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Top Shot: Best Marksmen in the Country

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While it seems like the reality television show craze has taken every possible turn, there is at least one show out there that could still be of interest to outdoorsmen and women. The History channel's Top Shot is set to air its second season tonight (10 p.m. ET), with even bigger and better stunts than last season. The show has selected 16 of the best marksmen in the country to compete in a variety of shooting challenges that include shooting out of a moving vehicle, shooting from a crane and shooting while being turned upside down. The contestants will utilize every sort of weapon from blowguns to .50 caliber rifles. The winner gets a $100,000 prize package and the Top Shot title. Photos: History channel
The cast includes a 10-time NRA pistol champ, two former world shooting champs, a Texas cop, a Jersey shore Air Force sniper, a Bronze Star recipient, and representatives from four branches of the military. Here's a look at some of the contestants. Brian "Gunny" Zins
AGE: 41
Poland, OH
Brian is best known for two things: his giant grin and being the NRA's 10-time National Pistol Champ. He's not afraid to boast that no one has ever been a seven, eight, or nine-time champ either. Brian became a shooter for the Marine Corps pistol team and hasn't stopped competitive shooting since. Having set numerous national records in the NRA, it's no surprise that Brian loves the challenge of a good competition. Recently retired from the Marine Corps and now an Independent Security Contractor, he is excited to be competing as a civilian. He believes that he has the skills to go pro and wants the opportunity to prove it. SKILLS / EXPERIENCE:
-10-time NRA National Pistol Champ
-Set over 30 national records in NRA Indoor and Outdoor Conventional Pistol Shooting
-U.S. Marine Corps Military Police Officer
-Competitive shooter for Marine Corps Pistol team
-Combat marksmanship instructor for Marine Corps with rifle and pistol
-Was trained in FBI advanced firearms
Ashley Spurlin
Age: 34
Richmond, VA
Air Force Special Ops
As a 10-year member of the elite Air Force Unit Special Operations Command, Ashley Spurlin has developed his shooting skills in combat – not competitions. "I've had the stress of direct combat as opposed to some people who are just competition shooters." He recently received a Bronze Star on his last deployment in Afghanistan. A graduate of the Special Forces Halo and SCUBA schools, he is used to adapting to any new weapon system with no prior training. A true and tested warrior, Ashley says he's quick to avoid people who don't share his mentality. SKILLS / EXPERIENCE:
-Air Force Combat Control member for the last 10 years
-Competes USPSA Production Class D
-Received a Bronze Star after his last deployment to Afghanistan
-Has used mortars and 105mm cannons
-Considers himself an excellent shot with rifles and assault weapons
Athena Lee
AGE: 32
Katy, TX
"Who doesn't want to see a short, Asian chick kick butt?" On the pro circuit, kicking butt is exactly what she's done. After winning two world IPSC Championship titles on the Philippine Ladies Team – and getting increasingly frustrated with the restrictions on professional shooters there – Athena emigrated to the U.S., where in 2008, she helped win a world title for the American Women's team. In addition to competing, she was also a firearms instructor in Houston where she is passionate about opening people's minds about the sport of shooting. SKILLS / EXPERIENCE:
-2002 and 2003 World Speed Shooting Open Women's Champion
-1999 and 2008 IPSC World Shoot Open Women's Champion
-2001 and 2007 Australasian Open Women's Champion
-2002 and 2007 USPSA National Open Women's Champion
Chris Reed
AGE: 37
Franklin, TN
A self-described "good ol' country boy trained in the cotton fields of the Mississippi Delta" – don't let Chris Reed's unassuming personality fool you. He's been training all of his life for a competition like this that demands proficiency with a wide range of weapons – and not just guns. "I can throw knives, shoot any kind of bow, and shoot slingshots. There are very few people that can cover the whole spectrum. When it comes to competition, Chris is all business. "I'm about as competitive as they come and as tough as a rattlesnake!" A serious all-around competitor, this runner up in Field & Stream's 2009 Total Outdoorsman Challenge has won countless state and national championships in both archery and long rifle. SKILLS / EXPERIENCE:
-2010 National Rifle, Shotgun and Archery Finalist
-12-gauge Sporting Clays National Champion in 2009
-.22 Long Rifle National Champion in 2009
-Marine Corps honor graduate and Company High Shooter
-2009 Runner-up in Field & Stream's "Total Outdoorsman Challenge"
Chris Tilley
AGE: 25
Raleigh, NC
Professional Shooter
When he was just 11 years old, Chris Tilley showed so much shooting talent, that his dad built an indoor shooting range. At 17, he won the Junior World Championship and held the title from 2002-2008. By 21, he was the youngest-ever Open National Champion. In the past 11 years, he has won more than 50 major matches and two National Championships. As if that isn't enough, Chris has been working as a firearms retailer and instructor while working on the family farm. One of the pros to beat this season, Chris is a ferociously competitive person who says he can get a bit impatient. SKILLS / EXPERIENCE:
-2002 Junior World Champion
-2006 & 20082 National USPSA Champion
-Won more than 50 major matches
-Firearms Instructor
-Professional pistol shooter
-Owns exotic weapons
-Owns/shoots machine guns on his farm
Eric Anderson
AGE: 46
Webster, FL
Landfill Supervisor
Two quotes from Eric Anderson: "God didn't make men equal. Smith and Wesson did." "I'm here with the big dogs… and I'm off the leash." This brash cowboy admits he can be a trash talker in competitions, but that's only because he thinks its fun. Eric is a triple threat with strong backgrounds in military (nine years in the Marine Corps), police (he was the Academy top shooter) and hunting (three years as a safety instructor). He most recently claimed a Cowboy Mounted Shooting National Championship title. No matter what firearm, Eric loves shooting it. SKILLS / EXPERIENCE:
-2010 CMSA National Champion – Men's Class 4
-Certified hunting safety instructor for Florida fish and wildlife conservation
-Former Marine Corps marksmanship instructor, expert badge in pistol and rifle
-Former police officer, received a Florida Police Academy Top Shooter trophy
-Owns a hunting bow but does not consider himself an expert
George Reinas
AGE: 26
Mount Laurel, NJ
USAF Sniper
"I'm big, I'm mean. I'm going to destroy the competition." This Air Force sniper has reason to be cocky – he's good. Not only is he a certified military, civilian and SWAT sniper, he's an instructor in all of them as well. George Reinas was the sniper team leader as well as the coach of last year's winning sniper team at the AF Rodeo Competition. An obsessive weight lifter, he regularly benches 400+ pounds and curls 200 pounds, barely breaking a sweat. A self-described Jersey Shore guy, he's not afraid to tell it like it is. SKILLS / EXPERIENCE:
-Air Force Sniper School instructor
-Certified military, civilian and SWAT instructor
-Avid bow hunter
-Heavy weapons combat instructor
-2006 Air Mobility Command Rodeo sniper Champion team
-Coach of the 2009 Air Mobility Command Rodeo Sniper Champion team
Jamie Franks
AGE: 31
San Diego, CA
US Navy Rescue Swimmer
One thing really bugged Jamie Franks while watching the first season of Top Shot — "Where were the Navy guys?" Though the Navy is not necessarily known for marksmanship, Jamie knows he can outshoot the other branches any day. The graduate of the Navy Expeditionary Combat Skills and Practical Weapons courses and Anti-Terrorism Force Protection/Deadly Force Training is a rifle and pistol expert. As a 13-year active duty Navy rescue swimmer and an Operations Specialist, this self-proclaimed "natural leader" attended Seals training twice. During his two ground deployments to Afghanistan, he was hand-selected for several personal security details in combat zones. Jamie admits there is "no filter between my brain and my mouth" and wants to prove that he's the pride of the Navy. SKILLS / EXPERIENCE:
-Navy rifle and pistol marksmanship expert
-Joint Service Commendation Medal
-4 Navy/Marine Corps achievement medals
-Navy Meritorious Unit commendation and National Defense Service medal
-Formal training in Navy Rescue, Underwater Demolition, Low-light Shooting, and Rescue Swimmer Instruction
-Occasional hunter. Shot long and compound bows when younger
-Competed in local amateur trap shooting events
Jay Lim
AGE: 35
Fullerton, CA
Golf Instructor
"I'm not just a shooter, I'm an athlete. I'm a thinker. I'm all that. Whatever I think — I can get my body to do." Jay Lim is an amateur shooter who believes his natural abilities can earn him the Top Shot title. Boastful? Maybe. But this golf instructor can back it up. He has competed in archery events on a national level, once taking him all the way to the 2004 Olympic Trials. Not just archery, Jay competes with air pistols, air rifle, skeet, and handguns. He's a self-described over-achiever who loves marksmanship because "there is perfection in shooting, and that is what I strive for." SKILLS / EXPERIENCE:
-Competes in local and national archery and air pistol events, placing within top 10%
-Qualified in 2004 Olympic Trials for archery
-Olympic and American skeet training by medalist Kim Rhode
-Shoots Olympic air rifles, air pistols, freestyle hand thrown clays, handguns, and blow guns; also throws knives
Jermaine Finks
AGE: 38
Lancaster, PA
Federal Agent
"Most people describe me as intimidating." This soft-spoken shooter may not say much, but when he does, he means it. Imposing and intense, Jermaine Finks is a Federal Agent and the firearms instructor. He honed his marksmanship skill with 15 years in the Army, three years as a Pennsylvania State Constable and seven years in the Department of Homeland Security. But a more unexpected experience has prepared him for the competition. A cancer survivor, Jermaine isn't intimidated by any obstacle. SKILLS / EXPERIENCE:
-Department of Homeland Security instructor in tactics, defensive measures and firearms
-State law enforcement training
-U.S. Army training with semi-automatic pistols and assault rifles
-Considers himself an expert with most modern firearms
-Has used bow and arrow, paint guns and grenade launchers
John Guida
AGE: 44
Buffalo, NY
Restaurant owner
John Guida has one goal: win the competition as some unknown restaurant guy, and make everyone stop and say "well what the hell just happened?" John runs a restaurant in Buffalo but before running the family business, he spent 10 years in competitions racking up six different state championships, multiple area championships, three top-16 National Finishes, and two top-30 World finishes. Today he still hunts in the forests of upstate New York with handguns and bows. He calls himself an extremely competitive guy who likes to talk – sometimes too much. SKILLS / EXPERIENCE:
-12-year USPSA member
-Six USPSA State Championship wins
-Three Top-16 National finishes
-Two Top-30 World finishes
-Hunts with rifles and bows
Joe Serafini
AGE: 28
Bourbonnais, IL
Like many people these days, times have been tough for this young, unemployed construction worker, which would make winning the $100,000 prize and title of Top Shot even more meaningful. Joe Serafini is an expert archer who holds 26 state championship titles in six states. But this marksman knows his guns, too. Joe was the company high shooter in Marines boot camp and has shot in the division matches at Camp Pendleton. He is a qualified expert with both the M16 and Berretta 9mm pistols, and has experience with rifles, shotguns, machine guns, slug guns and muzzleloaders. With this many shooting awards to his name, it's hard to argue when he says, "When I shoot, I shoot to win." SKILLS / EXPERIENCE:
-Company High Shooter in Marine boot camp
-Shot in Camp Pendleton division matches
-Considers himself an excellent shot with pistols, long guns and muzzleloaders
-Numerous IBO archery titles, including Missouri State Turkey Champion, Illinois Turkey Classic State Champion, and Indiana State Turkey Champion
-Two-time Second place winner in the NFAA 3-D Nationals
-Former Junior Olympic archer
Kyle Frasure
AGE: 24
Newport Beach, CA
"Everybody I come across in my day-to-day life is astonished when I tell them that I shoot shotguns competitively." This stylish Southern California kid may defy people's preconceptions of a competitive shooter, but Kyle Frasure's a two-time All-American Sporting Clays team member, a California State Junior Champion, and a top-three ranked gunner in numerous zone championships. He picked up a gun at age six when his parents left him a .22 caliber rifle under the Christmas tree and shooting has been a passion ever since. SKILLS / EXPERIENCE:
-Competitive shotgun shooter
-Specialty in International Skeet and Sporting Clays
-Competes in state, regional and national championships and U.S. Opens
-2005 California Class B State Champion
-2007 Sub-Junior State Champ
-IPSC competitor
Maggie Reese
AGE: 31
Chino, CA
Pro Shooter
"I love shooting against bigger, stronger, tougher men." Don't be fooled by her stunning looks — Maggie Reese is a professional multi-gun champion with numerous national titles under her belt. With 13 years of experience in the shooting sports, Maggie has made quite a name for herself in the gun community at home and abroad (having competed internationally as well). And when it comes to Top Shot, she's not afraid of the competition. "I love it when they underestimate me and I love when I have an opportunity to prove myself." SKILLS / EXPERIENCE:
-Sponsored by Surefire, Safariland, Hornady, Voigt Technologies
-2009 and 2010 USPSA Multigun Ladies Open National Champion
-2009 and 2010 Superstition Mountain Mystery 3-gun Ladies Open Champion
-2010 Bianchi Cup- 5th place Women's overall
-Numerous first place titles at regional 3-gun matches
Travis Marsh
AGE: 37
Weatherford, TX
Environmental Business Project Manager
Travis Marsh is looking for a second chance. This project manager and father of five was once a 10-time National Junior Champ and member of the U.S. Shooting Team, poised to take the shooting world by storm until, he says, the fame and adulation went to his head. The night before Olympic tryouts, Travis broke his arm in a bar fight and saw his dreams of gold medal victory fade away. But now, nearly two decades later, Travis has another chance to prove his shooting skill. This time, though, it will be for his kids.
-Eight-time State Champ for Running Game Targets
-14 years on the U.S. Shooting Team with rifle
-10-time National Junior Champ
-Hunts with compound bow and muzzleloader
-339th person (out of only 432) to receive the International Distinguished Badge
-Trains at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs
Daryl Parker
AGE: 44
Bonham, TX
Sheriff's Lieutenant
In preparation for season 2 of Top Shot, this Texas cop built every challenge from season 1 in his backyard. Daryl Parker is here to win. A Deputy Sheriff and 21-year Marine vet, Daryl has always had an adventurous streak. He has deployed around the world, speaks three languages, and has nine personal decorations from generals and ambassadors. Yet despite all of his adventures, his proudest moment is winning gold as the captain of the Marine Corps Shooting Team in both the Eastern and Pacific D divisions. SKILLS / EXPERIENCE:
-Multiple qualifications as both rifle and pistol expert
-Gold medal captain of two competitive Marine Corps rifle/pistol teams – Pacific and Eastern divisions
-Member of Championship Rifle Team; won the 2002 Smith Trophy in the Pacific Division Matches
-Certified Law Enforcement Firearms instructor
-Proficient with spears, blowguns, bolos and exotic weapons Visit Top Shot's fan page on Facebook here.
Top Shot contestants will be using a variety of guns and primitive weapons. Here's a list of the guns they'll be using throughout Season 2. Thompson .45 machine gun
This gun earned an infamous reputation during the prohibition era as it became a favorite sidekick for alcohol runners, earning it the nickname the Chicago typewriter. But the gun was also widely used in WWII. Photo:Altoing
Sharps rifle
The first Sharps rifle was patented in 1848 and the guns quickly made a name for themselves as accurate, long-range shooters.
Colt .45 1911
A classic handgun for the ages. The 1911 turned 100 years old this year, and it's still shooting.
Colt Official Police
This six shooter was introduced in 1927 in .38 special. As the name suggests, it was designed for law enforcement agencies and became one of the best selling police firearms of its time. Photo:Hatchetfish
.44 Magnum
The Top Shot execs haven't said what make or model of .44 the contestants will be using yet, but for their sake let's hope they're hanging on with both hands. Photo: Jeff Dean
Springfield's M1A is the civilian version of the M14, which was a standard issue rifle for the U.S. military from 1959 to 1970.
Glock 17
Despite being a "plastic gun" the Glock has become a favorite for police agencies around the country as well as national armed forces.
Compound Bow – Bowtech
They haven't said which bow the contestants will be shooting from Bowtech, but my money is on the brand new Invasion.
What would a competitive shooting show be without an AR-15 segment?
Not necessarily a firearm, contestants will have to throw a Tomahawk in one competition. Today, many U.S. soldiers still use modernized Tomahawks as a weapon and tool in the field. Photo: lonniehansen
The blowgun is considered an exotic weapon, but some of the contestants do have experience using them.
Ruger Security Six 357 Magnum
This big boy was introduced in 1971 as Sturm and Ruger's first attempt to enter the double action revolver market. Photo: MatthewVanitas
Browning Hi-Power
This is one of the most reliable and widely used handguns of all-time. It has been in service in the U.S. military from 1935 until present. Photo: Rama
Ruger 10/22 rifle
Rueger's 10/22 is a classic plinking rifle and many argue that the test of a true marksman is how well he can handle small-caliber rifles.
S&W .22 Pistol
Smith and Wesson is a juggernaut in the handgun industry and they have a variety of .22 pistols.
Barrett 82A1 .50
Contestants will put their shoulders to the test as they sit behind this .50 cal.
M1 Garand
The Garand has become one of the favorite military rifles of all time and was used in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. Photo: curiosandrelics
Benelli M4 Shotgun
This was Benelli's first gas-operated shotgun and the initial models were delivered to U.S. Marines in 1999.
The FAL stands for Fusil Automatique Leger which is Belgian for Light Automatic Rifle. It is one of the most widely used military rifles in the world and has been utilized in more than 90 different countries.
Sig Sauer P228
This gun is basically the same as Sig's P220 but it is capable of using higher capacity staggered-column magazines.

Top Shot has gathered some of the best marksmen from around the country to compete in extreme shooting competitions. Season two airs tonight.