By: Ian Smith
MADISON COUNTY, Texas--The Texas A&M Corps of Cadets Marksmanship Unit is hosting the third annual SPP Southwest Regional Championship Feb. 7.
At a shooting range in rural Madison County, the thunder of pistols can be heard as the cadets gear up for the regional championship.
"It's in our home territory and we don't like to lose so obviously training hard," said Commander Zach Williams with the Corps of Cadets.
Under the echo of gunshots, comradery runs deep here. This team of cadets knows how to focus.
"By training and doing dry fire, practicing live fire out here, just builds up muscle memory to be fast at these kind of stages," said Williams.
One stage of training at the range, known as the Speed Trap, is especially challenging.
"The speed trap is exactly how the title sounds," said Cadet Lee Dimaculangan. "There's four steel plates within close distance but there's that one good target that's 25 yards back. It's a large target but everyone takes it for granted and swings by it. Often times if they're not disciplined they'll miss it.
But this weekend, every shot counts as the cadets defend last year's win.
"In our second year of being team we won the national championship. So that was a pretty big win for us," said Williams.
With their eyes on the prize, the cadets know they bring something else to the table.
"The Core of Cadets is a program to produce leaders in the world and that's what we out here do is to show our professionalism and how our skills in the shooting world can relate to skills out in the real world," said Williams.