Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Top Shot Recap: S4 E7 "Trick Shot Shoot Off"

Trick shooting makes its triumphant return to Top Shot, but as the contestants continue to dwindle, the tensions in the house continue to rise.

This week kicked off with blue team surprised that Chris Cheng had outed Tim Trefren in the elimination challenge, before everyone headed off to practice.

The Remington M1911 pistol and the Volquartsen Rutger 10/22 rifle were this week's featured weapons, but the real treat was Colby revealing that this would be the trick shot challenge.

Red team got to practice first and seemed pretty confident coming out that they would have a good chance at winning this challenge. Then in comes the blue team, who were starting to tire of William Bethards constant boasting of his skills. Despite coming off of two wins, blue team was a mess during their practice session. Their pistol shooting was fine, but Bethards insisted that he would be shooting pistols in the challenge, and it was therefore pointless to practice with the rifle. This rubbed his teammates the wrong way, especially when they all struggled to get a handle on the rifle. Bethards finally relented and showed he had the skills to back up his talk by nailing the targets with the rifle.

However, when blue team went back to the house to strategize for the challenge, Bethards boasting in practice became a point of contention for the rest of his teammates. Terry Vaughan called him out for not being a team player, while Bethards argued back that the rest of his teammates had backed down from the rifle because they couldn't handle it.

With five shooters, the challenge featured five different stations. At the first station, contestants would have three chances with the Remington to shoot a bowling pin straight back between two pins on either side of it. Each clean hit was worth a point. Chris Cheng continued his strong run this season, going three for three on his run. Augie Malekovich hit two for three on his turn, putting blue behind from the get-go.

The second station featured a similar set up, except this time the contestant had to hit the lead pin and knock it back into one, or both of the pins on either side of it. Each knock down was worth a point. Kyle Sumpter went two for three for red, while Greg Littlejohn only managed to hit on one of his attempts.

The third station featured three soda bottles with openers rigged to their caps. Using the Volquartsen rifle, contestants had three chances to open the bottle; each clean hit was worth a point. Terry Vaughan went first for blue, missing on his first shot, nailing the second, and demolishing the bottle in spectacular fashion on his third. Gabby Franco shot for red, and after missing her first two shots, nailed the third.

The fourth station brought back the Remington pistol. Down range there were two buckets placed ontop of each other. The contestant would have to shoot the bottom bucket first, which would then launch the second bucket in the air. Contestants would only score a point if they hit the bucket in midair; again three chances worth one point apiece. Gary Shank made it look easy, going three-for-three on his run. Dylan Fletcher showed how truly difficult this challenge was though, bringing up a goose egg on his turn.

The final station featured four gumballs placed atop golf tees, sitting 75 feet downrange. Contestants would use the Volquartsen rifle to hit the targets, but each gumball was worth three points. Bethards took up the rifle at the request of his teammates, but only managed to hit one target. With red team still in the lead at that point, there was no point in Chee Kwan shooting.

Blue team went back to the house, and Fletcher nominated himself before the team even got started talking. However, he also pulled a Tim Trefren by calling out who he wanted to shoot against, which was Bethards. The rest of the team seemed ok with this, and that's how it went down on the range, but not without incident.
While most contestants pick up the gun and focus on hitting their target (because no one wants to be the contestant who misses on the nomination range), Bethards took the shot one handed, and drilled the center of Fletcher's target, a stunt that didn't help his standing among the rest of his teammates.

At the elimination practice they found out they would be shooting two more kinds of pistols: the SIG Sauer P229 and the Browning Buck Mark. From the practice, it was pretty clear that Bethards was going in with the advantage, but Fletcher's practice wasn't bad, and it's always hard to say what will happen in a elimination challenge.

What happened was more bowling pins, this time ten of them, set up like at a bowling alley but on four descending tiers. The contestants wouldn't simply be shooting the pins though. Each pin had had the top sawed off, and placed back on top. Using the Browning, contestants would first shoot the tops off of all of their pins. Once they did that they would switch to the SIG and hit the bottoms. Each hit was worth a point, but no points would be awarded if they hit the bottoms first. They had two minutes to complete the challenge.

The challenge started off fairly tight, with Fletcher keeping pace with Bethards up to five hits, and both contestants losing a pin to an errant shot. However, Bethards pulled away and finished the rest of his run clean with a total of 18 points. Since contestants had two minutes to complete the challenge and time had not run out on the clock, Fletcher still had a chance to come back and tie, but another errant shot hit the bottom of a pin, and sent him packing.

Hey diddle diddle is still in the building, but have his showboating ways painted a target on his back? What do you think of Bethards newest portrayal as the cockiest guy in the room? Hit the comments and let me know.

I'll be breaking down all the good stuff tomorrow in my analysis of this episode.

Follow me on Twitter @cswiets


  1. Alright, here comes the behind the scenes!!!

    Although The History Channel has done a great job of concealing Williams attitude that was ALWAYS a wrench in the gears of the Blue team, America finally got to see what he has really been like the whole season. Don't get me wrong. The guy has skills. He is however the most arrogant, bragging showboat any of us had ever met. As far as he was concerned, he had mastered every gun ever made and was the best with all of them. Now unfortunately, if you really got to see all the shots he made during the practices and challenges, the guy wasn't quite as good as he thought. I terrific example is when we used the M14. The dude BARELY slid into the house with that shot, but don't tell him that because that's not how he remembered it.

    Wills recap of what went on in practice was total BS. When we were out there, there was no shortage of people ponying up to shoot the rifle. I was even chose to sight the rifle in for our team since I own one of those, had tons of rounds through it, and was dead-nuts accurate with it. I automatically volunteered to shoot whatever the hardest targets were with the rifle. Terry and Augie also volunteered. We had to damn near break William's arm just to get him to try the rifle out. When he finally did, he was really good with it. Now here's an interesting thing to think about. William says in the team meeting that the pistol stuff was easy and that's why we were all trying to shoot that easy stuff. Yet, William put up more of a fight that anyone to do it. He didn't even want to try the rifle.

    When it came down to it, here is a breakdown of why each person shot what they did. William could shoot the bowling pins straight back, but he was better at the rifle than Augie and Augie was the second best at shooting the pins straight back. Augie gets the first bowling pins.

    No one could get the pins to go into the side boxes on command and we just had to pick someone out of the hat for that one. We chose Littlejohn, because he wasn't as good with the rifle in practice and Augie was already shooting the other bowling pins. Augie is on the second bowling pins. Also, we all agreed before we assigned anyone to that job that we would not nominate them no matter what happened. The truth is, that part of the challenge was too much luck and not enough skill. Even Bob Vogel said, "this part is a total crap shoot."

    When it came to the flying cans, NOBODY ELSE hit a single one in the air. I really wanted to shoot the rifle, but for some reason, I could hit those cans in practice. I even commented to the team, "listen guys... I'll be the first to say that me hitting those cans today was pretty lucky. I'll take full responsibility for it no matter what happens, but I'm being honest with you guys." Since I was the only one hitting them, I got that job.

    Terry is the most consistent shooter in the world. He might not be the best at everything, but if you put a gun in his hands, he'll shoot it just as well as whether it's at a range, in practice, in the challenge, whatever. He did well with the rifle. He got the bottle openers.

    1. Sorry. I'm typing really fast. There is going to be typos.

  2. William really did well in practice with the rifle at the smallest targets. With all of his talk all the time, he should have been absolute aces and a total ringer for that challenge. It actually baffled all of us when he didn't want to shoot the rifle and fought so hard for the pistol. It was like he didn't even care about the team winning, he was only concerned with himself.

    Obviously in the team meeting, certain people just couldn't handle William's attitude anymore and what America didn't see was just how heated that meeting got. Everyone let him have it both barrels. At that point, I knew we were screwed. Even as we were walking out to the challenge, everyone was in horrible moods.

    When we actually shot the challenge, I can't speak for everyone else, but my luck definitely ran out. How about Gary though!! Was that an awesome performance or what! No one told me he did cowboy trick shots and ariel targets were something he had a ton of experience with. I was blown away. To this day, the person I enjoyed competing with most was Gary. That guy is one hell of a shooter.

    So we lose. Now it's time to figure out who is going to elimination.

    There was no way in hell I wasn't going to elimination. I straight told everyone, "I am going. Nobody better get creative." Now since I was going, I wanted to pick my challenger. Considering that everyone but me and Augie shot the same, it really could have been anyone. I knew ahead of time what I wanted to do if I ever went to elimination. I wanted to go up against the strongest shooter on our team. I figured I had to do it eventually if i was going to win and I didn't want to just pick someone else to prolong anything. I wanted to take on the big dog right out of the gate. I admit, my team might have nominated someone else if I hadn't forced it, but I completely steered them into nominating Will and I. I even pulled Will aside the next morning and told him that the reason I wanted him in elimination with me was because I had the most respect for him as a shooter and thought he was the best on the team, and if I was going to win, I wanted it to be because I beat the best. If I lost, I wanted to be sent home by the best. He and I actually kind of worked everything out right then and there and came to a good understanding. By the time we headed out for practice, he and I were all smiles and handshakes.

    When we got out to the practice, I was having a really hard time with the guns. It wasn't out of nervousnous or anything like that. There are just certain guns in the world that don't work well with me. Really every shooter is that way. When we pick our guns for competition, carry weapons, home defense, etc., we try all kinds of stuff and pick what we're best with. I just wasn't personally good with those two guns. I kind of pulled it all together by the end of practice, but it wasn't like I was going to have any "warm up time" to get used to them again before the challenge.

  3. I wish I could say that there was some other force that put me at a disadvantage for that challenge, but honestly, that was just Will's specialty and certainly not mine. Needless to say, he gave me a good show. I will say though that the .22 they gave me was doing fine for the first magazine, and then turned into a jamming nightmare. It would double feed about every 5th round. Since I could fix the malfunctions myself, it wasn't considered reason to stop the challenge and switch the guns out. I just kept at it and struggled through it. At one point, my gun actually did have an unrecoverable malfunction and they had to stop us for about 20 minutes until they could get it fixed. Like I said though, I'm not blaiming the gun. If I had been more accurate, the jams wouldn't have mattered. In the end, it was on me. I lost.

    I made sure Will knew that there was no hard feelings and it was exactly what I wanted. He allowed me to be sent hom the way I chose it to happen. I couldn't ask for anymore than that. I wasn't beaten by someone I knew I should have smoked. I was beaten by someone I honestly thought would give me the most challenge.

    All I hope is that the Blue team pulled it together after that and put it all behind them. I really only know tidbits of stuff that happened after I left, but I told everyone not to tell me anything. I can't wait to start enjoying the show without knowing what's coming. It's a lot more fun that way. As far as I'm concerned, the first half of the show was ruined for me because I always knew what was coming.

    So that's it for me. Thanks for letting me tell another side of the story. Keep up the reporting. I read it every episode.