A Family Affair - Team Wigger

Ron Wigger (standing) with father Lones

Ron Wigger (standing) with father Lones

Aug. 1, 2013

WEST POINT, N.Y. - Army head rifle mentor Ron Wigger had a busy week at the NRA National Outdoor Rifle and Pistol Championships hosted at Camp Perry, Ohio, during the latter half of July.

After coaching members of his squad to impressive performances against a challenging field of collegians, Olympians and members of USA Marksmanship Unit, he left the coaching side to compete alongside family members on Team Wigger that finished runner-up in the National Smallbore Prone Any Sight Team Championship.

Team Wigger was comprised of Ron Wigger's father, mother and siblings. Lones Wigger, the patriarch of the family and an Olympic Hall of Famer, was joined on the four-man squad by sons Ron and Danny Wigger and daughter Deena (McDorman), with the matriarch of the family (Mary Kay) a unanimous choice for coach.

As a unit, the Wigger Team has compiled impressive hardware over the years on both the collegiate and the national circuit led by Lones, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and four-time qualifier. Ron and Danny Wigger competed as members of the Eastern Kentucky rifle teams and Deena matriculated at Murray State, where she was an All-American and 1988 Olympian who placed 10th in smallbore.

Ron Wigger, who reached the 100-win plateau this past year as the second winningest rifle coach (103) in Army history, has impressive pedigree in the sport he has grown up in as a spectator, competitor and coach.

Wigger was a member of the Eastern Kentucky rifle team that finished third at the 1983 NCAA Championships, and several years later was among the final six shooters vying for one of two spots on the 1992 Olympic Team. In 2004, he competed for one of two berths in smallbore prone at the Olympic Trials.

Wigger finished runner-up at the USA Shooting National Championships in 1987 and 1991 and was a member of the All-Guard Smallbore Rifle Team that captured the 1993 national championship. Continuing on the competitive circuit, Wigger was crowned the smallbore prone champion in the Master Service (Military) category at the 2006 National Championships en route to finishing seventh among 256 shooters in the Open Division.

He was runner-up at the 2008 Senior Men's Prone Rifle, while finishing 37th out of 93 competitors. In 2012, he was selected captain of the US International Dewar Trophy Team comprised of the top 20 smallbore prone shooters in the country that competed against Great Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

On the collegiate level, Wigger was named "Coach of the Year" in 2004 and 2005 by the Collegiate Rifle Coaches Association and is a three-time Great America Rifle Conference (GARC) Coach of the Year. He has led the Black Knights to 10 straight NCAA berths, to include the program's first NCAA title in 2005.

With the endless list of impressive resumes among Team Wigger, it is not surprising that each member of the family shot a perfect 400 score as one of just three teams among 45 competing to achieve a perfect score of 1600. Team Wigger was led by Army coach Ron Wigger, who recorded a 400 with 35 X's (center shots) in beating his brother Danny and father Lones by one and two shots, respectively.

Team Black Hawk captured the national title after edging Team Wigger in X's, 138-133, while Digby Hand Jackson settled for the bronze with 132 X's. Included among the teams competing was the Army Marksmanship Gold Unit that finished fifth (1599 point) with 134 X's.

"In all the teams my father has competed on, he has never been on one that shoot a perfect 1600," said Ron Wigger following the competition. "We competed as a team four years ago, but this is our highest finish."

While Ron Wigger also commented that "everyone had very little time to train, practicing the week before competing," it certainly didn't seem to affect their performance for a family that has probably one of the finest pedigree in competitive shooting.

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