PORT HARDY—Kolby Beattie, in full gear and bedecked with a pair of medals, joined seven seven fellow Junior Canadian Rangers for a walk across the Port Hardy Airport tarmac and a triumphant welcome Friday at Port Hardy Airport.
But it was tough to top the trip he made earlier in the week, when he was born upon a shoulder-mounted chair by four Canadian Rangers as the nation’s top junior marskman.
Beattie earned Canada’s top overall marksman award and all eight North Island participants earned medals in a banner showing at the annual championships, held this year at CFB Valcartier in Quebec.
Beattie posted a score of 722 over 12 shooting stages, which included prone, kneeling, standing and sitting positions.
“It was awesome,” said Beattie, who grew up in Port Alice and now lives in Port McNeill. “It was not anywhere close to what I expected to get.”
The eight North Island JCR shooters — Alert Bay’s Cynthia Jones; Beattie, Josiah Waines and Michael Wickstrom of Port McNeill; and Sarah Case, Adam Gough, Buddy Miller and Brandon Sparling of Port Hardy — were among 65 shooters between the ages of 12 and 18 taking part in the national championships. They were part of the 15-member delegation from 4 Canadian Ranger Patrol Group (4CRPG) which comprises patrols from Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia.
Each patrol group’s shooters were divided into three, five-member squads for team shooting competition, and all three of the 4CRPG shooting teams scored top-3 finishes in the competition.
“It was all about meeting and working with the other Junior Canadian Rangers,” said Wickstrom. “The teams got along great all week.”
Case, Sparling and Wickstrom each brought home gold medals after 4CRPG’s Team B won the Team Skills competition, which featured accuracy competition in disciplines ranging from archery, slingshots and darts to beanbag toss, ball throw, basketball shooting and bowling.
Back on the air rifle range, Beattie and Gough earned silver medals with Team A/4 CRPG, which was second overall in the team shooting competition. Jones, Miller and Waines claimed bronze with a third-place showing for Team C.
“I went with the expectation of doing OK,” said Waines, “but not nearly as well as I did.”
The marksmanship competition featured shooting in the prone, kneeling, standing and sitting position. Beattie joined the Junior Canadian Rangers about a year and a half ago, and has been shooting “less than that,” he said.
A minor hockey veteran who has played both in and out of goal, he credited his athletic training with helping him in last week’s championships.
“Through sports, I’ve always been able to control my heart rate and breathing,” he said.
Skills that come in handy when you’re being borne on a litter to a medal presentation a few thousand kilometres from home, no doubt.