History reveals returning cast of 'Top Shot All-Stars,' to debut May 29
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 05/01/2013
History has revealed the identities of the 16 contestants who will be competing on Top Shot All-Stars, the reality competition's fifth season, and announced the competition will premiere Wednesday, May 29 at 10PM ET.
Hosted once again by former Survivor castaway Colby Donaldson, Top Shot All-Stars will begin with 16 former Top Shot contestants from a variety of shooting backgrounds facing off in a series of shooting-themed challenges, including the new "The Proving Round."
The new season's challenges will be inspired by history and feature a wide array of weapons such as the Soviet semi-automatic rifle used in the 1941 Nazi invasion and a Tactical OBR with 20 round magazines. The marksmen will also be required to "conquer a mortar-rigged barbed wire fence, an unstable platform and a bull's eye target," according to the network.
Returning Top Shot champions looking for another round of competition are Iain Harrison, Chris Reed, Dustin Ellerman, and Chris Cheng. Top Shot All-Stars' grand-prize winner will receive $100,000 and a special edition speedboat courtesy of Bass Pro Shops.
The series is produced by Pilgrim Studios with Zachary Behr, Wendy Greene, Craig Piligian, Ralph Wikke, and Mitch Rosa serving as executive producers.
The identities of the 16 returning contestants who will be competing on Top Shot All-Stars and their History-supplied bios are as follows:
- Adam Benson, a 47-year-old construction project manager from Baltimore, MD
He calls himself the "The Last Great American Hero" -- just an everyday family man who happens to have exceptional shooting skills. A former Marine rifle expert nicknamed "Bam-Bam," Adam is currently a USPSA Master Class shooter competing in both pistol and three-gun events. An accomplished hunter with archery and muzzleloader, Adam has also designed and built catapults for pumpkin-throwing competitions. In Season 1 of Top Shot, Adam was eliminated following the dissolution of teams in the "Shoot From Above" challenge, just shy of making the finale. Since leaving Top Shot, Adam has continued to shoot with his local SWAT team and has found a true passion in bow hunting.
- Alex Charvat, a 39-year-old engineer from Conifer, CO
As an engineer, Alex can understand and adapt to the intricacies of almost any weapons system. "I like to shoot because I like the mechanics of it," he says. "It's like a big puzzle." His passion for shooting runs so deep that his oldest daughter is named after Annie Oakley. A country boy at heart, Alex lives with his family out in the woods and doesn't have cable, so he'd never seen a single episode of Top Shot. On Season 3, he just missed making the finale when he was eliminated in the "Pull Back" challenge. But Alex doesn't need to know what's in store to have faith that he'll shine. He believes his ROTC background and hunting experience give him an edge over the competition. Post-Top Shot, Alex has competed in a 3-Gun match, became a 4H-shooting instructor and started engineering gun ranges.
- Blake Miguez, a 31-year-old semi-professional shooter from New Iberia, LA
Known in the shooting community for his speed, Blake began competing in the USPSA at age 12 and reached Grand Master rank by 17. He has been Louisiana state champion and a Top 16 finisher in the U.S. Nationals for the past 10 years. Blake has trained U.S. Anti-Terrorism Special Forces in firearms use and currently ranks second in the world for action pistol shooting. He is also an attorney and executive of an offshore marine transportation company and a bulk fuel/oil distributorship. Eliminated just before the Season 1 finale, Blake met his demise in the "Short Fuse" challenge with the Beretta 92F. Blake continues to compete competitively and in October 2011, he represented Team USA and won Gold at the World Championship in Rhodes, Greece.
- Brian Zins, a 44-year-old independent security contractor from Girard, OH
Brian is best known for two things: his giant grin and being the NRA's 11-time National Pistol Champ. He's not afraid to boast that no one has ever been a seven, eight or nine-time champion either. Brian became a shooter for the Marine Corps pistol team and hasn't stopped competitive shooting since. Having set numerous national records in the NRA, it's no surprise that Brian loves the challenge of a good competition. In the second season of Top Shot, he made it down to the final two before being eliminated. Now retired from the Marine Corps and working as an independent security contractor, he is excited to be competing as a civilian. He believes that he has the skills to go pro and wants the opportunity to prove it.
- Chee Kwan, a 24-year-old range master for the LA Gun Club from San Gabriel, CA
Grand Master Chee knows the value of hard work. Chee and his mother arrived in the United States from Malaysia with only a couple hundred dollars and the clothes on their backs. "I'm here so that I can win this competition for my mother and show her that she's raised a good son," he explains. Chee became interested in recreational shooting and joined the Marines, where he became one of the best infantrymen in his battalion. Now, he's a three-time rifle and pistol expert who is proud to earn his living as a California state-certified firearms instructor and NRA Certified Pistol Instructor. In Season 4, Chee had almost made it to the end of the competition when he was eliminated in the "Back Alley Breach" challenge. After Top Shot, Chee became a Ranked Master in Stock Division of IPDA, has won two regional championships, became ranked A-class in USPSA and won 3rd overall in production at California Sectional.
- Chris Cerino, a 42-year-old law enforcement trainer from Wadsworth, OH
A self-described "can-do person," Chris sets out to master any weapon he can get his hands on. In Season 1, he made it all the way to the finale before losing the title to Iain Harrison. Since leaving Top Shot, Chris started his own training business and travels the country training firearms use in addition to his job as a part-time police officer, where he has over 18 years of law enforcement experience. Chris took second place in the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association in Chicago. He is experienced with compound bows, crossbows, and slingshots and has also begun shooting competitively on a professional team.
- Gabby Franco, a 32-year-old firearms instructor and business owner from Doral, FL
Gabby doesn't like losing, but luckily she's got the skills to lead her to victory. At the age of 19, she was the first female to make the Venezuelan Olympic Shooting Team and represent her country at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. She took silver at the Pan American Games in 1999 and the gold at the South American Games in 2000. In her last international competition, the 2002 South American Games, she took three gold medals. After moving to the United States, Gabby began competing in tactical and IPSC competitions. After being eliminated in Season 4 in the "1500 Yard Shot" challenge, Gabby is back to try and win on this season of Top Shot All-Stars.
- Gary Quensenberry, a 41-year-old homeland security agent from Cleveland, OH
Aside from his wife and three kids, Gary is proudest of becoming a Triple Nickel coin holder. The Triple Nickel Course of Fire is designed to measure a shooter's ability to perform on demand by engaging five targets from five yards, in five seconds; fewer than 70 people in the world can boast that they've bested it. In Season 3 of Top Shot, he made it to final three in the classic "Choose Your Weapon" challenge before being eliminated. Now a Homeland Security Agent, Gary served in the U.S. Army during Desert Storm and was part of the Special Ops Response Team for the Bureau of Prisons. He loves competition so much that he and his pals use target shoots to settle disputes. Gary was recently selected as one of Cleveland's Most Interesting People in 2012.
- Greg Littlejohn, a 33-year-old federal police officer from Waterloo, IL
At 6 feet 5 inches, the irony of Gregory's last name is not lost on him. Called L.J. by his coworkers, Gregory is a federal police officer with over nine years of USAF military experience. He served three years in the Air Force Security Forces and six years as a weapons instructor, and is a veteran of both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. Shooting competitively with the Air Force, he served on two separate teams and was the World Champion Grenadier in 2003. In an IPSC competition, he placed second in the open class with a 9mm Beretta. This father of two young children was taught to shoot by his own dad. Since finishing as the runner up on Top Shot Season 4, Greg has been shooting in lots of USPSA matches, winning a steel challenge Pro-Am among other small local matches. Greg is intimidating in stature but endearing in person -- a giant of a man with outsized skills to match.
- Jamie Franks, a 32-year-old US Navy Rescue Swimmer from San Diego, CA
Jamie is a graduate of the Navy Expeditionary Combat Skills and Practical Weapons courses and Anti-Terrorism Force Protection/Deadly Force Training is a rifle and pistol expert. As a 13-year active duty Navy rescue swimmer and Operations Specialist, this self-proclaimed "natural leader" attended BUD/S training twice early in his career. During various overseas deployments, he was hand-selected for personal security details in high-threat areas. Jamie admits there is usually "no filter between my brain and my mouth" and wants to prove that he's the pride of the Navy. In Season 2, the "On the Move" challenge cost Jamie his chance at the title in the episode immediately prior to the finale. After leaving the competition, Jamie became EODMU3SAILOR of the year 2010 and has competed in the three Gun National Semi Pro Series where he has had an impressive record, winning one match and finishing among the Top 5 six times and among the top 10 seven times.
- Joe Serafini, a 29-year-old construction worker from Bourbonnais, IL
Joe is an expert archer who holds 26 state championship titles in six states. But this marksman knows his guns too. Joe was the company high shooter in Marines boot camp and has shot in the division matches at Camp Pendleton. He is a qualified expert with both the M16 and Berretta 9mm pistols, and has experience with rifles, shotguns, machine guns, slug guns and muzzleloaders. With many shooting awards to his name, it's hard to argue when he says, "When I shoot, I shoot to win." Since finishing third on Top Shot Season 2, Joe has been hunting and shooting recreationally.
- Kelly Bachand, a 25-year-old electrical engineer from Kent, WA
Kelly is a rising star in the long-range shooting world. In Season 1, he and fellow competitor Adam Benson were eliminated in the "Shoot From Above" challenge right before the finale. Post-Top Shot, Kelly graduated from college with a B.S. in electrical engineering and a minor in math. Kelly made the Under 21 USA National Rifle Team in 2006. By 2009 he won gold, made the USA National Rifle Team and became the youngest person and first American to win the Canadian Target Rifle Championship. As a member of a US Palma team, Kelly traveled to Australia for the world long-range championships where his team placed third and he placed second in the individual under 25 division.
- Kyle Sumpter, a 51-year-old police commander from Kent, WA
After breaking his neck in a near-fatal accident 12 years ago, this Police Commander has a healthy appreciation for the little things in life. With over 20 years of law enforcement experience under his belt, including 12 years on a SWAT team, Kyle always finds a way to excel in anything he does. He has won several Washington State IDPA and Steel Championships, competing with only police service weapons. Since departing Top Shot after the P90 "Keep in Memory" challenge just before the Season 4 finale, Kyle has continued to shoot competitively.
- Peter Palma, a 32-year-old plumber and reservist marine sniper from Valley Forge, PA
A plumber by trade, Peter served in Fallujah, where he dropped a 500-pound bomb from an F-18 on a tank during a training session. He graduated second in his class at the Marine Corps Sniper School. Peter collects historic and practical weapons of all kinds and loves to make potato guns out of PVC pipe. In his free time, he also serves as mascot of a roller derby team. Peter made it to the final four on Season 1, but was eliminated in the "Speedster" challenge. Since his season of Top Shot, Peter has moved to Louisiana and enrolled in college.
- Phil Morden, a 26-year-old video producer from Milford, MI
If you're tempted to write Phil off as just some young guy from the country, be warned that this self-taught shooter is here to compete. What started out as a hobby for a seven-year-old boy has evolved into a true passion; inspiring Phil to build, modify and shoot firearms in his spare time. He considers himself an expert shot with assault rifles, semiautomatic rifles and shotguns. Hoping to pursue a career in the military, Phil trains and exercises five days a week. "Shooting has nothing to do with your credentials," he says. "If you pick up a gun and you're good at it, it can take you anywhere. And I'll be proof of that." The Sako Trg Bolt Action Rifle sent him home late in Season 3 during the "Zig Zag" challenge.
- William Bethards, a 48-year-old FBI law enforcement specialist from Fredericksburg, VA
William has done so much in his life that it's hard to keep track. A former Marine and ex-Virginia state trooper with national and state 3-gun championships under his belt, he now serves as a firearms instructor for the FBI. This sharpshooter also works as a real estate agent, is a deacon in his church and rebuilds classic Corvettes on the side. William spent 11 years on the Marine Corps Shooting Team, where he also coached. In 1994, he won the coveted Gold Lauchheimer Trophy, awarded each year to the top rifle and pistol shooter in the entire Corps. He is currently the FBI shooting team national record holder in 3-gun. To top it all off, he also shoots Olympic-style compound bows -- but he just does it for fun in what little spare time he has. In Season 4, the Henry Rifle sealed his fate in the "Not Just the Bull's Eye" challenge. After finishing Top Shot, William has competed in the 2012 Camp Perry National Pistol Championship where his team finished third.
(Photo credit History)
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