Brad Schoenemann of Lodi, Wisconsin, may be only 19 years old, but he's already achieved some things that lifelong competitive shooters can only dream of. His performance at the 2019 National Matches is proof positive that this junior shooter is one to watch in the world of shooting competition. It began as he finished as the High Junior of the President's Rifle Match, an exclusive and prestigious competition that draws esteemed athletes from all around the country. Top military and civilian marksmen gather together on the range, ending with a shoulder-to-shoulder 10-shot shoot-off. To achieve the honor of being part of that competition is a lifelong objective for some competitors, and Schoenemann has already captured the feat.
“It is absolutely unreal to compete on the line with some of the best shooters in the world,” he said. “And the pressure to perform, especially in the shoot-off, was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
Schoenemann went on to join his Wisconsin Cheddar teammate, Thomas McGowan, to overtake the National Trophy Junior Team Match with a score of 978-28x – only one point away from the National Record score.
Reaching the High Individual competitor title during the match, Schoenemann received the Col. Bill Deneke Trophy as the leading junior competitor in the President’s, National Trophy Individual and National Trophy Team events, as well as a spot on the honorary National Junior Team.
He also took his abilities indoors by firing in the AiR-15 Challenge, a 40-shot re-entry match held within the Gary Anderson CMP Competition Center air gun range. He reached a top score of 396-8x and held the lead until SFC Brandon Green of the Army Marksmanship Unit ultimately outshot him by two points to earn the win. Schoenemann had earned second in the event in 2017 and finished in the Top 10 in 2018, making it known that he is as powerful of a force with a simulated AR-15 as he is with the real thing.
Currently a sophomore at University of Wisconsin-Platteville, studying business, Brad has always shot growing up, starting in his backyard. He didn’t become fully interested in marksmanship until he was 11 years old, after taking a hunter safety course at his local gun club. There, he was introduced to a smallbore program, which eventually guided him into the highpower world.
“And I’ve been enjoying it ever since,” he said. “My favorite part about marksmanship is that every shot counts, and it is almost a big mental game, as far as staying focused.” After seeing the Wisconsin team at the same matches he was attending, Brad noticed the excellent and fun program the members had cultivated and decided to join them. “The whole experience with the team is just a blast, whether it’s on or off the range,” he said.
Since joining, Schoenemann has been a major contributor to the team by helping its members excel to multiple National Match titles. He’s enjoyed his experiences at Camp Perry for the past few years and hopes to continue the tradition with the friends he's made and those he has yet to meet.
“I had always wanted to go to the National Matches ever since I started shooting, and it had always been one of those things that I would maybe someday like to do,” Schoenemann explained. “My favorite part about the National Matches is just the comradery of all the different people from all over the United States," he said. “It’s just an incredible experience.”
With all of his success, Schoenemann capped off his 2019 National Matches by taking his new Distinguished Rifleman Badge – marking his legacy on the awards stage and on the grandest stage that is Camp Perry.