Somewhere across the serene, rolling hills of Lexington farmland, the boom of a .375 Cheytac rifle pierces the still evening air. The ding of a .400 Cutting Edge laser bullet hitting a steel target follows seconds later.
That’s Kasey Jones and Stan Cutsforth. The duo can be found practicing their extreme long-range shooting together on Stan’s 1,600-acre farm, which has been in the Cutsforth family for four generations.
Jones, originally from Pendleton, moved to Heppner six years ago, where he began work as a windmill technician and crafted guns as a hobby.
Cutsforth was in the market for a new gun, and Jones was the man for the job.
“We started hanging out more during the building process,” Jones said. “That kindled the friendship.”
Today, Jones, 31, and Cutsforth, 37, take part in long-range shooting competitions all over the country. They’ve been competing together for the past two years.
On April 5, they traveled to San Antonio, Texas, to kick off their season and take part in the World’s Longest Shot Challenge, where shooters rack up points for each increasingly distant target they hit.
The furthest target? More than 3,500 yards — two miles — away.
Jones amassed 71,000 points, which won him first place. Their next showing will be in June, when they’ll travel to Casper, Wyoming, for the Nightforce Extreme Long-Range Steel Challenge.
The two first found their love for competitive shooting in John Day, where they entered a local Precision Rifle Shooting contest. Their results caught them off guard.
“When they walked up and handed us first and second place, we were stunned,” Cutsforth said.
“It was just for fun — we weren’t even taking it seriously.”
Cutsforth recalled that he and Jones decided to dive into the world of competitive shooting on the drive home that night.
“He and I grew up hunting,” Cutsforth said. “The short shots weren’t always there. We were hitting every 1,000-yard shot. We just thought, ‘Now what?’ So we moved our targets further back.”
Jones and Cutsforth keep their skills in tune when they’re not competing. A series of long-distance targets are set up on Cutsforth’s farm, ranging from 100 to 3,600 yards from where they shoot.
The two are such sharp shooters, in fact, that they’ve acquired a number of sponsors along the way. Their team jerseys are decorated with logos from Leupold and Cutting Edge.
“We picked Cutting Edge because they’re the best bullets on the market,” Cutsforth said. “We got a call back from them, and they said, ‘We’re doing something we never do — we’re going to offer you a full sponsorship.’ That was huge.”
The community has rallied behind them, too.
“The Jay Coil Foundation, Pettyjohn’s, the Wight brothers, the Howard Bryant Foundation, our friend Josh Severin, our gunsmith Tanner Doherty, and our wives (Angela Jones and Pamela Cutsforth) — they’ve helped us out so much,” Cutsforth said. “They’ve helped us build our equipment and cover certain expenses. It means so much.”
Their next targets
After their appearance in Wyoming next month, Jones and Cutsforth will then enter the King of the 2-Miles competition in Raton, New Mexico, and the ELR Central NRA National Championship in August.
“It’s been amazing,” Jones said. “We’ve met so many good people through this sport. We’ve been competing against some of the best shooters in the world. To have two rednecks from Eastern Oregon right up there with them was an eye-opener.”
Although Jones and Cutsforth will compete against each other at every event, it hasn’t stopped them from having each other’s backs along the way. At practice, if one of them isn’t shooting, they’re calculating an array of measurements and variables so their partner can stay on target.
And as it turns out, a lot more goes into it than just aiming and pulling the trigger. Wind speed, bullet drop, the inclination of their target, and the Earth’s rotation all come into play when aiming for that mark way off in the distance.
But the duo have it down to a science. The results speak for themselves.
“We have the ability to win it,” Cutsforth said of their upcoming Nightforce Challenge. “We’re going to give ‘er hell.”