In the little more than a year that Shooters of Maumee has been open, owner Keith Helminski has seen a variety of skill levels come through the doors and utilize the modern 12-lane range.
There have been folks learning to use a handgun for personal protection, hunters looking for quick access to additional practice time, law enforcement professionals working to keep their shooting skills finely honed, and a few random ammunition sprayers who just need a place to let loose a few hundred rounds.
And Shooters also has Glenn Zimmerman, a senior at Monclova Christian Academy whose proficiency with a pistol in his hands has landed him a place in the prestigious National Junior Olympic Rifle & Pistol program.
“He’s got it — the ability, the discipline, and the focus,” Helminski said. “This is a great kid who is so sound in his approach to the sport. He has a lot of natural talent, but he’s also done so much to develop that talent. This guy is top end. We’re proud to have him in our range.”
Zimmerman of Waterville started shooting at age 10 when his dad heard about a 4-H shooting program in Auglaize County, where the family used to live.
While growing up, Glenn had tried soccer and some of the team sports, but found the individual competitions were more suited to his character.
He took tae kwon do and achieved a black belt in three years, but ultimately found that competitive shooting provided the steady stream of challenges he sought.
“Once I started with shooting, it just clicked,” said Zimmerman, who was shooting in competitions by age 12. “It’s a hard sport with a lot of discipline and not everyone can do it, but since it’s an individual thing, if I was going to fail, it was because I messed up and not somebody else.”
Zimmerman said he could see his skills improve as he put in time on the range, which motivated him to dedicate even more effort to achieving expertise as a shooter. He practiced, took part in the NRA Junior Pistol Camp at Camp Perry, the Civilian Marksmanship Program, and started collecting the honors.
He shoots both 22-caliber and 45-caliber pistols and air pistol repeatedly, locating a target center about the size of a silver dollar at 25 and 50 yards.
“It has all been mostly single-handed shooting at a distance, so it is very much accuracy-based,” Zimmerman said. “But I’m spending extra time working on rapid fire now, just getting my timing down.”
Zimmerman said having Shooters here in the area, with its 25-yard indoor range, has significantly helped his development.
“It’s not common in most public ranges to have that kind of distance to work with,” Zimmerman said, “so that has really been beneficial. In winter, a lot of people just don’t have a place like that to practice in.”
Helminski said he has watched Zimmerman’s practice ritual, where Glenn will often put 200 rounds down-range in a 90-minute session.
“He is very meticulous on the safety issues, and he doesn’t goof around like a typical teenaged kid would around a gun,” Helminski said. “He is very adult-like. He knows what needs to be done in each practice session. He’s had good mentoring, good coaching, and a lot of support at home, and it shows.”
In the recent competition at Camp Perry, Zimmerman won a number of first place awards, and he also spent time this year at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., as one of just two Ohio shooters invited to the elite event.
“That was a huge help, just having access to that facility and the high-level coaching you get out there,” Zimmerman said. He was fifth in the national match that followed the sessions at the Olympic Training Center.
“Making the Junior Olympic team won’t be the ceiling for him,” Helminski said. “You are going to see him go places. This is just the next step.”
There are considerable costs involved in the training and competition Zimmerman has been involved in, and he recognizes that although he squeezes the trigger, his advancement has been the product of a behind-the-scenes team effort.”
“I’m very fortunate with all of the support I’ve received,” Zimmerman said. “This can be an expensive sport, so mom and dad’s help has been huge.”
Zimmerman will continue traveling around the country for competitions while maintaining his practice regime, with his eye on landing a scholarship to join Ohio State’s pistol team.
The Buckeyes finished fourth in the national tournament at Fort Benning in Georgia this spring, trailing only the U.S. Military Academy, the Naval Academy, and The Citadel.
Ohio State’s coaches have been at Camp Perry recently to see Zimmerman compete there.
“At Ohio State, they know who he is,” said Glenn’s mother, Allison.
Zimmerman has received coaching assistance locally from Jim Lenardson, who has won a number of national titles in the sport.
“I really push myself to do what he does,” Zimmerman said. “I see it happen again and again with him, and that shows that it’s possible. I see how well he shoots, and he’s a champion. That just increases my desire to keep improving.”
Contact Blade outdoors editor Matt Markey at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6068.