Eight years ago, Jenniffer Bondurant was diagnosed with stage 3 metastatic melanoma and life had to take a back seat to cancer treatment. In fact, all the outdoor things that she loved to do had to stop. Three years later, after recovering from treatment, she believed it was time to get back into enjoying life. She heard her friends talking about F-Class rifle shooting and it piqued her interest. After her first day at the range, a friend said, “You have a talent for this sport. Let’s give it a go.”
And go she did. As a top competitor in Texas in the FTR division and one of the top female competition shooters across the country, Jenniffer has earned several national records. In 2017, she tied the FTR open and civilian records and set a new women’s record at 600 yards. Since that time, she has set a new women’s record in the midrange 60-shot aggregate and a new women’s record at 1,000 yards with a 199-9X – both of which have not yet been officially recorded. Earlier this year, her team won two of the long-range matches and earned the aggregate win in the TSRA long range championship, with three of the shooters being junior members. Bob Mead is their wind coach. Most recently, Jenniffer won the overall in the Missouri State Championship.
Jenniffer shoots mid-range (300, 500 and 600 yards) and long-range (800, 900 and 1,000) yards with her custom .308 built on a McMillan XIT stock. She is sponsored by McMillan Fiberglass Stocks, Stiller Actions, Krieger Barrels, Capstone Precision, Chamber Chillers, Tactical Hearing, Duplin Bipods, FClass Products and Sean Pattys Mirage Shields. She said, “My biggest sponsor and fan is Ronnie Santhuff, who keeps me in line and all my equipment in top-notch condition.”
As if shooting long-range competitions nearly every weekend doesn’t keep her busy enough, she has added the description “coach” to her resume.
Her team that she coaches and competes on is called X-it Strategy. It is made of nine females – four juniors age 17 and under, and five women between 30 and 60. “My job as team coach is to mentor the junior shooters, keep team details organized, look for sponsors and to ensure all the match paperwork is in order – as well as shoot,” said Jenniffer. “The younger shooters are like our own children and we joke with their parents, telling them they are on loan to them.” Their parents play a big role in helping keep everything moving smoothly.
Jenniffer said, “Laura Perry was my first pick for the team and she has played an integral role in selection of the team and is always there to discuss what is best for the team. When putting together the team, we were looking for strong females that had all the attributes to form a strong team bond. We are all A-type personalities, which makes it very easy to manage the team. Everyone knows her job ahead of time and is there ready to get about the job at hand, whether it be shooting or assisting the team in some other way. There are many things that have to be done during a team match and we are all willing to do them.”
X-it Team Members (As described by Jenniffer)
L-R: Jessica Anderson, Laura Perry, Leatha Tampke, Jenniffer Bondurant, Claudette Joe, Morgan Abbott. Former wind coach and family members stand behind the team.
Laura Perry – “As a longtime member of the US F-Class Rifle Team and one of the top female shooters in the country, Laura brings many years of experience to the team as an individual shooter and a team player. Her accomplishments run very deep across national and international competitions, as well as National Records.”
Jessica Anderson – “Since she lives near Phoenix, she has the opportunity to practice and compete on one the toughest ranges in the country. Jessica has held national records and is currently the women’s national record holder for the Palma course.”
Leatha Tampke – “Placing in many nationals and a world competition when it was in the US, Leatha is a very strong competitor; she brings a great competitive spirit, experience and knowledge to the team. As a professional in the medical field, she does not get to shoot as much as she would like, but when she does … you can be guaranteed that she will be hard to beat.”
Tracy Self – “Our newest adult member comes to us from the world of PRS and numerous other shooting disciplines, where she has been a standout competitor with many titles to her credit. She is learning the sport of F-Class very quickly and is going to be a very serious player in the sport.”
Claudette Joe – "Typically a competitor in the open division during individual competition, Claudette shoots both Open and FTR. She is the current reigning 2018 National FTR High Junior Champion. Also, Claudette shot on the TSRA Long Range Champion Team.”
Morgan Abbott – “She also competes in both Open and FTR and she is the current Southwest Nationals FTR High Junior Champion. Morgan also shot on the TSRA Long Range Champion Team.”
Abigail Victoria – “Abigail is a dedicated FTR shooter and has not been in the sport a year just yet. Abigail rose to the top very quickly and has already set a new junior record in long range at 1,000 yards, and she was the ‘high junior’ in the Missouri State Championships.”
Sydnie Lipski – “Our newest junior member comes to us with many years of experience and numerous titles to her credit. Sydnie has been a shooter on a number of teams during competition and we look forward to knowledge and ability she brings to the team.”
“We need to give credit and thanks to the rest of the team, which includes family members, parents, relatives, friends and the folks out there that have given us words of advice and support through our journey,” said Jenniffer. “Without all of them this would not be possible.”
Making Junior Shooters a Priority
When at competitions as a team, Jenniffer said the priority shooting goes to the junior members. She explains why. “Junior shooters are the future of our sport. Without young people coming into the sport, it will eventually go away. Also, our juniors as competitors are as strong and competitive as any one of us. On any given day, in individual competition, they are right there with all of us. It’s nice to know that they are competing at the same level. We share our knowledge with them, even when we know they might beat us with it. There is just a feeling that overcomes us when our juniors do well.”
X-it Strategy will be together at the US F-Class Nationals, in Raton, New Mexico, in September 2019. “Not everyone is able to attend – as you can imagine, with school, family and work commitments – but everyone will be there in spirit,” said Jenniffer.
She added, “To be able to do this is a blessing and quite humbling for me. In a predominately male sport, we have worked hard to earn our place as shooters and as part of the family. This extended family of shooters is the greatest of folks and we are so blessed to be able to share of our love for shooting with all of them.”