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Baby Steps, and Shooting!

How to start a new sport



From the first snap of the football when the game was invented in 1892, it took seven decades before the first Super Bowl was played. Basketball was slightly quicker to mature; invented in 1891, seven years later there was a national championship when the six existing teams battled for the title (won by the Trenton Nationals).

So, it is impressive to see a new sport so quickly host a national championship: With its first competitions last year, Powdr Shot, a new sport that brings wintertime biathlon to summertime, plans to host its first national championships this Saturday at Mt Bachelor's Nordic Center.

"Powdr Shot" takes its DNA from already existing sports—mountain biking and trail running—and is kissing cousins with biathlon, a centuries-old sport that intersplices target practice into Nordic skiing and has been in Winter Olympics since 1960. Last year, Powdr Shot hosted several competitions around the country, including a modest-sized race held mid-summer in Bend. And, this year the sport has tried to expand, hosting events in Utah, Colorado, and Vermont, although a mid-summer event at Mt Bachelor was canceled and organizers reportedly are considering calling off the national championships this Saturday.

Tina Brubaker, a local cyclocross racer, competed last year in Bend, and was impressed with how fun the sport is, and how inclusive. She brought along her 12-year-old son, who was able to compete given that the loops are quick and short. Her father-in-law, an ex-state trooper and mountain biker, also competed, even though he hadn't raced in 15 years. The combination of biking and shooting was appealing to him, and he also brought along a friend, a cop from Bend, but who had never raced on a mountain bike. "He shot five out of five each time," says Brubaker admiringly. "It was just really a family environment, and really conducive to bringing different levels out," she adds. "And, it is so random, which is what makes it really fun. Really? Shooting in the middle of a bike race."

She owns what she calls a "varmint rifle," but calls herself a beginner shot and missed a couple of times, and had to take one or two penalty laps. "I don't have zero gun experience," Brubaker says. Even so, Brubaker finished third overall.

"I was shocked at the low turnout," she claims.

At press time, the race is still scheduled, but needs more competitors to register by Thursday. This Saturday may or may not be history in the making for the new sport of Powdr Shot.

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