Craig Grau: Locked and loaded - The Explorer: Sports

Craig Grau: Locked and loaded

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Posted: Tuesday, July 15, 2008 11:00 pm | Updated: 8:02 am, Thu Mar 24, 2011.

If the name Jimmy Vincent Gibson III rings ambitious, then the round fits the chamber.

The 17-year-old claims nativity to a Texas outdoor firing range, strolls around his retail job with a pistol stuck to his hip, and aims for a 2012 Olympic Games skeet slot.

Most of his fellow Canyon Del Oro juniors just want a car.

But Gibson, who spent last Saturday tending customers at his grandmother’s Prince Road gun shop, ranks 54th nationally in trap shooting, downing 84.66 percent of the clays crossing his sights, according to USA Shooting’s Web site.

If you’re expecting ego, you’ll have to shout “Pull!” yourself. Gibson, slated to shoot at a Tuesday meet in Colorado Springs, Colo., offered only poker-faced butterflies on his chances.

“I’m nervous as hell. I’m really stressed at losing,” Gibson said, plainly. “But ‘I need to win’ is the wrong attitude. I should be going to have fun.”

His admission elicited surprise. Gibson — whose unblinking eyes fasten on yours like he’s explaining your shiny new traffic ticket — carries himself with a deputy’s poise.

The national ranking needs work he said, if he’s going to launch birdshot at the Royal Artillery Barracks four years from now.

After Gibson separated his shoulder during a bit of poolside roughhousing the night before a match last year, he’s been out of form. The injury led to a case of minor burnout, which could prove competitively fatal in a sport of pure repetition.

Chasing Olympic glory, Gibson focuses on skeet’s international variant — 75 mph targets streaking at twice the sport’s domestic rate — where the mental game separates gold from lead. Again, he deadpanned his shortcomings.

“The mental aspect is what myself and a lot of shooters lack,” Gibson said. “So that’s where my focus is.”

If Gibson appears to lack anything, though, it’s not focus.

Shooting or not, he’s graduating a year early in 2009, before cracking political science and business books at Pima — which could lead to law school, Gibson explained, schematic-like.

But first the native Texan plans to enter politics at 18 and win a small-caliber local office,

ambitiously posing himself as a centrist targeting second-amendment issues.

Ever-optioned, Gibson also wants to follow the family vein and open a firearms training facility “to break down the negative opinions people get from TV and the media.”

Already, he’s sighting in the next generation of shooters.

Twelve-year-old Marana youngster Austin Keene hung with Gibson to promote youth skeet at the store, chatting suavely enough with a reporter that his mother rolled her eyes and walked away from their raffle tickets.

As Gibson’s protégé, Keene took second in the Scholastic Clays Target Program’s grades-5-and-under rookie division, scoring a 135 of 300, on March 29 in Phoenix.

While his mentor had been shooting since age 9, Keene wouldn’t be outdone. He explained that mom traded a binky for his first toy cap gun — which soon led to baby-bore .410 shotguns.

“I’m pretty happy with how that trade’s worked out,” Keene said.

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Tuesday, September 30

Boys Golf (3 p.m.)

Mountain View at Haven Golf Course

Ironwood Ridge, Buena, Catalina at Rincon (Dell Urich)

Girls Volleyball (4, 5, 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Marana at CDO

Maricopa at Mountain View

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San Miguel at Pusch Ridge

Freshman Football (6 p.m.)

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Wednesday, October 1

Girls Golf (3 p.m.)

Mountain View vs. Ironwood Ridge (Omnu Tucson National)

CDO, Sunnyside at Flowing Wells (Silverbell)

Sabino at Catalina Foothills

Cross Country (4:30 p.m.)

Ironwood Ridge, Sahuarita at Flowing Wells (Columbus Park)

Marana, St. Gregory at Catalina Foothills

Girls Volleyball (4, 5, 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

CDO at Ironwood Ridge

Freshman Football (6 p.m.)

Mountain View at Salpointe

Catalina Foothills at CDO

JV Football (6.p.m.)

Marana at Maricopa

Salpointe at Mountain View

CDO at Catalina Foothills

Thursday, October 2

Swimming (4 p.m.)

Mountain View, St. Gregory’s, Pusch Ridge at Marana

Girls Volleyball (4, 5, 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Mountain View at Poston Butte

Catalina Foothills at Flowing Wells

Pusch Ridge at Willcox

Varsity Football (7p.m.)

Maricopa at Marana

Mountain View at Salpointe

Catalina Foothills @ CDO

Ironwood Ridge at Rincon

Friday, October 3

Boys Golf (all day)

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Santa Rita/Flowing Wells Invitational

Girls Vollyeball (all day)

CDO, Catalina Foothills at Falcon Invitational

Cross Country

Catalina Foothills, CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Desert Twilight Festival

Varsity Footbal (7 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge at San Tan Valley

Saturday, October 4

Boys Golf (all day)

CDO at Santa Rita/Flowing Wells Invitational

Swimming (all day)

Catalina Foothills, CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Brophy/Xavier Swim Invitational

Girls Volleyball (4 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge at Desert Christian

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