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Sumpter’s ‘Top Shot’ team gets back on track
Federal Way Police Department Cmdr. Kyle Sumpter’s red team found its way back to the winner’s circle on this week’s episode of “Top Shot” on The History Channel.
Contestants on the marksman show were tasked with completing a series of trick shots this week. Sumpter’s red team won the challenge easily, 9-7, over the blue team.
“It was nice for the red team to get back on the victory path,” Sumpter said. “We were long overdue for it.”
The red team had jumped out to an impressive lead early this season, before losing a couple of challenges in a row and, subsequently, a number of teammates.
For this week’s challenge, the shooters competed in five trick shot stations using the Remington M1911 semi-automatic pistol and the Volquartsen Ruger 10/22 rifle. The first two challenge stations required pinpoint accuracy in using the M1911 to shoot bowling pins. The first station required the shooter to propel one bowling pin through two others without disturbing them. The second, which was Sumpter’s challenge, required the shooter to push the lead pin in either direction to pick up one of the other pins, much like picking up a spare in bowling.
“We thought it was going to be easy. I was surprised when I missed the first shot,” Sumpter said of his 2-for-3 performance at his station.
The FWPD commander explained the strategy his team took for its practice round, and why his station ended up being more challenging for him than he expected.
“Each team gets limited time and ammo for practice, and we recognized fairly quickly that the can challenge would be hardest, so we gave Gary (Shank) some of our practice ammo to get him more practice on the cans,” Sumpter said. “Gary shot quite a bit of ammo. Two rounds is all we fired at those bowling pins in practice.”
The can challenge Sumpter referenced required the shooter to hit a paint can full of water 30 feet downrange in order pop another paint can on top of it into the air. The shooter then had to hit the top can while it was in midair. The extra practice afforded to Shank paid off, with the firearms instructor going 3-for-3 in the challenge, and giving the red team a lead the blue team could not overcome.
The two challenges that used the Volquartsen rifle required shooters to hit a bottle opener 75 feet downrange to open a bottle of soda, and hit gum balls a half-inch in diameter 35 feet downrange. Sumpter said the rifle shooters for this week’s episode had an incredibly difficult task.
“The wind, combined with those shots having to be so precise, along with standing with no support, those were incredibly difficult shots,” he said. “Wind affects handgun shooters, but not to the degree it does for a rifle shooter.”
This week’s episode revealed that a deep discord was present among Sumpter’s opponents in the blue team, something he found surprising.
“I was totally unaware of that. I had heard some ripples of it, but I was surprised when they nominated William (Bethards) to go elimination. I did not realize it was as significant as it was, until I saw it on TV on Tuesday night,” he said.
To watch online streaming episodes of “Top Shot,” visit www.history.com.