Missouri State students make their Missouri Statement in a variety of ways. Some make their statement with chants and cheers, others with melodies and harmonies. For the members of the Missouri State Marksman Team, they make theirs with a “BANG.”
A Brief History
The MSU Marksman Team is a club-sports team which focuses on firearms: proper use and safety, as well as recreational and competitive shooting.
The roots of the team began with the ROTC Department’s Pershing Rifles Organization in the late 1960s, and later evolved into the Pistol and Rifle Team in the 1990s.
The team ended in 2012 but started up again in 2013 and changed its name to the Marksman Team in spring 2016.
Matt Buck is a senior construction management major and the president of the Marksman Team. The team only had four members when he joined in the fall of 2014. Now, the club has around 60 members—and a third of that number are female members.
“It’s one of those sports where anybody can be included, no matter who they are or any kind of disabilities they might have, and that’s what I love about it. It’s all-inclusive,” Buck said.
Unlike other sports, a person does not have to be athletic, tall or muscular to be a competitive shooter.
“(With) just a little bit of focus, paying attention and good habits, you can become a pretty solid shooter,” Buck said.
Honing the Skills
The team shoots at the gun range in Hammons Student Center and travels to area gun ranges such as the Andy Dalton Shooting Range which is northwest of Springfield, and the Busiek State Forest and Wildlife Area which is just south of Springfield.
The team practices their marksmanship once or twice a week.
“It’s one of those things where it’s a competition, so you’ve got to stay on that edge,” Buck said.
NCAA rifle shooting uses air rifles and small-bore firearms like .22 rifles. Since the Marksman Team is a club sport and not associated with the NCAA, members are free to shoot firearms that use larger bullet sizes, such as .223-caliber and .308-caliber rifles. The team also uses shotguns and handguns.
Members always practice the highest level of safety while shooting. A designated risk manager is present. Proper hearing and protective equipment is also used.
Family and Camaraderie
Buck and Marksman Team Secretary Kourtney Karg said that the team is like a family.
Karg ran cross country and track in high school, but lost that “team” feeling when she came to MSU. She had been shooting since she was 10 years old and found the Marksman Team at the New Student Festival last year.
“I joined this team and it’s like ‘oh, I have a team now again.’ We do everything together. We’re like family,” Karg said.
The shared interest and love for shooting build the camaraderie and friendships found on the team.
“You have a specific thing that everybody enjoys. We always have a good time,” Buck said.
The Marksman Team does other fun things, like going to the Verona Corn Maze for The Zombie Harvest Paintball attraction as well as helping the ROTC students run the rappelling tower, the Bear Battalion.
If you want to make your Missouri Statement with a “BANG,” The Marksman Team meets Monday nights at 7 p.m. on the third floor of Plaster Student Union.