This edition brings us long time top Illinois competitor Brandon Leifler.
Brandon Liefer, 41, represents South Zone shooters on the Illinois Sporting Clays Association board. But he’s also one of the most active competitive shooters in the state, registering more than 13,000 targets in both 2017 and 2018!
It’s no wonder that he says he shoots “everywhere I can and can find registered targets.” But his favorite places to shoot are the two where he is a member, Faller’s Sporting Clays in Butler, Illinois and FLC Shooting Grounds in White Hall, home of this year’s state championship.
Brandon, who is a manager at Weir Chevrolet Buick GMC in Red Bud, Illinois, started shooting clays just eight years ago, when he was on a Sunday morning drive. His route took him past the World Shooting Recreational Complex in Sparta, where a charity tournament was in progress. He stopped in, was invited to join, and a passion was born.
His first significant shooting memory? “Getting into the Lucky Number shootoff at the Kentucky State Championship my first year and never hitting a target.” It’s safe to say things have gotten better since.
Over the years, Brandon has punched his way into Master class, and two special highlights along the way were winning his class in the True Pair side event at the 2012 U.S. Open in Minnesota and scoring a sensational 49x50 in the side by side event at the 2017 Illinois State Championship, also held at FLC.
Brandon’s main gun is a Krieghoff K-80, and he uses Winchester No. 8s, Pure Gold chokes and Pilla shooting glasses. He likes to practice twice a week, weather permitting, and keeps each practice session to 75 or 100 shells.
His advice to new shooters is to buy the best equipment they can afford and stick with it, and to begin lessons with a coach or instructor as soon as possible to get started the right way. Brandon himself works with three coaches – Gary Fitzjarrell of FLC, Eric Harvey of Missouri and World FITASC Champion Derrick Mein. He shoots sustained lead or swing-through, depending on the target.
As for the mental side of the sport, he always looks at show targets twice – once to develop his plan and once to refine it. While competing, he says that “Ed Cowman’s humor usually puts my mind in the right place.”
Shooting so many targets means Brandon is on the road quite a bit. But his wife also enjoys going to the events, so that allows him to travel to as many as 45 shoots a year. You might think he has no spare time, but Brandon does enjoy hunting.
And like many others, he thinks our sport could be improved by “attracting more youth and new shooters so that the sport grows.”
Next time you see him, take a moment to say “hi” to Brandon, one of Illinois’ Iron Man shooters.
Shotgun: K-80 Sporting
Ammo: Winchester #8
Chokes: Pure Gold
Past Spotlight Articles
Dr. Ralph Everson
Small Framed Big Shots - Michael Iverson
Lyle R. Shear
David P Lauzen
Upland Hunt Club
The Pennell Family - Doing it Right
Gary Fitzjarrel II - FLC Shooting Grounds
» Read the ISCA
» Shooters' Achievements