MISSOULA - Marcus Klemp, a junior at Big Sky High School started shooting air rifles at a camp when he was nine. Today he shoots at the West Riverside Range in Missoula.
And for Klemp, the love of the sport has turned into national success. He is also the sole representative of the State of Montana and the United States in the men’s air pistol.
"For men's air pistol, I am the only athlete. On the team, there are five athletes total three are in California and one is in Georgia,” Klemp said.
Competitive shooting is simple. The athlete stands ten meters and tries to hit a target using a firearm, whether that's a rifle or a pistol.
The best score is 600. At the 2023 Junior Olympic Pistol Championship last month, Marcus scored 562 to qualify for the international competition.
Klemp explained what the moment he found out he qualified felt like.
“It’s absolutely surreal it’s nothing that I really thought about going into it because shooting was just something that I loved to do... My goals were really just for college and to be an NCAA athlete and get a scholarship and go to a cool college and have some fun experiences. But now after qualifying for the junior world champions it’s tilting my choices a little bit,” Klemp explained.
Klemp isn’t the only one in Missoula to represent the State of Montana or the United States. His coach Jason Herndon shot at an international match this last February in Cairo, Egypt. Herndon explains Klemp’s journey from his eyes.
“He shot state shot a 545 at state. He went down for junior nationals last year and was the state champion again this year. Went down and shot Junior Olympics again this year and was first in his division and third overall and made the junior national team, and the junior world cup and junior world championship teams,” Herndon said.
Herndon is making a run at the team for these next Olympic games. Klemp will be traveling to South Korea this July to compete at the Junior Olympics international competition.