Sumpter surprises 'Top Shot' teammates
By GREG ALLMAIN
Federal Way Mirror reporter
March 23, 2012 · Updated 4:08 PM
This week's episode of "Top Shot" on The History Channel provided a surprise twist, with Federal Way Police Department Cmdr. Kyle Sumpter doing the twisting.
After a team challenge in which Sumpter's red team was defeated once more, it was Sumpter and company's task to figure out who would face off for the elimination challenge. The team challenge, which consisted of both teams firing a 3.2-inch Bag Gun cannon at targets 300 yards downrange, came down to a difference of one-eighth of an inch.
That close loss, coupled with a truly team oriented challenge, made the decision for elimination all the more difficult, Sumpter said.
"It was no one person's fault. As soon as we started firing, I was wondering how we could try and pick someone in any kind of fair way," Sumpter said. "There was no obvious weak link."
Sumpter said that once the red team got back to the house, his first suggestion was to make the process as completely random as possible. He felt the only equitable way would be to draw names out of a hat, flip a coin or similar chances of fate. However, his teammates were not totally receptive to his idea.
In the end, his teammate Chris Cheng led a discussion of everybody's gaffes in the competition up to that point, which sparked the ire of fellow teammate Tim Trefren. Sumpter said he felt the issue was mostly that Cheng gladly pointed out where everybody had screwed up, but failed to mention his own missteps early on in the competition. Trefern especially took offense, telling Cheng that his process would have resulted in a fight where he's from in Wyoming.
"Highlighting other people's weaknesses and asking us to overlook his, that didn't sit well," Sumpter said. "What you didn't see was that we had pieces of paper where we had everybody write the two names of the people who should be going to the elimination challenge. All six of them said Chris, including Chris's. He knew he had done something to upset everybody. Tim and Chee (Kwan) were split among the others. That's why we flipped a coin."
The result of that coin flip was for Kwan and Cheng to face off in the elimination challenge. But when the time came, Sumpter made his choice and fired at Trefren's target to nominate him for the elimination challenge. The former SWAT Team leader's experience kicked in, Sumpter said, when he made his choice.
"I could tell right then, this had to be resolved. It wouldn't solve the problem to send Chee home and still have Tim and Chris on the same team. The solution, to me, was to have Tim and Chris go to elimination. We could not have that rift because it would have made it impossible for us to win again."
Trefren and Cheng had to use the atlatl, a prehistoric projectile weapon. The atlatl is akin to a bow and arrow, but instead of a bow, the arrow is shot from a slingshot-like device. Trefren got out to an early lead until Cheng caught up and overtook him, eliminating the big game hunting guide from Wyoming.
For Sumpter, the successive losses for the red team were disappointing.
"Way back when I was picked to be the team leader, my goal was to protect them all, to take all eight of the red team and get to the green shirt phase," he said. "Now we've lost Keith, Iggy, Tim. I'm starting to feel a bit of a failure as a team leader. But, such is life. You can't keep them all around."
“Top Shot” airs at 10 p.m. Tuesdays on The History Channel. To read about Sumpter's past progress on last week's show, click here.
Contact Federal Way Mirror reporter Greg Allmain at firstname.lastname@example.org or 253-925-5565 ext. 5054.