turns out, when you actually apply it, it works out.

First and foremost I’d like to thank Nick Owens and Felipe Tomas Meraz and their RO crew for hosting a fun and safe match. I can’t thank you guys enough for the amount of sacrifice and work you guys put into something this big. Christopher Tressler thank you for all your behind the scene work! Another big thanks to Gunsite Academy for allowing us to use the range as a venue and hopefully we can continue to use it in the future.

Huge thanks to Travis Ishida, Tyler Frehner, Ian Kelbly and all the other board members for putting together the National Rifle League. From the outside looking in I believe its meeting your mission and intent of growing and education of the competitive long range shooting sport.

The course of fire was fun, simple and straight to the point. A field match that consisted of 11 prone stages and 9 alternate positions with a generous par time of 120 seconds each stage. However, all the competitors can agree that the wind brought its own set of challenges on both days. Day 1 we were fighting 18-22 mph winds and targets with only trees as a backdrop so if you missed you had no idea if you needed to hold more or less wind! And even with calmer winds on Day 2, it played tricks on us! I remember during one stage I was holding .2 left on my first shot and then .2 right on the follow-up reengagement because of the change in direction! Mirage was contradicting with splash, so you didn’t know what the hell to hold. A learning experience for sure!

Congrats to the top finishers! And also congrats and thank you to all those who came out of their comfort zone to support the National Rifle League and shoot their first national level precision rifle match! I know how intimidating it is to come out in your first showing in front of some of the top shooters of the country, but you never know what your capabilities are until you get out and shoot! Regardless of where you finished, I hope you had a great time, learned your strengths and weaknesses, but more importantly introduced yourself into this tight knit community. Just last year around this time I shot my first match at the NorCal TBRC, after being recruited by James Jeffries to do so and I haven’t stopped learning and having fun since. I’ve met some of the most patriotic and genuine people that this country has to offer. One of the best things about this sport is meeting the diversity but like-minded quality of people this sport brings in.

The guys from Squad 9 and the rest of my SoCal Precision Rifle Team brothers, you guys are awesome but more importantly like my extended family. I always enjoy shooting with you all whether it would be at practice, local matches, or national matches. No matter how much crap we might talk to each other in our secret chat, our camaraderie and teamwork is always noticed from the RO’s and other competitors. Solomon Manansala no homo, not only do you continue to be my greatest inspiration and coach in this sport, but more importantly a role model in real life as a Marine, husband and father. So thank you.

To the SPONSORS that donated to this match and all that continue to donate to this port. THANK YOU! Nick and Felipe again thank you for building the 6.5×284 hunting rifle I was able to pick up off the table.

To MY sponsors thanks for providing me with the gear and equipment that continues to set me up for success. Mark Gordon at Short Action Customs, thank you for giving me the opportunity to be a representative and ambassador for your company.

Honestly I am still blown away. Words cannot describe how thrilled I was to find out I had won. After finding out that I was on top after day 1 the pressure was on going into day 2. But in the back of my head there was a little voice that kept telling me to “Shoot your game and shoot against yourself.” Coming into this 2017 season I was completely content with shooting and competing where I could and when I could and just slightly climb closer and closer to the top. I’m hungry and ready for what the rest of this season will bring. Thanks again to all that stuck with me!

Team Short Action Customs
Short Action Customs, LLC
Short Action Precision
Kahles Shooting
Swarovski Optik Hunting
Team Area 419
Manners Composite Stocks
Ian Kelbly
Kelbly’s Inc.
Tony Burkes

One last thanks to CONX Media for providing media coverage on the event and for all the bad ass photos!

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