Shooter Spotlight: Shawn Carpenter

The purpose of the “Shooter Spotlight” is to help shooters get to know their fellow competitors a little bit better. We cover a wide range of shooters from “Marksman to Master.” This is the 62nd interview in the series.

Shawn Carpenter


Where to you call home?
Norwich, CT

How long have you been shooting?
I started shooting in 1984 when I joined the rifle team at Grasso Technical High School, where I now teach and serve as Rifle Team coach.

How did you get involved in shooting competitively?
My first competitive shooting experience came during my freshman year of high school at Grasso Tech. I was very fortunate that the school did not have a football team; otherwise I probably would have missed out on what has become a tremendously important part of my life. Though I wasn’t very good at first (actually terrible) I’m glad I stuck with it. I am also very proud to have been able to give back to the sport by giving kids the opportunity to shoot like my coaches did for me. Thanks Steve and Hap!

What is a little known fact about yourself that your fellow competitors might not know?
Back in 2003, I spent four months with a head of cupcake pink hair. This was a successful, though perhaps ill considered, motivational agreement with the high school team l still coach today. In a brief moment of insanity after the end of season banquet, I told my team that if they won their Conference championship the next season that they could dye my hair any color they wished. Eleven months later at the championship match, when it was becoming apparent that they might actually pull it off, they informed me that they were “Thinking Pink.” Two weeks later I was sitting in the kitchen of our home range during our end of season cleanup getting my hair bleached and dyed by a 15 year old student. Bleaching burns-I don’t recommend it.

What do you consider your finest shooting achievement?
My finest shooting achievement to date is making the 2005 Dewar Team and finishing in the top 18 in the overall aggregate, topped off with a final day 1600 at Camp Perry.

What is your favorite pre-match meal?
My favorite pre-match meal is determined by the match and my traveling companions. At Perry, it’s a bowl of cereal and orange juice, consumed in a hut; en route to a big bore match it would be an onion roll with cream cheese in the Rocketto mini-van; but my favorite match related meal happens after a certain Mexican Stand-off Match – CHILI! For those that know me, you know I’m not picky except when it comes to the chili.

What is your favorite post match drink?
My favorite post match drink is a Diet Coke with lots of ice.

Do you have a favorite shooting range?
I tend to be happy at whatever range I find myself, but I am partial towards the Rodriguez and Viale ranges at Camp Perry since I have spent so much time being stewed, braised and broiled there. I am a trained chef, after all.

Do you have any short term and/or long term goals?
Having earned my High Power Distinguished badge, my next goal is to earn my Smallbore Prone Distinguished.

What shooting skills are you currently focusing your energy on?
Lately, I’ve been more focused on developing my new student shooters, which is a great reinforcement of the fundamentals of the sport for me.

Thanks Shawn for sharing a little bit about yourself with the community!

About Hap Rocketto

Hap Rocketto is a Distinguished Rifleman with service and smallbore rifle, member of The Presidents Hundred, and the National Guard’s Chief’s 50. He is a National Smallbore Record holder, a member of the 1600 Club and the Connecticut Shooters’ Hall Of Fame. He was the 2002 Intermediate Senior Three Position National Smallbore Rifle Champion, the 2012 Senior Three Position National Smallbore Rifle Champion a member of the 2007 and 2012 National Four Position Indoor Championship team, coach and captain of the US Drew Cup Team, and adjutant of the United States 2009 Roberts and 2013 Pershing Teams. Rocketto is very active in coaching juniors. He is, along with his brother Steve, a cofounder of the Corporal Digby Hand Schützenverein. A historian of the shooting sports, his work appears in Shooting Sports USA, the late Precision Shooting Magazine, The Outdoor Message, the American Rifleman, the Civilian Marksmanship Program’s website, and most recently, the apogee of his literary career,
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2 Responses to Shooter Spotlight: Shawn Carpenter

  1. Shane B says:

    I wanna know the chances of seeing that cupcake pink hair at perry next year??

  2. kevin nevius says:


    I just wantred to thank you again for your friendship and help thru the years – you are awesome in every way!

    The pink hair is a HOOT! (I almost peed!)

    I wish you the very best this Thanksgiving, God bless!


    PS – Everyone knows REAL chili has BEANS in it (GEEESH)
    Oh, and you would be happy to know I have been learning how to coult to 20 ion the off season……I am perfect now to 18, keep screwing up on the rest!

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