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A Love Story, Shooting Style . . .

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (February 14, 2012)

Jamie & Hank GrayIt’s Valentine’s Day and the world is bursting with love stories and tokens of love and USA Shooting is no stranger to its own romantic tales.  In shooting, bullets and pellets are the projectiles of choice but for a select few, arrows have had the greatest impact on their lives -- as in Cupid’s arrows.  Love has struck more than one happy couple among USA Shooting’s National Team as a love for shooting has developed into an impenetrable bond among the sport’s elite.  

Hank Gray and USA Shooting National Team member Jamie (Beyerle) Gray began dating in 2004 and their affection for one another grew despite never being in the same time zone until the end of 2009.  The time they spent apart, they say, is perhaps what makes them as strong as they are today.  

“We started dating when I was still going to school in Alaska and tried to phone each other as much as possible, but the time difference was quite a challenge,” said Jamie.  “When I moved to Colorado the time difference was a little easier to deal with, so we talked every day and we both believe that is why we have such great communication with each other.” 

But, it is Hank’s proposal that any sportsman could envy.  On a cold, dark day in the middle of Kansas, blazoned in full camo, shotguns in hand and no turkeys to be seen, Hank got down on one knee using the turkey blind as the ultimate setting and proposed to his love of seven years.  Unsure on what type of ring to get, Hank decided, as Jamie puts it “to go big or go home” and revealed the biggest toy novelty ring she had ever seen and popped the question. Swept off her feet, Jamie, of course, said yes. 

 Leaving Kansas in their modernized hunting vehicle, the Mini Cooper S, the couple got stuck in the mud, literally, and Hank allowed his new loving fiancé to get out in the mud and push the car.  Covered in mud, Jamie forgave her soon-to-be-husband and when they got to the next big town, they shopped together for the perfect engagement ring. 

The couple was married on September 5, 2011 and they look for a long future together among the air and smallbore rifle ranges of Ft. Benning, Ga., and throughout the world as well as many more successful turkey hunts yet to come. 

Matt and Katie Emmons are perhaps shooting’s most recognizable couple with five Olympic medals between them.  But it was each other’s disappointment, not success, which brought them together.  Click here for the story in their own words: http://www.2008.nbcolympics.com/shooting/news/newsid=122061.html

USA Shooting National Team members Eric and Sandra Uptagrafft met at CISM (Military World Games) in Ankara, Turkey in 2000.  Eric is headed back to the Olympic Games for Men’s 50m Rifle Prone after a 14-year absence while Sandra is trying to make the team as a pistol shooter.  

The demands of competitive shooting and their military careers are taking a toll on their Valentine’s Day yet again.  Eric will spend today at USAS Official Sponsor ELEY headquarters in England testing ammo.  Last year, Sandra was deployed in Afghanistan. In 2009, Eric was shooting at the Rocky Mountain Rifle Championships.  In 2008, Eric was deployed overseas in Kuwait.   There may have been two years over the past five that they’ve actually managed to be together, but Eric doesn’t recall. 

“I did manage to get Sandra flowers this year in my absence,” Eric said. “I don't always do well in that department.” 

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