Bar's Eusebio Takes World Speed Shooting Title
Big Dogs Howl as 11th Grader Stages Spectacular Upset
PIRU, Calif. — In the end, the last man standing barely came up to the shoulders of his world-class squad mates. But K.C. Eusebio, a Southern California high school student from Diamond Bar, proved he had all the right stuff in a spectacular upset at Saturday’s Steel Challenge. The "fastest gun alive" is 15 years-old and can’t even buy his own competition pistol for six more years.
"It’s pretty cool," said K.C. after besting a field that included the best shooters in the world — names like Leatham, Jarrett, Miculek, Vidanes and Koenig. "Man, my gunsmith owes me some money now!"
The much-anticipated three-way duel between last year’s winner Rob Leatham, three time Steel Challenge champion Doug Koenig and this year’s Limited champion Todd Jarrett failed to materialize as all three masters stumbled early in the day.
"It’s the bullets," Jarrett said as the temperature climbed toward a sweltering 100 degrees. "They keep going around the targets and not hitting them. Sometimes over the targets. Or under."
Instead, as the wind-whipped dust piled up in finely tuned Open blasters, the match was suddenly between Eusebio, the perfect So-Cal kid in Oakleys, reversed ball cap and baggy shorts, and the gentlemanly revolver phenom from Louisiana, Jerry Miculek. Stranger still, Eusebio was shooting a full "race gun" built by fellow Filipino Johnny Lim, a semi-auto designed for pure speed; Miculek was using his trademark Smith & Wesson revolver, albeit with a compensator and red-dot sight.
The battle continued all through the day, with each man no doubt waiting for the big dogs in the sport to pull some miracle out of their gun bags and reclaim the top spot. But by the last stage, the Speed Option, with four 12-inch plates at distances from 8 to 20 yards and an 18x24-inch stop plate at 35 yards, it was clear that the match was between "the kid" and the "old guy."
shot first, stuttering at first, then delivering three record-setting
times for a revolver. His fourth time would have been considered extremely
good for a mere mortal, but Miculek knew it wouldn’t hold if K.C. delivered
the kind of stunning speeds he’d been reeling out all day.
Eusebio’s first run was par, nothing special. His second run, though, was a disaster. The gun jammed, and as the high school student raced to clear the jam, the seconds painfully ticked away. More than one world-class shooter would have fallen into pieces after such a disaster. Eusebio calmly reholstered and delivered two more runs at progressively faster speeds that left all the world records in shambles. His fifth run — the run that won the match — was fastest yet…so fast that the veteran members of the super squad were left shaking their heads and worrying about pension plans.
"My strategy after the jam?" said K.C. after the match. "I didn’t have one. It was, like, just go for it. All or nothing, man. All or nothing."
All it was as K.C. walked away with a total time of 69.22 seconds and the coveted World Speed Shooting Championship.