The Chesterfield Inlet Junior Canadian Rangers (JCR) patrol is on the cusp of naming its five-person shooting team that will seek to defend its Nunavut territorial championship and earn a second-straight trip to the national championship this year.

The Junior Rangers program was launched in the community in 2002. Ranger instructor Glen Brocklebank joined the program in 2003 and has been with the patrol ever since.

The Chesterfield Inlet patrol is putting together another strong team in 2023 in hopes of defending its Nunavut territorial shooting crown. The 2023 Canadian Junior National Air Gun Championship will be held in Truro, N.S., from March 23–26.

The patrol has it narrowed down to its top 10 shooters and is not far from picking its top five, with, to date, its highest score in the prone position being 92 per cent, and its lowest 71 per cent.

Nunavut JCR patrols held a mail-in competition to select their top five shooters in the spring of 2022, thanks to the lingering affects of the Covid pandemic.

The Nunavut air-rifle champion Chester squad comprised Sabrina Tanuyak, 16, Kayalaaq Leishman-Brocklebank, 15, Felix Aggark, 16, Kevin Kimmaliardjuk, 16, and Austin Mullins, 14.

The 2022 national event was held in Winnipeg during the Thanksgiving long weekend, with the Chester squad finishing an impressive fifth place overall out of 13 teams.

Each team must have at least one female shooter and one shooter aged 14 or under by May 1.

The Chester squad arrived late in Winnipeg, missing the first day of activities which included a trip to the zoo.

Brocklebank said arriving late to the competition made his shooters a little nervous, but they had time to check out the range and see the setup before they shot.

He said his shooters were given time to sight-in their pellet rifles and use the national competition equipment, which scores targets immediately and records the data to a central computer.

“As far as experience, it was our first time with these JCRs at any in-person shooting competition so we didn’t have anything to compare it to,” said Brocklebank. “Overall, the kids were happy with their performances, although they all wanted to do better in the standings, of course.

“We spent a lot of time practising all four shooting positions that we used in the territorial competition (prone, sitting, kneeling and standing ), only to find upon arrival in Winnipeg that the national competition only featured prone and standing shooting.

“As luck would have it standing was our team’s weakest stance, but it was a great experience for all our kids.”

Aggark said he had a great time at the national event and really misses Winnipeg, while Leishman-Brocklebank said she had a lot of fun with her team and had a great time at the competition.

“We had a lot of really funny moments,” said Leishman-Brocklebank. “Going to the aviation museum was also really cool.”

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