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"Top Shot 3" Premieres 8/9, Another NE Ohio Contestant

By admin Published: July 14, 2011

Here's the bio of our local contestant, the third in three seasons of the show:

Gary Quesenberry
Age: 40
Medina,
Department of Homeland Security

Aside from Gary’s three kids and his wife, this Department of Homeland Security agent says his biggest accomplishment is joining an elite group of marksmen (fewer than 70 people worldwide) in besting the Triple Nickel Course of Fire. His career has included Army service during Desert Storm and the Special Ops Response Team for the Bureau of Prisons. Gary loves competition so much that he and his friends use target shoots to settle disputes. “It turns out I’m usually right,” he says. “I’m not a very compromising person. I tend to view things as black and white, but I will not be held back.”

SKILLS / EXPERIENCE:
• 2010 Secret Service Pistol Competition - 19th out of 300
• U.S. Army Specialist E4, 1988-1991, and canon crewmember
• Former lead firearms instructor for the Department of Homeland Security
• One of around 70 people in the world to win the Triple Nickel Course of Fire
• Considers himself an expert shot with all firearms

After the jump, I will post the bios on the other competitors. Here's the official word on the premiere: With the most physically demanding challenges yet and more surprising twists than ever before, the hit competition series TOP SHOT is back for a third season premiering on Tuesday, August 9 at 10pm ET on HISTORY. This time, an all-new arsenal of history-inspired challenges awaits 16 fearless contestants as they vie for a $100,000 prize package and the right to claim the title of “Top Shot.”

Continues after the jump.

The 14 marksmen and two markswomen were carefully selected from thousands of applicants to participate in this season of TOP SHOT. The contestants include a national revolver champion, two homeland security agents (who also happen to be close friends), a former Navy SEAL, two cops, a nurse and several firearms instructors. Two of the contestants, a restaurant owner and Christian camp director, are self-taught.

The shooters will have to display mastery of weapons from all eras of human history, from the most primitive (rocks) to the most sophisticated tactical firearms. Contestants will employ some of the biggest munitions ever featured on TOP SHOT, including the Gatling gun, the Hotchkiss mountain gun and the CornerShot. In addition, they must endure extreme physical tests to stay in the game. High-speed HD cameras capture the skillful execution of each test in extreme slow-motion.

The premiere of season three begins with a gauntlet of extreme challenges. 16 marksmen immediately pair off and duel with one of the world’s biggest handguns. Teams are then divided into winners and losers before facing off in a surprise military challenge. In the elimination challenge, two competitors get the ride of their life on a horse-drawn stagecoach as they shoot to stay in the competition.

Here are the bios:

Alex Charvat
Age: 38
Conifer, CO
Engineer

Probably too opinionated for his own good, Alex claims that he’s the most well-rounded person he knows. He can rebuild a car with his blue-collar buddies one day, and then have an intellectual conversation with a college professor the next. As a successful engineer in Colorado, he thinks he’s earned a right to his educated opinions – and he doesn’t have much of a tolerance for the general population of our country. Alex is a recreational marksman who believes that his years of experience in the Army ROTC, shooting in local USPSA matches, and hunting give him the edge over the average American gun nut. A country boy at heart, Alex and his family live out in the woods and do not have cable. And, he has never seen a single episode of TOP SHOT.

SKILLS / EXPERIENCE:
• Grew up hunting, fishing and target shooting
• Shot competitively in college
• Was in the Army ROTC
• Recently started shooting in local USPSA matches

Amanda Hardin
Age: 32
Birmingham, AL
Nurse / Real Estate

“One of my favorite smells is gun oil,” says Amanda. A brash, outspoken nurse and real estate agent, she is a firearms instructor who shoots in IDPA and USPSA matches and has recently taken up sporting clays. At 5’6 and 110 lbs, it’s easy to underestimate Amanda, but she can compete with the sharpest of shooters. She loves nothing more than stepping onto a range with a bunch of men and showing them that she is more than a hot chick in stilettos. In fact, she was told not get into the Alabama real estate industry because it was so intensely male dominated. “Now I’m rocking it,” she says. Calling herself “an independent, badass woman,” Amanda claims to be an expert shot with pistols and semiautomatic rifles. She can also reload and field strip a pistol faster than anyone she knows.

SKILLS / EXPERIENCE:
• NRA Firearms Instructor
• Shoots in local IDPA and USPSA matched
• Mostly self-taught and considers herself an expert shot with pistols and semiautomatic rifles
Billy Rogers
Age: 33
Calabasas, CA
Restaurant Manager

Originally from Virginia Beach, this California restaurateur is charming, funny and a hell of a shot. You wouldn’t think the manager of a business called Hollywood Billiards could hold his own against the pistol pros, but Billy’s been hunting and handling guns since he was 15. More importantly, he began shooting competitively several years ago when professional shooter Matt Burkett became his mentor. Since then, firearms have become an obsession. When he’s not surfboarding, wake boarding, mountain biking, or riding one of his two motorcycles, Billy is at the range working on his skills. He shoots everything from rifles and shotguns to pistols and bows. Recently, another local pro, Taran Butler, entered him in a Limited match in Simi Valley where he placed 8th out of 70 seasoned shooters. “And I did it with a cheap Glock,” he laughs.

SKILLS / EXPERIENCE:
• Placed 8th in his first Limited match using an old, borrowed Glock against pros with expensive equipment
• Personally trains with Matt Burkett and national multi-gun champion Taran Butler
• Competes Limited Class in IDPA
• Considers himself an expert shot in pistol, semi- automatic rifle and shotgun
• Proficient with compound bow and crossbow

Billy Rogers
Age: 33
Calabasas, CA
Restaurant Manager

Originally from Virginia Beach, this California restaurateur is charming, funny and a hell of a shot. You wouldn’t think the manager of a business called Hollywood Billiards could hold his own against the pistol pros, but Billy’s been hunting and handling guns since he was 15. More importantly, he began shooting competitively several years ago when professional shooter Matt Burkett became his mentor. Since then, firearms have become an obsession. When he’s not surfboarding, wake boarding, mountain biking, or riding one of his two motorcycles, Billy is at the range working on his skills. He shoots everything from rifles and shotguns to pistols and bows. Recently, another local pro, Taran Butler, entered him in a Limited match in Simi Valley where he placed 8th out of 70 seasoned shooters. “And I did it with a cheap Glock,” he laughs.

SKILLS / EXPERIENCE:
• Placed 8th in his first Limited match using an old, borrowed Glock against pros with expensive equipment
• Personally trains with Matt Burkett and national multi-gun champion Taran Butler
• Competes Limited Class in IDPA
• Considers himself an expert shot in pistol, semi- automatic rifle and shotgun
• Proficient with compound bow and crossbow

Chris Collins
Age: 25
Collinsville, OK
Firearms Instructor / College Student

Chris believes in his right to bear arms so much, he had the Second Amendment tattooed on his arm. “When I believe in something,” he says, “I’ll do anything for it.” Currently studying criminal justice, Chris served in the U.S. Marine Corps for five years, where he became an expert with pistols, rifles, assault weapons, and even rockets. “I can employ any projectile you can think of,” says this Oklahoman firearms instructor and father of two daughters, Liberty and Faith. Chris is an avid archer and practices his marksmanship with blowguns, throwing knives and slingshots.

SKILLS / EXPERIENCE:
• Certified instructor in rifle, pistol, edge weapons, non- lethal tactics
• Received “Expert” rating in rifle and sharpshooting while in the Marines
• Has won local youth titles in archery
• Has fired rocked launchers
• Considers himself an excellent shot with rifles, shotguns, machine guns

Cliff Walsh
Age: 40
St. Petersburg, FL
Airport Driver

Cliff began competing as a hobby shooter just eight years ago and beat revolver legend Jerry Miculek in the 2009 USPSA Nationals to claim the gold. Only the fourth person to receive the USPSA revolver Grand Master classification, the former volunteer sheriff’s deputy says he learned to shoot “by watching and doing.” He has competed around the world, from Ecuador and Brazil to Norway, Czech Republic, and Serbia. He was recently named to the 2011 USPSA World Shoot Team that will soon be competing in Greece. Cliff means business on the gun range, but he likes to have fun at his matches, picking on other competitors who take themselves too seriously. Having relatives who fought in the Battle of Gettysburg and Bull Run, Cliff says marksmanship is in his blood. He has a collection of 150 guns and says he’s a fierce competitor who “at one time or another beat every top revolver shooter in the world. I know I can beat anyone at any time.”

SKILLS / EXPERIENCE:
• 2009 USPSA National Revolver Champion
• 2005 World Champion Revolver Team - Gold Medalist
• 2011 World Shoot Team
• Beat Jerry Miculek in 2009 Nationals to claim the title
• Numerous 1st place USPSA finishes over the last eight years

Drew Shprintz
Age: 27
Boca Raton, FL
Firearms Instructor / Bartender

Confidence has never been an issue for this South Florida marksman. Drew lives his life by the 90/10 principle. He says 90 percent of people love him, 10 percent hate him, and he’s just fine with that. Although he’s never competed in the shooting sports, he says daily practice at the range, training with a Special Forces friend and experience hunting has made him the man to beat on TOP SHOT. Drew describes himself as outgoing, unpredictable, fun, and never boring.

SKILLS / EXPERIENCE:
• Mostly self taught with additional training from a former Special Forces friend
• NRA firearms instructor 4 years
• Hunts with compound bow and rifle
• Going on an open African safari in September to hunt wart hogs, impala and deer

Dustin Ellermann
Age: 27
Zavalla, TX
Summer Camp Director

There are plenty of animals to hunt in Zavalla, Texas, and Dustin has bagged most of them. A bright, energetic director at a summer Christian camp, Dustin is an easy guy to like. Primarily a self-taught marksman with pistols and rifles, Dustin says, “I’ve never had the time to devote to competition, but every time I’ve gone up against friends, I have always won.” The minister, accountant, lumberjack, husband, father of two, and foster father of three lives in the middle of the Angelina National Forest and considers himself a Renaissance man. “I’m a nice guy,” he says, “But I can be too outspoken and honest...if I don’t like you, I won’t hide it.”

SKILLS / EXPERIENCE:
• Mostly self-taught with rifles and pistols, except for one formal tactical pistol course; says he’s an expert shot with both
• Long-time rifle hunter
• Throws tomahawks, knives, and stars
• Proficient with compound bow and arrow and black powder

Gary Quesenberry
Age: 40
Medina, OH
Department of Homeland Security

Aside from Gary’s three kids and his wife, this Department of Homeland Security agent says his biggest accomplishment is joining an elite group of marksmen (fewer than 70 people worldwide) in besting the Triple Nickel Course of Fire. His career has included Army service during Desert Storm and the Special Ops Response Team for the Bureau of Prisons. Gary loves competition so much that he and his friends use target shoots to settle disputes. “It turns out I’m usually right,” he says. “I’m not a very compromising person. I tend to view things as black and white, but I will not be held back.”

SKILLS / EXPERIENCE:
• 2010 Secret Service Pistol Competition - 19th out of 300
• U.S. Army Specialist E4, 1988-1991, and canon crewmember
• Former lead firearms instructor for the Department of Homeland Security
• One of around 70 people in the world to win the Triple Nickel Course of Fire
• Considers himself an expert shot with all firearms

Jake Zweig
Age: 39
Barrington, NH
College Football Coach

“If you line up 60 SEALs in a shooting competition,” says Jake, “I will be in the top two every single time.” A boisterous football coach for the University of New Hampshire, Jake is a former Navy SEAL officer who claims that TOP SHOT “needs a brother with real skills.” Jake uses rifles and pistols for hunting and recreation weekly. And with the pride of taking a losing college football team to the top of their division, Jake says, “I out-work people, out-hustle people and figure out a competitive edge to win. That’s the bottom line.” A jack-of-all-trades, Jake also builds motorcycles and makes pottery. He knows that his job as a coach is to motivate and inspire competitors to success, and he knows he can bring that winning attitude to TOP SHOT.

SKILLS / EXPERIENCE:
• Former US Navy SEAL Officer
• Has been shooting weekly since he was four years old for hunting and recreation
• Built a catapult that can launch 75 yards
• Says he’s proficient with crossbow and compound bow

Jarrett Grimes
Age: 42
Tyrone, GA
Homeland Security Instructor

An intense presence on the gun range, Jarrett taught tactical shooting to two former TOP SHOT contestants, J.J. Racaza and Jermaine Finks, and mentored them both through training. He served in the U.S. Air Force for 20 years, retiring as a Combat Arms Instructor. Jarrett also served 14 years as a police/SWAT officer and has been working in Homeland Security for the last ten years. He is a multiple IDPA match winner, and like his good friend Gary Quesenberry, is a Triple Nickel holder (fewer than 70 holders in the world). Jarrett is working on a master’s degree in criminal justice. “Winning isn’t everything,” he says. “Winning is the only thing.”

SKILLS / EXPERIENCE:
• Trains Federal Agents
• SWAT and Police Academy Instructor
• Taught Combat Arms and Maintenance in the USAF
• Has won every IDPA competitions he entered
• Extensive training in M60 and M240B
• Proficient with competition-level air guns and long guns

Mark Schneider
Age: 45
Tierra Verde, FL
CHASE Manager

Mark’s buddies call him “Roadkill” because if he runs over a deer, he would (and did) take it home for dinner. The guy is a natural athlete who competed as a cyclist on the national level before winning several USPSA division matches. This year, he says, “I’m going to Nationals to win.” Mark is a qualified expert in the U.S. Army with several weapons systems and has been trained by several military and top pro shooters. He credits his “laser beam focus” as an athlete for his confidence in competition.

SKILLS / EXPERIENCE:
• USPSA A Class shooter
• Won Florida State IDPA Challenge, 2009
• Competes in 3D archery matches
• Taught shotgun in the Air Force
• Qualified Expert Marksman M16 in the US Army, 1990
• Air Force, 1984-88

Michael Marelli
Age: 28
Long Island, NY
Court Officer

This self-proclaimed Long Island “class clown” was once a highly ranked junior marksman. After receiving initial instruction from his grandfather, who was a national shotgun champion, Michael went on to win several New York state titles in trap and skeet. He also won two bronze medals in the Junior World Skeet Championships. After completing the police academy, Michael became a New York State Court Officer, carrying a Glock 9 mm daily. Always the first person in his group of friends to joke and pull pranks, Michael is obsessed with paintball and even has a modified, bright orange paintball gun in his gun safe. Michael is proud of his former glory, but knows that his days as a shooting champ aren’t over.

SKILLS / EXPERIENCE:
• Two-time bronze medal winner in the Junior World Skeet Championships.
• Received the Firearms Proficiency Award at Police Academy
•Was member of NSSA, ATA, and NRA

Mike Hughes
Age: 437
Maple Falls, WA
CEO, Next Level Training

At 6’2 and 228lbs, this former college football player has a commanding presence on the range. In 2009, Mike left his ten-year law career to create his own firearms training company, Next Level Training. He even invented his own training pistol, the SIRT. “My passion is pistol craft,” he says, “And my objective is to raise the level of pistol craft skills among the shooting community.” Mike has been competing in USPSA matches for the last seven years with a recent seventh place title at the Nationals. When he isn’t pistol training or running his company, he can be found at the gym lifting weights, sprinting, hiking, and spending time with his family. Mike describes himself as disciplined, but doesn’t take himself too seriously.

SKILLS / EXPERIENCE:
• Seven year USPSA competitor with multiple first-place finishes
• 2010 USPSA Nationals, seventh place
• Competed in tactical rifle matches
• Experience with compound bow and blowgun

Paul Marinaccio
Age: 31
Lincoln Park, NJ
Detective

With his sharp Jersey accent, Paul gets your attention when he says, “When God made me, he definitely gave me an extra spoonful of competitive spirit.” The former high school wrestler has been an MMA fighter since age 19 and is a marathon runner. Paul constantly rises through the ranks of the police department as a marksman. He is a boisterous, type-A personality who was taught to shoot by a childhood friend’s father. He has shot just about every gun used in the World Wars and went on to formal training in law enforcement years later. “I love how marksmanship training is so closely related to martial arts training,” he says. “How the eye-to-hand coordination in all weapons training ties into hand-to-hand combat.” In addition to being a relentless competitor and marksman, Paul is a husband and proud father to a baby boy.

SKILLS / EXPERIENCE:
• Police officer and detective for 10 years; firearms instructor for his department for six years
• Defensive tactics instructor for Police Academy since 2007
• Certified armorer for Glock, Remington, and Heckler & Koch
• As a teen, he learned to shoot with World War I and II-era firearms

Phil Morden
Age: 25
Milford, MI
Video Producer

A completely self-taught marksman, Phil took up local shooting sports just last year and was good enough to finish fourth in his first three-gun competition in 2010. What started out as a hobby for a 7-year-old boy has turned into a passion for building, modifying and shooting firearms in his spare time. Phil built his first AR-15 at the age of 18 with absolutely no experience or help. Winning TOP SHOT would mean that this videographer could afford graduate school, which will allow him to join the Navy and pursue a career in Naval Special Warfare. He considers himself an expert shot with assault rifles, semiautomatic rifles and shotguns.

SKILLS / EXPERIENCE:
• Finished fourth in his first three-gun championship last year and has competed in every Michigan three-gun tournament in 2010
• Wants to join Navy to pursue Naval Special Warfare
• Builds and modifies his own firearms

Sara Ahrens
Age: 37
Roscoe, IL
Police Sergeant

For the better part of two decades, Sara has shot with the U.S. Army and the Roscoe, Illinois police department. Her husband Mike is also an officer, and the two joke that they compete for the adoration of their son. “I would be lying to you if I didn’t say I want to be my son’s hero,” says Sara. “Winning TOP SHOT could get me there.” Sara put herself through three “Babes with Bullets” training camps and has been her agency’s range master for four years. She was also the first female in her department to even test for the SWAT team, let alone get accepted.

SKILLS / EXPERIENCE:
• U.S. Army, 92-03
• Three years as SWAT team supervisor
• Took second place in IPSC qualifier C class in January
• Master rifle/handgun instructor
• Has training from FBI, PTI, Action Target, and “Babes with Bullets”
• Former range master for police department overseeing 24 firearms instructors

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