Georgia Military College has been invited to join the Western Intercollegiate Rifle Conference (WIRC). Competition years ago between schools of the Big Ten Conference were limited to postal matches. In the 1920's, Russell Wiles of Illinois was interested in encouraging the sport of rifle and presented the Wiles Trophy. The trophy was to be given to the highest scoring team at the conference championship. Then in 1930, Dr. Emmet O. Swanson from Minnesota contributed the Swanson Trophy. This trophy is for the team with the highest aggregate score in the postal matches, which are held at the home ranges in October, November, December and January. When we moved into the late 70's and early 80's many of the college teams in the Big Ten no longer could compete. It was then decided by the Board to allow non Big Ten Schools to be in the conference. In 1985, William T. Ranta from Lake Superior State College, made available the Ranta Trophy to be awarded to the overall winning team in air rifle. Four years later, Mark Bernarde of the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh wanted the Bernarde Trophy to be awarded to the highest scoring air rifle team in the championship match. In 1992 it was decided the Ranta Trophy would be given to the college that scored the highest air rifle scores in the postal matches during the four months of competition.
Match administration, scoring and competition will be under the NRA Small bore Rifle Rules and NRA Precision Air Rifle Rules in the standing position. Team Categories are ROTC and Club and will consist of five firing members, with the top four shooters scores determining the college score for the match. Shooters must fire in all four postal matches, the averages added to the championship match score for all post season awards. The Wiles Trophy, the Swanson Trophy, the Bernarde Trophy and the Ranta Trophy will be held by the winning college team for one year. The college will also be presented with individual awards for each shooter on the championship team and a Trophy for the team's college. The teams will meet at Purdue University February 24, 2018 for the coaches meeting, championship match and awards banquet.
The following colleges were in the conference during the 2016-2017 year: University of Michigan-Ann Arbor , Michigan State University, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, Purdue University, Michigan Technological University, University of Akron-Zips Rifle Club, Grand Valley State University, North Dakota State University, University of Wisconsin-Superior, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Cedarville University and Western Michigan University-ROTC. Clemson University and Georgia Military College will be new members 2017-2018.
Georgia Military College is very excited to join this conference with the opportunities afforded the students and cadets. It will give them a sense of motivation as they compete with other rifle shooters to achieve awards and work with a team, appreciate the sport as they strive towards their educational goals and lifetime goals, develop special qualities of marksmanship to develop control, concentration, precision, discipline and character. Their skills will last a life time!