One of the largest 3-Gun competitions in the country, the Wyoming Magpul Governor's Match, brought competitors to beautiful Cody, Wyoming Jul. 31 to Aug. 2 for a display for responsible, safe firearm ownership and Second Amendment rights. 

Former Wyoming Governor, Matt Mead, created the event in 2016 to expose politicians and local citizens to the shooting sports. The match also serves to attract firearm manufacturers and distributors to Wyoming, giving the local economy a boost

One of the many shops that benefit from the shooting match in Cody Wyoming! (Photo: Taylor Thorne/

When an area hosts a major shooting competition, hundreds of competitors descend upon the area looking for lodging, dining, and entertainment. The Wyoming government further capitalizes on this economic opportunity by sending competitors local attraction information and discount codes. Additionally, competitors are thanked for their participation in the match, and, as a competitor, you feel valued. In what other shooting competition do you get messages from the Governor? 

Sunrise just out front of the club house at the Cody Shooting Complex. As a staff member, Taylor camped on site and got to witness these beautiful rises as staff headed out early to the ranges. (Photo: Taylor Thorne/

The match gives competitive shooters a platform to serve as role models to the rest of the Second Amendment community, encouraging more people to get involved. Many of the volunteer staff came from the Wyoming Outdoor Recreation department, and many had never been to a competition. Most of the volunteers were able to borrow gear from the competitor and, with coaching, give competition shooting a try.

The author with two youth competitors and their range dog! This family comes to matches as a way to bond, have fun, and teach responsibility. (Photo: Taylor Thorne/

This event was a United Shooting Sports League match featuring two main divisions -- 3-Gun and 2x4.  3-Gun competitors use three guns -- a shotgun, pistol, and rifle. Meanwhile, 2x4 allows pistol caliber carbines to be used in place of one of those firearms. USSL, a growing league on the West Coast, put together some incredible stages. Navigating the natural terrain of Wyoming was a blast! I dodged sagebrush and ran up rocky hills with beautiful views. Stages featured aerial clays, long-range rifle targets, pistol spinners, and much more. 

Stag Arms is one of the top rifle companies located in Wyoming and sponsored this match to show its support. Shown are the Marine Shooting Team and their fellow squad mates. (Photo: Taylor Thorne/

At night, we cruised the western part of Cody. We visited restaurants like the famous Irma Hotel (rocky mountain oysters a specialty), checked out the world-famous Cody Firearms Museum and the nightly Cody Rodeo, and more. 

My hope is that other states take a page out of Wyoming’s book and see the political, financial, and Second Amendment benefits of hosting a major shooting competition. Perhaps the Wyoming Magpul Governor’s Match will open some eyes to the benefits of competitive shooting, encouraging more involvement in the sport. For me, it was an honor to be a part of this match and to share its message.

Many military branches have shooting teams, including the National Guard, pictured above. These servicemen are stationed in Utah, Arkansas, Michigan, Idaho, and Missouri. Thank you for your service! (Photo: Taylor Thorne/


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