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FWPD commander survives first episode of 'Top Shot'
Federal Way Police Department Cmdr. Kyle Sumpter survived the first episode of The History Channel's "Top Shot."
The network's popular show pits some of the country's best marksmen against each other in a series of inventive challenges. Sumpter said it was enjoyable to see himself on his TV on a nationally broadcast show.
"It was a lot of fun," he said. "I enjoyed watching it last night (Feb. 14). It was the first time contestants got to see the show. We weren't given a preview. I had a lot of fun doing it, and had a lot of fun watching it."
For the first episode, Sumpter and the 17 other contestants faced a challenge immediately. Two contestants were going to be eliminated within the first 15 minutes of the episode, something that Sumpter said was revealed to the contestants the day of filming.
"We knew in previous seasons there were 16 contestants, and there were 18 of us there," the FWPD commander said. "So when Colby (Donaldson, the show's host) stepped up and said we we're gonna shoot right now, and two of you are going home, it didn't come as a total surprise."
Sumpter said the early elimination round was both fun and cold hearted. It was fun because it allowed the contestants to show off their skills right off the bat and get into the swing of the competition — but cold hearted in the fact that two of the contestants, who went through multiple hoops just to get to that point, would be off the show right at the beginning.
The first challenge in the season premiere involved the contestants shooting an M-14 rifle at a target 200 yards downrange. The gun was one Sumpter was familiar with, but not at an expert level.
"I've shot an M-14 before, but not a lot," he said.
The second challenge of episode one was a team challenge between the blue and red teams. Contestants were tasked with using a Ruger Vaquero six-shooter pistol (think Old-West style gun), and shooting six targets in a row. There were eight rows of targets, with the targets getting smaller from top to bottom. Sumpter, representing the red team, finished his row in one go.
"I had never fired a cowboy gun like that until that competition," the pistol proficient Sumpter said.
Outside of the competitions themselves, Sumpter said the most surprising thing about watching the show on TV was to see how much footage of interviews and other interactions between the contestants gets left on the editing room floor.
"I'm anxious to see what happens next week. There were hours and hours of interviews that didn't make the episode, hours and hours of following people around the house. I'm interested to see what editing choices the producers made. I'm also anxious to see what the shooting competitions look like on TV."
For more information on "Top Shot," visit www.history.com.