Editor’s Note: 30 year old Trevor Baucom of Clarksville, Tennessee was piloting his Black Hawk helicopter into combat in Afghanistan at 3:00 am one morning when it crashed and left him with a spinal cord injury. He later became involved in the Smith & Wesson Shooting Team as well as with Jim Scoutten’s “Shooting USA” TV Show to provide more shooting opportunities for people in wheelchairs. Part 5 of a 5 part series.
To reach their goal of making the shooting sports accessible to any wheelchair athlete who wanted to compete, Scoutten and Baucom are attending shooting competitions. And, Baucom is competing and/or meeting with the officials of these competitions to determine how these contests can be modified, so that people in wheelchairs can compete. Baucom’s role now as member of the Smith &Wesson Shooting Team is to go to shooting competitions all-over the country and participate when he can, as well as attend trade shows and represent Smith & Wesson’s platform of making shooting more-accessible for people with disabilities.
For instance, Baucom went to the NRA Action Pistol Championships. This time was his first to shoot in this competition where shooters shoot from varying distances, 10 to 50 yards. Besides fixed targets, there’s also moving targets. “The next competition we went to was called the Steel Challenge Shooting ,” Baucom explains. “There are five steel targets that contestants have to shoot as fast as they can. The last target is the stop target. When the contestant’s bullet hits that last target, his time is registered from the start timer until he shoots the last round. Shooters have to draw and shoot as fast as they can at all five targets. This competition is all about speed and accuracy. Some of these contestants drew and shot all five targets in 1.9 seconds.” This was Baucom’s first time at this competition. When we asked how he finished, he smiled and said, “Well, I didn’t finish last, but by all means I didn’t come close to winning. What we learned at this competition was that sometimes the participants had to move. So Jim Scoutten spoke to the president of the organization holding the tournament, and the organization adopted a rule that allowed people in wheelchairs to take a 1-second penalty – about the amount of time an able-bodied person needed to move to the next shooting area. Therefore, contestants in wheelchairs could compete head-to-head with able-bodied shooters.”
The next competition that Baucom and Scoutten attended was the International Defensive Pistol Association. In this competition, contestants are put into defensive shooting positions and have to move and shoot. Participating in this competition was really tough for Baucom, because he had to shoot and move. Baucom explains, “In this competition, all the other contestants would shoot, take a couple of steps and then shoot again. But, I had to draw, shoot, re-holster my pistol, move to the next shooting position, lock the brakes on my wheelchair, draw and shoot. I didn’t finish last in that competition either. I had the good fortune to meet the president of the International Defensive Pistol Association, Joyce Wilson, and she wants to make more shooting competitions accessible and available to people in wheelchairs.
“But, pistols aren’t our only focus. We’re also working to make more shotgun competitions accessible and available for wheelchair athletes. I just signed a contract with the Ithaca Gun Company. Ithaca is known for their shotguns so we are moving into skeet and trap shooting. Skeet and trap shooting have been accessible for wheelchair individuals for a while. Another goal is to try and get more people to the ranges and let them experience how much fun shooting shotgun sports can be.”
Trevor and Smith & Wesson are also active supporters and participants with an organization called HAVA. HAVA is “Honored American Veterans Afield.” HAVA works to get disabled veterans out on various hunting trips and they have family range days where disabled veterans can bring their families out for a day on the range. HAVA is able to get special adaptive gear like a “sip and puff trigger” which allows a quadriplegic or someone with limited or no arm control to actuate the trigger by blowing into a straw. They have tracked wheelchairs so paralyzed veterans can get into the woods to hunt. They have adaptive devices for many different types of disabilities.
Trevor Baucom’s new role, goal, occupation and passion are to make all shooting sports and shooting-sports competitions available and accessible for individuals in wheelchairs. He’s gathering steam in this campaign with his friend and partner Jim Scoutten. Besides Smith & Wesson and Ithaca, Baucom is also sponsored by Atlanta Arms and Ammo, a company that provides all of his ammo for his competition and practice shooting. Safariland sponsors Baucom. They developed a holster system with a universal mount that can mount to most wheelchairs.This new holster mount is available on the Safariland website http://www.safariland.com/dutygear/product.aspx?pid=WCM.
Nevco Targets, a company that also sponsors Baucom, gave him a set of steel targets to practice with and train. He’s also the first pro shooter to be sponsored by TV’s Outdoor Channel. As Baucom explains, “I want to see more people in wheelchairs being welcomed into the shooting sports and the shooting-sports competitions. In my darkest hours after my crash, when I was in the hospital and going through rehab, I never could have imagined being a part of and working with the shooting-sports industry. All these good things and opportunities started in April, 2011.”
Baucom’s family and friends weren’t surprised at what has taken place. He’s never been the type of man to sit on the sidelines for very long. He’s always chosen to be active in the game of life, rather than assume the position of spectator.
About the Author: For the last 12 years, John E. Phillips of Vestavia, Alabama, has been a professional blogger for major companies, corporations and tourism associations throughout the nation. During his 24 years as Outdoor Editor for “The Birmingham Post-Herald” newspaper, he published more than 7,000 newspaper columns and sold more than 100,000 of his photos to newspapers, magazines and internet sites. He also hosted a radio show that was syndicated at 27 radio stations; created, wrote and sold a syndicated newspaper column that ran in 38 newspapers for more than a decade; and wrote and sold more than 30 books. Learn more at http://www.nighthawkpublications.com