Six of the NWT’s best marksmen arrived home last week after spending the last month training for, and competing in, a high-profile shooting competition put on by the Canadian military.

Flying the Canadian Rangers banner in Ottawa are Joey Pogotak (Ulukhaktok), left, Dexter Lafferty (Fort Resolution), Frank Green (Paulatuk), Allan Pogotak (Ulukhatok), Ella Archie (Aklavik) and Samantha Dick (Aklavik). photo courtesy of Capt. Stephen Watton

None medalled, but they did better than last year and plan to put on an even stronger show next year.

A team of eight Canadian Rangers, and one spare, were sent down south to represent the NWT and Nunavut in the Canadian Armed Forces Small Arms Concentration, among hundreds of their peers from the armed forces around Canada.

The competition, known as CAFSAC, took place in Ottawa over 12 days in early and mid-September. The Rangers participated in seven competitions, shooting targets at distances of between 25 metres and 500 metres.

The Rangers were sent down on August 18 and spent the first two weeks training and CFB Petawawa and then the second two weeks competing.

Ranger Sergeant Frank Green prepares to fire the .303 Lee Enfield rifle during a practice session. photo courtesy of Capt. Stephen Watton

When News/North reached Ranger Ella Archie at home in TK on Sept. 20, she’d only been home a day.

“It feels good to be home,” said Archie.

The training was nothing like what she expected, she said, but was very constructive. Particularly helpful was training on what to do before pulling the trigger.

“[It was] a lot of shooting,” said Archie. “We had to do each match, one every day. It kind of took a toll on some of us. We all managed to get through it and I’d say I did really well, and we all did pretty good at the competition.”

She said the Rangers worked together really well as a team during the intense month of training and competing. Capt. Stephen Watton wasn’t surprised at how well the team gelled.

“Any time you see a red T-Shirt, red ballcap, red hoodie, they certainly know each other,” said Watton. “Rangers tend to stay together, stick together, work together.”

The members of the team were selected at a gun camp held in Whitehorse this past May, among Rangers from across the North.

Archie says her skills improved a lot this year, and if she’s invited to go again next year, she just may do it—but she’ll cross that bridge when she comes to it.

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