The second renewal of the National Commercial Bank (NCB)/Jamaica Rifle Association (JRA)/Jamaica Invitational Pistol Tournament promises to be bigger and better when the tournament shoots off on Saturday at the JRA headquarters on Mountain View Avenue.
The event, which was launched at the NCB Wellness and Recreation Centre last Wednesday, has seen an increase of over 50 per cent in participants, with over 60 shooters already registered to compete.
This will also include 12 overseas entrants, four from the USA and two each from Canada, Trinidad and Tobago and the Cayman Islands, of which four are grand masters, the most ever grand masters to contest a local tournament.
Among the overseas competitors are last year's overall champion and two-time USA national and world champion, Chris Tilley.
The 2011 USPSA champion and seven-time Florida State winner, Shannon Smith, will also be among the competitors, along with local Grand Master, Lesgar Murdock.
And with special attention being paid to the females as well this year, Florida Open Ladies champion Kaci Cochran is expected to give the men a real run for their money.
"This is a sport where the men and women compete on a level playing field and I expect Cochran to upset a few men," stated assistant match director Andrew Gardner.
Gardner also believes the Jamaican shooters will be hard-pressed this time around to keep hold of their titles.
"But the Jamaican shooters will be looking out for each other to make sure that the titles stay in Jamaica," he said.
The tournament will be divided into three divisions — Open, Limited and Production — and competitors will contest these divisions under Grand Master, Master, A, B, C, D and U classes with the divisional winners taking home U$500 and a trophy.
According to NCB's manager for sponsorship and promotions, Julian Patrick, the bank was happy to be back on board for the tournament and is looking to help take the sport to new levels.
"Last year we took the sport to new heights, and this year we want more recognition," he said.
"But we are into supporting diverse sports," he continued. "Somebody has to support the non-traditional sports, because not everyone will succeed in football and track and field... and we would like to have our own Usain Bolt of shooting," he added.
The tournament will commenced at 8:00 am on the scheduled date and will conclude with a closing ceremony at 6:00 pm.