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'Top Shot' ride ends for Federal Way police officer
Federal Way Police Department Cmdr. Kyle Sumpter was eliminated from "Top Shot" this week, falling one round short of the finale in The History Channel's popular shooting competition show.
Finally coming to the end of his run was bittersweet, Sumpter said. He was still proud to have acquitted himself well in the high pressure situations so common to "Top Shot."
"All three events in that episode were things I could have done better," he said. "But, that is also the beauty of the competition. There are no do-overs or second chances. You step up and give it your best."
This week's main challenge revolved around the Browning M-1919, a fully automatic .30-caliber chain-fed machine gun. The M-1919, throughout its long history, has usually been mounted on vehicles. For Sumpter and his competitors, the M-1919 was placed on an M2-A1 halftrack vehicle that had actually seen combat in World War II. The shooters' task was to hit 15 targets, 15-25 inches in size, that were 25-100 feet downrange. The largest issue the competitors had was either running through their ammo too quickly, or in Sumpter's case, conserving too much ammo.
"Their objective was to spray at the targets and hope for the best. I've never been inclined to do that, so I tried to be more precise. You see the round count at the end. I didn't even use half of my ammo, while three of them used all of theirs. If I was in the middle of the pack only using half of my ammo, and if I had used the rest of my ammo, might I have done better? I shouldn't have been so precise and sparing with the ammo," he reflected.
Sumpter's score after hitting five targets had put him in the danger zone for elimination. While it appeared that the consensus was to send contestants Gary Shank and Augie Malekovich to the elimination range, Malekovich decided otherwise, and forced Sumpter into another tiebreaker round.
"During Season 4, there were only two tiebreakers, and I was involved in both of them," Sumpter said.
For Sumpter, the ironic thing about being forced to the tiebreaker against Shank was the fact that Shank had not made a single bullseye at the nomination range leading up to this nomination round and the subsequent tiebreaker.
"Gary had not hit the bullseye the whole season. He missed one by six inches, once. Until this nomination. He steps up there and cracks a bullseye. Then it comes down to a tiebreaker between me and him. Can he hit that twice? I bet not. Here's a guy who hadn't hit the bullseye the whole time, but when it matters the most, he hits almost dead center. He left me about a quarter inch, and I expected to improve on it," Sumpter said.
His shot against Shank in the tiebreaker is the only shot Sumpter said he wished he could try again.
For the elimination challenge, Sumpter and Malekovich faced off in a variation of what's known as the Keep In Memory game, or K.I.M.'s Game. In this challenge, they were using the FN PS90 carbine to shoot 10 targets. The K.I.M. part came from the fact they had to memorize 10 specific targets that were scattered among a field of 30 targets. Along with the memorization, they were required to climb across a 20-foot rope bridge and attempt to hit the correct targets, all within 75 seconds. They got a point for every correct target they hit, and minus one point for every decoy target they hit.
"When it came time to pick up the gun, I could only remember seven of the 10 objects, but not remember them with enough specificity to distinguish them from the decoys. I had to shoot a lantern, but there were three lanterns up there. There was a card in a picture frame and there were at least two of those up there, but was it the seven of clubs or something else? I just had to go with what appeared the most familiar," he said.
Even with not winning, Sumpter said his time on "Top Shot" was very fun and worth the time and effort.
"I was extremely fortunate to be selected for this show, and forever grateful that I had the opportunity. I met a bunch of new friends, and got to shoot all those challenges. I've had a great time watching it on TV with my family and friends and co-workers," he said. "It's been a fun ride, and I'm sorry it's over."
The season finale of "Top Shot" airs at 10 p.m. Tuesday, May 1, on The History Channel.