Don Dixon Wins First Grand Aggregate

by Mike Kendra on October 25, 2009

Don Dixon and his trophies. Photo taken by Allissa Weber, October 2009.

Don Dixon and his trophies. Photo taken by Allissa Weber, October 2009.

At the 120th National Skirmish, Don Dixon of the 1st Special Battalion, Louisiana Infantry (Wheat’s Tigers) won his first National Grand Aggregate Gold Medal. His score in this event was 548-09X. That means the average score for the six targets Don shot in this event was 91.3.

I recently sent an email to Don including a few questions, and I’d like to thank him for his quick and friendly responses. Here are my questions and his answers:

Q: Did you know before you shot any of your individual targets that you’d have a chance of winning the grand agg?

Don: Since I came back to skirmishing in the mid-1990s, I have consistently placed in the top 15, generally in the top 10, of the grand aggregate at the N-SSA nationals.  My shot plan – an average of 90 in all of the long gun events, 90 at 25 yards with revolver, and 80 at 50 yards with revolver, for a minimum aggregate score of 530 – will consistently place me in the top 10 in the grand aggregate.  The times I have not placed, were related to either weather or gun problems.  To place in the upper end of the aggregate, I need to do a little better than my shot plan.  I’ve won once now, and placed second in the aggregate twice previously, so the shot plan works.

Q: Where you surprised when you found out you won?

Don: Not particularly.  I knew that my aggregate score was very competitive with past grand aggregate scores.

I started shooting in September 1965, while I was in college.  I stumbled across the ROTC rifle range one day, shot some targets, and decided I would keep going back until I shot a score that I was happy with.  I’m still trying.

Q: What was your favorite target of the six you shot in route to victory?

Don: It was a toss up.  The 99-5X at 25 yards with revolver, and the 90 at 50 yards with revolver were both personal best scores on the N-SSA target at those ranges.

Q: Have you ever won the grand agg at Nationals before?

Don: No.  I’ve shot second on the grand aggregate twice before.  And, I’ve won the revolver aggregate once before.

Q: What other medals did you win at the 120th National?

Don: 1st – revolver aggregate, 1st- 25 yard revolver, 1st – 50 yard revolver, 1st – 50 yard aggregate, 4th – 100 yard breach loader, 7th – musket – carbine aggregate

Out of the medals, but more importantly, I was 9th with breach loading rifle, which gave me two distinguished points and qualified me for the Distinguished Shooter Badge for Breach Loader.  And, I was 10th in the musket aggregate for one distinguished point.  The distinguished points are significantly more important to me than medals.  I have several hundred medals and trophies.  I don’t turn them down, but they no longer have any real significance to me.  I’m much more concerned with shooting scores that I’m happy with, and that challenge my past shooting performances.  I shoot against myself; not others.

Q: Where does this medal stand for you in a lifetime of achievements?

Don: I’ve wanted to win the grand aggregate for some time, and have come close previously.  It’s important to set goals, because they serve as a framework for training and focus.  But, doing well in the N-SSA nationals is, for me, a training exercise for other goals.

I have the Distinguished Skirmisher Badge and Distinguished Shooter Badges for Revolver and Carbine from the N-SSA.  Those were significant goals.

I’ve shot at serious competitive levels with other arms for many years.  For example, after I placed third in the grand aggregate at the spring 2009 N-SSA nationals, I didn’t pick up my N-SSA long guns again until the fall 2009 nationals.  I was too busy shooting other arms in other shooting disciplines.

I shot for the Army Marksmanship Unit for one summer, and for the All-Army Reserve Service Rifle Team for eight years.  I hold the Army’s Distinguished Rifleman and Distinguished Pistol Shot Badges, and President’s Hundred Tabs with both service rifle and service pistol.  I’ve shot on two winning National Trophy (Dogs of War) teams at the national matches at Camp Perry, and on the only military reserve team to win the Interservice 10 Man Team and 1,000 yard service rifle championships.  To qualify for those awards, and shoot on those teams, were significant goals.

I’ve won the NRA Civil War aggregate once and been second in that aggregate twice in the three times I’ve shot the NRA black powder national matches.

I shoot with the U.S. International Muzzle Loading Team, and have their International Master Badge.  I have repeatedly medaled in international zone competition sponsored by the Muzzle Loading Associations International Committee (MLAIC), and hold two Pacific Zone records with original revolver. The scores for the two zone records are highs for those matches with original revolver, so it will be interesting to see if MLAIC recognizes the scores as world records.  Beyond that, it would be fun to win gold at a world championship.  The best I’ve done so far is 5th in the world with cap lock dueling pistol.

For me, the whole thing is about setting internal achievement goals, and then training to meet them in sequence.

Again I’d like to thank Don for answering all of my questions, and I’d like to wish him luck the next time he competes for the National Grand Aggregate Medal.

I’d also like to thank Allissa Weber for sending me the photo included in this post.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Stewart Burke March 18, 2013 at 7:36 pm

Mike,

I’m trying to get word to Don Dixon of Wheat’s Tigers that a good friend of his, Bob Sheridan, has passed away after a long bout with cancer. If you still have Don’s email address, would you mind relaying the news along with my contact info?

Thanks,

Stewart Burke
202 345 1141

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