Welcome to your weekly Top Shot post which recaps the episode from a contestant’s point of view. Long post and spoilers follow, so click below the jump to read the recap!
The episode opens with Red Team returning to the house after the elimination challenge. At the time, I was surprised to see that Kelly beat Mike out – I didn’t know until AFTER the challenge exactly how good Kelly was with a rifle, and he turned out to be absolutely unflappable under pressure. I admit I sold him short, and after that challenge I gained a ton of respect for his abilities both in the limelight and as a shooter.
That evening was pretty hilarious, actually. What you don’t see in the episode is The Mike Seeklander Memorial Dart Tournament to see who got his bed, Blake’s impersonation of Colby, and the invention of the ADL: the Asian Dart League (don’t ask where we got the name).
The next day, we were on to the practice session, where we met Ben Stoeger, a top ranked USPSA Production shooter with a Beretta 92, and as such a logical choice to teach us the ways of the force/Beretta. Blue Team had in my opinion a HUGE advantage going in to this challenge, as we were stacked deep with pistol shooters. Blake, JJ, Chris, Adam, Tara, Iain, and me all had lots of experience with pistol shooting and both the speed and accuracy necessary to make any shot on any one of those tubes. In the episode, our concern as Blue Team was Jim, who struggled with the pistol in practice. In his interviews and with us he confided that he wasn’t comfortable with the pistol. We hoped as a team that we’d have the option to bench him for the challenge, as that would eliminate our weakest link.
Too bad that didn’t happen. At the actual challenge, it turns out Red Team got to pick who would sit, and they picked Blake after hearing about his shooting during the practice. The challenge itself consisted of shooting a series of glass filled tubes that reduced in size from 4 inches to 1.25 inches in diameter. Red Team went first, and they had some trouble – 5 team misses (one from Brad, two from Frank, and two from Bill) cost them a lot of time and left the door open for us on Blue Team. Blue Team stepped to the line, and Jim on the large tube missed his first shot, but then we really stepped up: as a team we went 1-for-1 on each tube after Jim, completing that run with Chris doing a great running reload of the 92 to set it up for Jim.
Jim stepped up, and…nailed his shot. With the reload and the miss, we were still almost 30 seconds faster than Red Team, giving Blue Team our second win of the series!
Back the house, there was a little interpersonal drama. Red Team, having been dealt two losses in a row was having a bit of internal conflict as Brad, Frank, and Bill’s personalities began to clash. This hashed out at the elimination range as after a complicated vote and a tie-breaker, Brad and Frank ended up in the elimination challenge: the Zipline.
The consultant for the zipline was Matt Burkett, 3-gun and USPSA shooter who has shot the Zipline at the MGM Ironman (the inspiration for this challenge) multiple times. In the elimination challenge, Frank and Brad tied on the first round, forcing a re-shoot. In the re-shoot, Frank hit only one target to Brad’s five hits, making him the second player eliminated from Top Shot.
Frank was an all-around hilarious guy to have in the house, and as one of my 7 roommates our room got a lot quieter after he left. Next week on Top Shot is the archery challenge – look for english longbows, balls of fire, and fleeing Frenchmen!