Officers prepare for speed shooting competition

By Scott Graves

Triplicate staff writer

Crescent City resident Bob Saylor stood dead still in the middle of the forest, his hand poised above his holstered pistol.

At the word go he grabbed his 9mm gun and began walking, turning side to side, squeezing off shots one after another.

Bang! Bang! Bang! The human-shaped metal targets fell one after another. Bullets ripped into the remaining cardboard cutouts.

It was over in less than 10 seconds. Not bad. But was it good enough for California Police and Fire Games?

In June, Saylor and his three-man shooting team will travel to San Bernardino County for the 34th annual competition that draws law enforcement officers from throughout the state.

Its the first time that a group of correctional officers from Pelican Bay State Prison has entered the contest. Funds raised by the event, which includes track, fishing, wrist wrestling and shooting contests, will be shared with a variety national non-profit groups.

Saylors team includes Crescent City residents Steve Redmond and Mark Hazelton, and Brian Patton, of Brookings, Ore. The team will compete in the speed shooting contest.

This is a good chance for us to compete against other law enforcement officers from throughout the state, Saylor said. Its also a good opportunity to get some recognition for law enforcement people here in Del Norte County.

Saylor and two other team members recently met for shooting practice on a wooded piece of private property just outside of Crescent City.

Bob is teaching us different techniques and timing skills, Mark Hazelton said after firing at the targets. He keeps changing scenarios around because we dont know what theyll give us at the games.

Hazelton and Patton said they have a lot to learn from Saylor, who competes regularly in speed shooting contests in California and Oregon.

Saylor has been featured in a number of firearm magazines. He took first place in the 1990 National World Speed Shooting Contest. He was recently named Top Cop at the Oregon State Shooting Championship.

Because of Del Norte Countys remote location, Saylors team has relied on local sponsors for support and supplies.

The metal targets used for target practice were made by local welder Don Ness. A local grocery store has offered to provide food and drinks for the teams trip down to Southern California.

The team is also being sponsored by several large international firearm supply companies.