August 12th, 2022
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Report based on story by Ashley Dugan, CMP Staff Writer
CAMP PERRY, Ohio – SSG Amanda Elsenboss, 33, of the Army National Guard, has made history – Amanda is the first-ever female to be the overall winner of the President’s Rifle Match, a notable marksmanship event first held in 1894.
The 2022 President’s Rifle Match (aka “President’s 100?) took place August 1st as part of the Civilian Marksmanship Program’s (CMP) National Rifle Matches at Camp Perry. The top 100 scoring competitors are dubbed the President’s One Hundred.
“This has been a longtime coming – everybody thinks of the President’s Hundred Match”, Elsenboss said, looking back on her own career. Amanda has been a recognizable force on the firing line for years, first as a junior shooter and then as a member of the USAMU rifle team. Amanda joined the Army in 2009 and was assigned to the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU). There, she collected several titles, including national wins in service and long range rifle. At the 2021 National Matches, Amanda set a new national record score and was the overall individual competitor of the National Trophy Team (NTT) event – netting a near unbeatable score of 500-34X.
Last year’s National Matches was also her first as a member of the National Guard All Guard Marksmanship Team, which she joined in 2019. While on the team, she has experienced many big challenges on the firing line, and the 2022 President’s Rifle Match was no exception.
SSG Amanda Elsenboss receives awards from CMP Director Emeritus Gary Anderson.
Challenging Wind Conditions at 2022 President’s Match
This year’s President’s Match was tough. Winds were strong yet switchy throughout the day with tough, changing conditions. Yet Elsenboss managed a preliminary score of 297-9X – dropping only one point each in standing and prone positions.
“I shocked myself by shooting 99s everywhere, and I owe it to my teammates and the other competitors on the line who let me ask them what wind [calls] they were using,” she said. “The camaraderie between all of the competitors is so large that no one’s going to try to hurt you. Everyone’s looking out for you. And that makes a difference.”
Next came the President’s Match 20-person Shootoff – fired after the qualifying round from the day’s course of fire. Elsenboss had participated in the shootoff multiple times before, in 20th place and higher, but this year was her first starting in the lead position on the line. “Coming into the Shootoff with a three-point lead felt like enough of a buffer,” Elsenboss said.
As the Shootoff began, the conditions became even more challenging, with the strongest wind gusts of the day. Still, Elsenboss was confident. She put her rifle on three minutes, right where she thought it needed to be for her first record shot, and fired – a 7, to the right. “That’s not going to work”, she thought. Her next shots brought a 9 on the left and a 9 on the right. “I said to myself, ‘You’ve got it bracketed. Stop, and just put it right in the middle'”. She shot well, with her last shot a 10, for a 391-12X Shootoff Aggregate.
That score proved to be good for the Shootoff victory. SFC Brandon Green, her former USAMU teammate and 2018 President’s Match winner, came up to the firing line and told her, “Congrats, Champ!”. That was notable said Amanda: “I’ve known Brandon for almost as long as I’ve been shooting, and it means something that he would do that”.
Elsenboss finished the shootoff just above her teammate SGT Jonathan Wood and added the third consecutive President’s Rifle Match win for the Army National Guard team. The team also had the most members in the Shootoff of any service team.
After her win, fellow shooters and spectators congratulated her. Among her fans were young female competitors. Parents also thanked her for being a great example for the next generation. “I try my best to be an ambassador, being a female in a sport that’s a male dominant sport — knowing that juniors or other females in general maybe be intimidated and want to figure out shooting,” Elsenboss said.
Elsenboss remembers looking up to other lady shooters, such as Julia Watson (now Carlson) who was won national and international titles. Carlson was also the first female to win the National Matches National Trophy Individual (NTI) event back in 1998. “I was a junior, and that meant something to me,” Elsenboss said of Carlson and other influential women in the sport. “I thought, If they can do that, I can do that.”
Julia Carlson (in red) congratulates Amanda on her President’s Match victory.
From now on, no matter what she does or where she goes — Elsenboss will always be a fixture in the legacy of marksmanship and will undoubtedly carry on inspiring others. “Let’s continue this and see what we can do,” she said.