Shooter Profile—Meet Wyatt Brown, Twin Falls, Idaho
So intent on earning a spot at last year’s World Championships alongside his brother, National Team member Will Brown, 20-year old Wyatt Brown of Twin Falls, Idaho, shot left-handed to train for the USA Shooting National Championships after a fractured wrist left him without any other options. He credits a lot of where he’s at in this sport to Will, a good mentor for sure, but what you’ll find out in reading this Q&A with Wyatt is that he has personality and perspective distinctly all his own.
USA Shooting: How did you get started?
Wyatt: For me, it all got started right at the beginning of 2009. My brother Will had already been shooting for a few years with great success, but up to that point shooting airguns didn’t peak my interest. I had always enjoyed going out with a .22 and plinking, but the competition stuff seemed too slow. I was a high-energy kid, and I couldn’t stand still for that long. But in January of ’09 the Junior Olympic State Qualifier was split into two matches, one in Blackfoot, Montana, the other in Boise, Idaho, a week later. Will and my dad went up to Blackfoot to shoot that match and it turned out that 2012 Olympian Nick Mowrer had come over to shoot the match with them, too.
At the match, Nick had a nice little Pardini air pistol he wanted to sell, so my dad bought it from him there and brought it home. My dad shows up at home with this gun and says I should give it a shot and, if I want, he’ll take me up to Boise to shoot my first competition. So I shoot it a few times and get the feel for it, Will gives me a quick rundown of the rules and before I know it I’m finishing my first match with a 487 (a pretty good score). I went to Junior Nationals a couple months later, won the J3 category silver medal, and I’ve been hooked on the sport ever since.
USA Shooting: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received about shooting?
Wyatt: The Brown family has a rather concise answer to this question: “Just hold and squeeze, pumpkin.”
USA Shooting: What goals have you set for yourself in this sport?
Wyatt: I’m a competitor and as such I have my eyes set on the ultimate destination: the Olympic Games. I can think of no greater headline to highlight my shooting career than “Brown Brothers Bring Home Olympic Medals.” As far as shooting is concerned, the only thing I want more than to bring home an Olympic gold is to watch Will do it.
[wyatt3—caption: Wyatt and his mom, Susan, and dad, Dan, after winning top honors at the 2014 National Championships.]
USA Shooting: What aspects of the shooting game are you concentrating on most now?
Wyatt: Right now I’m continuing to hone my technical abilities and physical conditioning while focusing on finding ways to better prepare my mind for competition. I’m striving to push my mental toughness, something that I fully believe has made my brother who he is and lent a great deal to his early success. I don’t have the mental toughness Will does, but I’m working on it. In the meantime, I’m making mistakes and learning from my experiences, and that’s all I could ask for.
USA Shooting: What you like most about shooting?
Wyatt: I think the most compelling thing about shooting, for someone like me, is the challenge. This is an incredibly difficult sport, and I think it puts off a lot of newcomers because of this. All my life I’ve been attracted to a challenge, from solving puzzles to riding a unicycle. Shooting has challenged me to not only be a successful shooter, but to be a better person from almost every angle. The lessons one learns from such a heavily mental sport like shooting apply to everyday life in ways that are as varied as they are impactful. The opportunities I have to represent my country on international stages are also a big deal to me.
USA Shooting: What do you like least about competitive shooting?
Wyatt: The lack of popularity it has in the USA. It’s something I don’t understand at all. We love our guns here, but we can’t take pride in marksmanship? It seems the most common explanation is that it’s not much of a spectator sport, so it’s hard for people to take interest, but take golf as a contrary example. It’s far slower and less interesting to watch than a World Cup finals match in my opinion, but it’s hugely popular and is broadcasted nationally with great success. The new rules being instated by the ISSF [International Shooting Sport Federation] are going to benefit the rise of shooting in the U.S. so long as we can all work together to raise awareness of the shooting sports and keep an emphasis on marksmanship and safety to change the stigma surrounding guns in our country.
USA Shooting: Tell me what being a member of the USA Shooting Team means to you?
Wyatt: It means I’m a representative for far more than just myself or my family. I’m a representative of the country I love and the ideals it was founded on. It means I am in the company of individuals who will always support me and whom I will always seek to support. It means that I am an ambassador of my sport and the art of marksmanship.