Groundbreaking Event Introduces Massive Endurance Racing Community to Guns & Shooting
Dropzone Gunner, presented by Kel-Tec, in partnership with 3-Gun Nation, held a groundbreaking event recently at the Manatee Gun & Archery Club in Florida. More than 100 competitors, a sell-out crowd for this limited event, took on a barrage of obstacles, with five shooting stations in the mix, in an event like no other.
The field, made up of veteran competitors of the obstacle course racing community, such as Tough Mudder, Spartan, etc., along with law enforcement, military, competitive shooters and complete novices, was unique to a firearm industry event, as many had limited or no shooting experience prior to the race.
“The goal is to provide an event for the industry that appeals to a larger audience, that is different, and that provides a better level of engagement for sponsors,” said race organizer Jeremy Griffin. “It’s a widening of the pool; it literally increases involvement in the shooting sports towards the 95% of the market that is traditionally ignored by most of our industry events.”
The draw for most competitors was the obstacles, and Griffin and his crew at Grizzly Targets, who designed and built the course, didn’t disappoint, constructing more than a dozen challenging props that forced racers to run, jump, climb and crawl their way through the course. Dropzone Gunner also featured two Battle Frog obstacles, as seen in races broadcast on ESPN. A natural terrain woods run, a muddy crawl under barbwire, and lots of shooting rounded out a unique competitor experience.
Everybody was hitting solid, and the guns ran pretty flawless out here today.Chris Hammer, Kel-Tec
“Competitor reactions were universally positive,” Griffin said. “Many said it was the toughest event they had done, and the chance to shoot the Kel-Tec firearms they have always wanted to was an incredible aspect of it as well.”
For this inaugural event, Kel-Tec signed on as the title sponsor, providing a selection of its rifles, pistols and shotguns to be used by each competitor on the five shooting stages. For many the stages provided first experiences shooting firearms such as the RDB and Sub-2000, and the impact was immediate.
“Everyone was really stoked about shooting them,” Kel-Tec’s Chris Hammer said following the event. “We make a pretty sought after product, so for a lot of people, this is the first time they’ve got to see it, so they’re excited to shoot it. Everybody was hitting solid, and the guns ran pretty flawless out here today.”
The one-day event featured several vendors from the firearm industry, giving more companies exposure to this previously untapped crossover market. Ultimately, Dropzone Gunner proved to be a highly successful event, one with tremendous potential to position the firearm industry squarely in front of new faces in an exciting, dynamic format.
“Incredibly successful,” Griffin exclaimed, “simply because of the competitor, spectator and vendor reactions. Dropzone Gunner brought people together who would never have ever thought about something like this.
Based on the reactions to Dropzone Gunner, 3GN and Grizzly are planning additional events in 2018, with more obstacles, bigger fields, and greater inclusion from firearm industry partners.
“Better user experience is always the goal, whether that is vendors, competitors or spectators,” Griffin said. “Opportunities to engage better are almost endless.”