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Larned marksman an international champion
Kim Beckwith places at Bianchi Cup event
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Courtesy Photo Kim Beckwith of Larned (left) receives a runner-up award from a Cheaper Than Dirt representative from Fort Worth, Texas.

LARNED — Kim Beckwith of Larned has celebrated Memorial Day for the past 26 years in a unique way.
What started as a friendship with former Barton County sheriff Jim Daily has turned into an annual pilgrimage to the Midway USA and NRA Bianchi Cup World Action Pistol Championships near Columbia, Mo.  The event originated in 1979, by former police officer John Bianchi of holster maker Bianchi International, as a law enforcement training contest.
Beckwith enjoyed his best personal performance and earned his third first-place team finish as a member of Zero Ammunition in the Industry Division this past weekend.
Team Zero Ammunition captured first place in the Industry Division and finished second overall in the Team Division. Other Zero Ammunition members are Travis Hayton, a Virginia deputy; Don Golembieski, Kodiak Precision; and George Mowbray, a riverboat pilot from Lake Charles, La.
Pawnee County reserve deputy Beckwith posted his best personal finish with a runner-up placing in the Law Enforcement Division.
He finished 11th in the overall standings with a total score of 1,912 out of a possible 1,920. He scored 157 Xs (a perfect shot) out of a possible 192 targets. Accurate shots must be placed within a 6-inch target. A perfect X shot is marked within a 4-inch target.
He’s regularly finished in the top 25 in the individual standings, but maximized his ability after recently selling his business ownership in Beckwith Mortuary to his nephew Kyle. Beckwith Mortuary has been a family-owned business since 1913.
“It’s a huge mental game because you know if you miss one shot, you’ve got no shot of winning as an individual,” he said. “This year, everything in the cards fell just right for me. I’d just sold my business and that definitely helped me this year. I didn’t have to worry about doing any business.”
Competitors shoot from both standing and prone positions and are also required to shoot with both strong and weak hands at various stages.
The competition is made up of four famous stages of fire — the Practical, the Falling Plates, the Barricades, and the Moving Target. Each stage requires precision shooting under tight time limits.
• Practical Event. The shooter fires at distances from 10 yards to 50 yards under varying time limits from the appropriate shooting line.
• Barricade Event. A shooter fires at targets on either side of the barricade at different distances and under varying time limits from within shooting boxes and behind barricades.
• Falling Plate Event. The shooter fires at 8 inch round steel plates arranged in banks of six at distances from 10 to 25 yards under varying time limits from the appropriate shooting line.
• Moving Target Event. The shooter fires at a target moving from left to right with the target being exposed for only 6 seconds from within shooting boxes at distances ranging from 10 to 25 yards.
Beckwith missed four times in 192 attempts outside the 6-inch target in the three-day event. He scored 478-32Xs in Practical; 480-48Xs in Falling Plates; 480-43Xs in Barricades; and 474-32Xs in Moving Target. The two most difficult events were held May 27.
“I missed few, but I was 99.98 percent accurate,” he said. “I consider this to be a pretty good retirement present.”
He shoots with a 1911 style Colt pistol, customized by Gilmore Sports Concepts, Tulsa, Okla.
“It’s a highly accurate pistol,” he said. “I’d shot the exact same score of 1,912 in my last competition, so that gave me some confidence.”
By affiliating with a sponsor, Beckwith defrays the cost of competing. Beckwith has shot professionally for Zero Ammunition Company of Cullman, Ala., since 1985. Beckwith said he will shoot more than 20,000 rounds in a year. He practices at the Fort Larned Arms Association, south of town.
He originally started shooting in the Bianchi Cup after striking up a friendship with Daily, who worked as a dispatcher for Barton County in the 1980s.
John Bianchi and Ray Chapman created the Bianchi Cup competition from police training tactics at the Chapman academy in Columbia, Mo. More than 220 competitors from Australia, Italy, Luxembourg, Japan, Germany, New Zealand, Switzerland and Canada competed.