Just like the old saying “love at first sight”, we can also say that there is “love at first shot”. This is how we would choose to summarise the first GR Starters event, which took place on March 28th. An event promoted by the GugaRibas Company marketing team, its goal was to attract new participants and, importantly, break the paradigms and prejudice which continues to surround gun sports such as Practical Shooting in Brazil.
In total there were 24 registered participants, almost all of whom were university students, who spent around four hours learning about the sport and watching renowned athletes during the first stage of the Brazilian IPSC. The immersion day began at midday with refreshments at the GR stand, at the Duque de Caxias Shooting Association (ATDC), followed by a presentation of the company and background of GR. GR Company’s Technical Director, Jose Medeiros, then gave a talk on the technical elements of the sport and safety rules. Pedro Ribas, who is responsible for the marketing of GR Company, explains the importance of events such as this for the brand and for the sport in Brazil.
“Our goal is to introduce people to the sport and remove the barrier surrounding the issue of safety. Anyone who knows the sport knows that it is one of the safest in the world and this is what we are showing here. The idea is that GR Starters has fixed events throughout the company calendar and that we acquire new athletes with each one. We also presented Life Style, our product line that is already well known amongst IPSC athletes, but is also great for other sports that demand high performance.
After the theory, the participants were able to proceed to the most anticipated part of the day: the air soft tournament. Pedro Henrique, a 21-year-old Law student, had never encountered firearms but had always been curious about them. His first experience with the sport was very positive.
“It was a pleasant surprise to come here and see the level of organisation and professionalism in the sport. These aspects help ease any fears that we might have about being here. If possible, I will start participating in Practical Shooting.
PilarDinz, a 26 year old SEO analyst, talked of her desire to know more about the sport and why she decided to sign up for GR Starters.
“It’s a unique opportunity to be in close contact with guns and learn shooting techniques. I’ve always been very interested in shooting.”
The air soft competition involved everyone who had signed up and used the following set up: each athlete had 6 shots, divided into 3 targets at a short, medium and long distance. The points system was exactly the same as IPSC and the first positions won prizes from GR. Following the excitement of the tournament, civil police officer Natasha Munhoz spoke about the event
“For me, it just added to my knowledge, as it reminded me of my time in police academy. It also brought two new aspects, which were shooting with air soft and seeing an event in this sport.
To finish on a high, all of the participants did a tour of the stands of the first stage of the Brazilian Championship in Practical Shooting and chatted with icons of the sport in Brazil, such as Jaime Saldanha Jr and World Champion LucimarDomingues. Following the tour, the participants were given the surprising result of the air soft competition. Demonstrating the importance of female participation in the sport, PilarDinz got the highest number of points, with 29 (out of a total 30) and was crowned champion. She was followed by Bruno Borges (28 points) , Paulo Maline and Victor Oliveira (27 points) Tiago Amaro(26 points) and Eric Malta (17 points)- all took home prizes from the GR Company Lifestyle range (bottles, towels, t-shirts and caps).
Aside from prejudices, the first event also broke down other barriers, as Paulo Maline recounts.
“Today, for the first time in 30 years of marriage, I saw the impossible happen: my wife was interested in and excited about a sport. I had already tried everything, but she has always lost interest and now I can see a shared interest. I think that perhaps there will be yet another couple in the IPSC.
Jose Medeiros, Technical Director of Team GugaRibasand also an experienced Practical Shooting athlete, evaluated GR Starters and the tournament.
“It’s very important to bring influential people like university students. With the advent of social networks these people are incredibly important, as they encourage the sport. This way, we can try and remove the stigma that guns are associated with violence. Their performance was very good and it’s interesting that the victor was female.
In research carried out after the event it was clear that the IPSC needs more GR Starters events and that this will make it possible to change the course of the sport in Brazil. Of the 24 participants, 20 awarded top marks and showed that GugaRibas Company has taken a step forward in adding value to its brand.
Are you interested in participating or learning more? You can contact the GR team via email: email@example.com.
Check out th event: