SPRINGFIELD, IL (09/17/2014)(readMedia)-- FORT BENNING, Ga. - Illinois National Guard Soldiers placed in the All Army Long Range Championship at Fort Benning, Georgia, September 8-11.

Sgt. 1st Class Tracy Mix of Marseilles, Illinois, with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 404th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade in Chicago, and Chief Warrant Officer 3 Brandon Gibbs of Pleasant Plains, Illinois, with Company B, 634th Brigade Support Battalion, took first and second overall in the service rifle category.

The competition is an advanced combat live-fire training event open to Active Army, National Guard and Army Reserve.

This year, seven National Guard Soldiers competed out of 32 competitors. The Soldiers made up three two-man teams and had one individual competitor.

The two categories for this competition are service rifle (U.S. rifle, 7.62mm, M21 or M24) and bolt (U.S. rifle, caliber .300 Winchester Magnum M2010 or M-24). In all five matches, the competitors had 15 shots for record at each distance of 800, 900 and 1,000 yards.

"It's fun," said Maj. David Stapp, sustainment commander at the National Guard Marksmanship Training Center in Camp Robinson, Arkansas.

Even though many competitors enjoy competing, they must spend a lot of time with their weapon to be successful.

"I have to know the data and wind charts to prepare," said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Ryan Landon of Creal Springs, Illinois, with the 3637th Support Maintenance Company in Springfield, Illinois.

The Soldiers have to know the data for their weapon and learn how wind affects distance and direction of their shot, which requires the Soldiers to practice in their personal time.

"I go to civilian ranges to practice on my own and start going over my wind charts and data in advance to mentally prepare," said Mix.