In the middle of last weekend’s T-Class Federation sniper competition in Bulgaria, state Sen. Tom Brewer sent a Nebraska-bound message via text:
“2 days down at the international sniper championships. End of the second day and we are still in first place in our division. We have one more day and a lot can change but we are shooting very well. The Russians are hot on our trail. — Col Brewer”
Then he said: “Broken ribs are a pain.”
The competition required running, jumping, carrying a large rucksack and shooting for three days.
The difficulty of the competition — and the eventual win — were not lost on the 61-year-old military veteran from Gordon. After claiming first place, Brewer mentioned it again. “It was a hard win with the broken ribs.”
But a win, nonetheless. An exciting one.
Brewer and his teammate and son-in-law, Dalton Boden, took the gold cup in the multigun competition, semi-automatic division, using both rifles and pistols.
Boden, a 1st lieutenant in the Nebraska National Guard, is married to Brewer’s daughter Kalee, who is also a 1st lieutenant in the Guard, and they live in Murdock. He was alongside Brewer last year in the same competition.
In 2018, a Bulgarian team finished first in the division and two Russian teams took second and third.
T-Class is a shooting sport that the federation said has gained popularity worldwide over a short period of time. Competitors shoot static or dynamic targets of various distances, known and unknown, from different positions, under artificially created but realistic, stressful circumstances.
It’s called the ultimate tactical sniper competition, including accuracy, speed and precision. And it takes teamwork for the more than 20 stages of day-and-night shooting.
Brewer, a 36-year military veteran, broke three ribs in early September in a bike accident but was determined to continue his training and compete. During his military service, he served six tours in Afghanistan, with multiple injuries, including taking shrapnel from a rocket-propelled grenade.
The man has stamina.
Last year he told the Journal Star: “For me, shooting started at a very young age as a way of surviving on the Indian reservation hunting game. But that skill has come in handy in the military.”
Nebraska’s only Native state senator grew up as an Oglala Sioux on the Pine Ridge Reservation.
Brewer has won 10 national shooting championships. He won the world sniper championship in 1997 at the age of 40.