Local teen Jadon Nafziger traveled with his family to Hillsdale, Michigan last weekend to compete in the National Junior Paralympics Regional Championships, where he brought home the gold medal for precision shooting. Jadon competed in the under 15 para standing precision air rifle event over the course of 3 days, shooting twice in competition. This week, The Mail was granted exclusive access to The Champ to find out more.
Jadon tells me that he has always had a bit of an interest in shooting and has been known to shoot his .22 repeating rifle off of the back porch of the family home, allegedly. When looking for another hobby his parents, Matt and Kiana Nafziger, took Jadon to Central Illinois Precision Shooting (CIPS), located in Bloomington. Traveling to CIPS up to three times a week for practice, it didn’t take long for the Nafziger family to realize that Jadon was a natural shooter. Jadon scored top marks as he made his way through local competitions, eventually earning an invite to the Regional Championships earlier this month.
Suffering an injury at birth that limits the use of his right arm, Jadon learned to compete with his left arm with the help of his father Matt, who is the dedicated pellet loader. Jadon also uses a “stump” to shoot, which is a spring loaded rest meant to simulate a person's natural sway in the standing position - the spring can be tightened or loosened depending on criteria found in the 120+ page rule book provided by the US Shooting organization. Standing 10 meters from the target, Jadon can put a pellet through a mark that is about as big as the tip of a pencil. Scoring these events is a little tricky, competitors shoot rounds of 10 shots, where each shot can earn up to 10.9 points, for a possible total of 109 points per round. Jadon, the family tells me, typically comes in at around 103 points per round.
Asking the Nafziger family “What comes next for Jadon?” was met with a pretty simple answer: more practice. “He’s seen what he is up against,” Matt tells me, “and I think the next steps are getting him a proper shooting jacket and, just, more practice.” Jadon didn’t miss a beat when I asked him if Michigan was going to be seeing more of the Nafziger family - “Oh, absolutely” he replied, confidently.