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Stark County sheriff's team top shots in state competition

Though most residents in Stark County would likely say it would be best if sheriff's office personnel never need to use their firearms in the line of duty, Sheriff Clarence Tuhy said his deputies are ready to be accurate if they ever do.

"Hopefully, we never have to utilize their skills," Tuhy said. "But, if we do, we have qualified people."

All citizens have to do is look at the results from a statewide law enforcement shooting competition held in conjunction with the annual North Dakota Peace Officers Association, which took place in Minot earlier this month.

As part of the four-day networking conference -- which drew officers from a variety of agencies across the state, including the North Dakota Highway Patrol and Game & Fish officers -- law enforcement personnel competed in a variety of shooting competitions and the SCSO came up roses.

The SCSO four-man tactical pistol team of Dep. Dan Kensinger, Dep. Shane Holtz, Dep. Kurt Schoening and Sgt. Dave Wallace had a first-place showing, Tuhy said, just one of a number of impressive performances from Stark County shooters.

"The competition is something our people really look forward to every year," Tuhy said. "I think seeing what the sheriff's office was able to accomplish helps show people in our county that we're running a good department and have people who know what they're doing. It's a positive."

Along with handgun competitions, the conference also featured shotgun, sharpshooter and "unclassified" categories for shooters. Among other first-place finishers were a team comprised of Kinsinger and Schoening in the expert two-man pistol competition and Schoening's top placing in the four-gun individual shoot.

Kinsinger also took first in the individual shotgun course competition while Schoening held down the top spot in the sniper course. All four members of the SCSO team also placed among the "Governor's 20," which is a ranking of the best law enforcement shooters in the state, Tuhy said.

With the competition results illustrating how much time and effort deputies put into keeping their firearms skills sharp, Tuhy said it's important for any North Dakota gun owner to practice at a gun range.

"Whether a person has a Class 1 or Class 2 concealed weapon license in North Dakota, it's always important to practice regularly to make sure you know what you're doing," Tuhy said. "Taking a test is one thing, but you really need to stay on top of actually shooting that weapon at a range. I'm not advocating that everyone walk around carrying a gun, but, if you do have a permit, it's best to keep your skills up."

Tuhy also said he wanted North Dakotans to remember that all concealed weapons license applications need to go through the Bureau of Criminal Investigation in Bismarck. Applications for a concealed weapons license can be found by visiting the North Dakota Attorney General website at

Bryan Horwath
A Wisconsin native, Horwath has been covering news in the Oil Patch of North Dakota since 2012. Horwath currently serves as the senior agriculture and political reporter for The Dickinson Press and, despite the team's tendency to always let him down, remains a diehard Minnesota Vikings fan.
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