Tim Bradley is a member of the exhibition shooting team for the shotgun manufacturer Benelli, giving a demonstration at the Southwest Ag Summit Conference. Video by Janet Chasse and Ryan Brennecke
World-class exhibition shooter Tim Bradley has a unique way of tossing a salad... with a shotgun. Video by Janet Chasse
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World-class shooter takes aim in Yuma
Known as the "Ultimate Shooter," Tim Bradley said the hardest part of his job is keeping his guns loaded during his demonstrations.
Bradley, a member of the exhibition shooting team for the shotgun manufacturer Benelli, was in Yuma on Wednesday performing a shotgun shooting demonstration during the Southwest Ag Summit Conference held at the University of Arizona Extension Farm.
"This is my office," Bradley said while standing along a field across the street from the farm. "It's pretty fun stuff. I get to do this 80 times a year and travel the world."
For about half an hour, Bradley entertained the crowd with a display of sharpshooting and pure speed shooting.
During his demonstration, Bradley shot about 175 skeet targets, including nine at once - all before they hit the ground. He also shot other items such as golf balls, pieces of chalk and various vegetables.
"I bet these guys weren't used to seeing their produce all shot up," Bradley said.
In a final act dedicated to U.S. military troops, he shot red, white and blue clay targets and then a gallon jug of gasoline that ignited in a fireball.
Shotguns are only a small part of what Bradley can do with a firearm. He is also considered an expert with a .22-caliber pistol and a scoped rifle, able to shoot the weapons both right- and left-handed.
Bradley said he learned to shoot at an early age, having grown up on his family's farm in northeast Arkansas.
"I was a country boy and have always been fascinated by guns," Bradley said. "I lived in the country so that was about all I would do."
Although he doesn't get to practice much anymore, Bradley said he spent years - and thousands upon thousands of rounds of ammunition - honing his shooting skills.
After mastering one challenging shot, Bradley said he would make it more difficult or come up with a new one that was seemingly even more impossible.
"After I learned how to do it, it just kind of comes natural. It's pretty easy now," Bradley said. "When I did practice, I would spend five or six hours a day shooting."
Determination and dedication to perfecting specific shooting skills finally paid off for Bradley in 2006, when he was invited by Tom Knapp, Team Benelli USA’s World Record-holding exhibition shooter, and Benelli’s vice president of marketing and communications, Stephen McKelvain, to join the team's busy shooting exhibition schedule.
Bradley said he never started out to be an exhibition shooter, but that is what happened.
"I didn't even know what an exhibition shooter was," Bradley said. "Next thing you know I am one. Stranger things have happened."
Bradley said he quit shooting for a while to become a bounty hunter. He said while he was off chasing bad guys, he was often around a lot of law enforcement personnel who just didn't believe that he could make some of the shots he told them about.
So to prove it, Bradley said he made some demonstration videos.
"I could always shoot and didn't realize most people couldn't," Bradley said.
Nowadays Bradley travels the world, with Benelli shotgun in hand, doing what he truly enjoys. He has upcoming demonstrations in Hawaii and Italy.
James Gilbert can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6854.