OUTDOORS: Local shooters set sights on bigger targets
Two Indiana County junior rifle shooters, Cassidy Fairman and Kevin Kerin, have stepped up in their ranking among state and nationwide junior shooting programs.
Fairman, 15, competes with .22-caliber match and .177-precession air rifles in three-position shooting. Shooting less than two years, she placed third at the state match held at Murrysville Sportsman Range this past summer.
After attending a clinic at Clymer’s Range at Mack Park, she qualified for a hard-to-earn spot to train at a clinic conducted by the Army Marksmanship Training Unit at Fort Benning, Ga.
Before going to Georgia, she was required to attend a clinic with the West Virginia University rifle team. West Virginia’s rifle team is ranked as one of the top teams in the nation.
Fairman is the daughter of Jamie Fairman, of Creekside, and Paula Ambrose, of Indiana. She has her sights set on earning a scholarship for rifle shooting at Kentucky State and majoring in psychology.
Kerin, 17, fires three position with .22-caliber match rifles during the winter months, and during the summer he switches to high-power military-style rifles. High-power shooting is done at ranges that vary from 200 to 1,000 yards.
This summer he attended the National Rifle Matches at Camp Perry, Ohio, where he trained with the Marine Corps rifle team. He finished in the top 10 percent of the nation’s competitors in the Infantry Trophy Individual Match.
By being in the top 10 percent in two matches, he earned his bronze medal plus four more points toward his silver medal. By earning a total of 14 points he started his climb to the 30 points required to earn the gold, the Distinguished Rifle Badge.
The Distinguished Badge is the highest shooting award offered by the military. It is offered to military and civilian shooters alike. In this type of competition a shooter must use all military-style equipment with strict shooting rules.
Kerin is the son of David and Bianca Kerin, of Indiana. He has his sights set on following his father into the National Guard and shooting with the National Guard’s national team, the “All-Guard Squad.”
Fairman started her shooting career in October 2011. Kerin started his career in October 2009. Both started their careers with the Indiana County Junior Marksmanship Training Unit (Clymer Junior Rifle Club), under the coaching of Joseph F. Benamati.
“Shooting scores that good in such a short period of time is a rarity,” Benamati said. “I can teach shooting techniques, but I can’t teach the enthusiasm they have.”