SPARTA — With three shots remaining in the $100,000 Grand Challenge, Michael Obert seemingly had the money in his pocket.
He had a two-shot lead on Stephen Fitch, but missed the shot. The event capped the 2012 Grand American at the World Shooting and Recreational Complex.
“That was nerves,” Obert said.. “That shows where I was. I was nervous, everybody standing back there looking at you.
“It was just nerves, pure nerves. I shot too quick, didn’t move.”
Obert made the next shot, but still had to hit the last target to claim the money. A miss would have allowed Dale Stockdale back into the competition. Stockdale ran a perfect 25 in the first round, but broke just 21 targets in the second.
That final shot was worth $100,000, and Obert knew it.
“I was just trying to hold it together,” he said. “I was trying not to make another mistake, just trying to take it a bird at a time.”
Whatever Obert, who shoots from the 24.5-yard line, told himself before the last shot worked. He smoked the final target. He plans to save the money for his two grandchildren.
In the meantime, Arkansas resident Jessica Self claimed the inaugural $50,000 Ladies Grand Challenge.
Self took the money by hitting a perfect 25. She eliminated half the 10-shooter field with the perfect score. Self didn’t know she had to break at least 23 targets to remain in the competition.
“Actually, my brother made me walk down a little ways where I couldn’t see anybody” she said. “We just sat down there and talked like a brother and sister would. We just joked around.”
However, when Self reached the final post she was aware that everyone else in her squad had a miss.
“I was just trying to keep everything out of my mind and just realize I still had a few targets to go,” she said. “I put my head down and stayed with it.”
After claiming the title, Self took great pleasure in writing her name on the over-sized ceremonial check.
“That was a lot of fun,” she said. “I never signed my name to anything this big, except a car payment.”
Self admitted it was a heady experience.
“It’s a lot to take in at one time,” she said. “I’m just so excited because there are so many people here watching. I didn’t let the crowd get in my head.”
Emily Effermeyer of Ravenna, Mich., shooting in her first Grand American, took the $15,000 second prize, topping Sandra Luchetta of Boulder, Colo., in a shoot-off.