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Sports Shooter Academy VIII: THE coolest! Mahalo.
Robert Hanashiro, Photographer
Los Angeles | CA | | Posted: 12:02 PM on 09.25.11
->> Thanks to everyone involved in Sports Shooter Academy VIII.

To use a cliché: It was THE cooloest!

Rod, Matt, Wally and I all agreed that the Santa Ana College double OT win over Palomar College that ended the shooting schedule was THE best football game any of us have witnessed in our careers.

And 48 SSA VIII photographers were there to cover it. And kicked some serious ass.

To the faculty: I cannot thank you enough for your time, energy, dedication and professionalism.

To our sponsors and other supporting companies: Your generosity and vision enabled me to make this workshop possible.

To my family: I love you ...and now I can go back to my "normal" nighttime schedule of watching NCIS reruns, Burn Notice, Suits, White Collar and Covert Affairs, hitting the rack by 1AM.

To USA TODAY: Thanks for giving me the opportunity the past 10 years to educate and inspire students and photographers worldwide.

And lastly to the participants: A big SHOUT OUT for your energy, patience, good humor and desire to learn.

Hope to be back soon with SSA IX.

The Big Kahuna.
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Michael Lopez, Student/Intern
Ventura | Ca | USA | Posted: 12:13 PM on 09.25.11
->> Thank you Bert for the most AMAZING time I have ever spent.

To Rod, Matt, Wally, Rafael, Jordan, and everyone else who took the time to put up with us for 4 days.

Thank you Nikon, Sarah, and Michael, Think tank, and the rest of the supporters.

To everyone who came, thank you guys for coming to the Best Sports Shooter Academy ever.

I look forward to the next one....

Thank you everyone.
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Robert Hanashiro, Photographer
Los Angeles | CA | | Posted: 12:21 PM on 09.25.11
->> Check out the cool stuff on the SSA Facebook page!

Thanks Jordan, Christy and Crystal for their hard work with this!
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Carrie Jesenovec, Photographer, Student/Intern
Marina Del Rey | ca | | Posted: 4:34 PM on 09.25.11
->> What an amazing past 5 days! That you so much Bert, Matt, Rod, Shawn, Wally, Tim, John, Wally, Jordan, Susanica, Crystal, Rafael and Mike and Sarah from Nikon!!! Not only was SSA an incredible learning experience but very inspiring. To see the work of our amazing instructors and the passion they have for photography is so cool. I can't help but laugh thinking about Matt and Rod jumping around in excitement at the football game wishing they had cameras and of course getting tackled! I'm really excited to take all I've learned and practice it. Hopefully, I will have the opportunity to see you all again at the next SSA!!!
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Robert Hanashiro, Photographer
Los Angeles | CA | | Posted: 12:25 AM on 09.26.11
->> Two cool - fun videos from the shoots at Cal State Fullerton and THE AMAZING football game at Santa Ana Stadium have been posted on the workshop Facebook page:
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Randy Sartin, Photographer, Assistant
Knoxville | TN | USA | Posted: 12:55 AM on 09.26.11
->> I'll do a proper post after a few days of sleep and food, but in a nutshell it was an AMAZING experience! One thing that stands out to me is how accessible/approachable all of the instructors were.

Where else can you be in the middle of shooting something and be able to turn around to someone like John McDonough and ask, "Hey John, how many focus points are you using?"

There's another "big view" thing kicking around in my head as well, but it's not as clear to me as it should be yet.

Yes, that was one of the best football games. Ever.
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Robert Huskey, Student/Intern
Whittier | CA | | Posted: 2:17 AM on 09.26.11
->> Best experience for photography ever. Having everyone look and help with your photos was awesome. Working with remotes and triggers, and having the pros right over your shoulder constantly helping me out was amazing. New friends from Germany, New Hampshire, Kentucky, and more. Thanks again to Bert, Matt, Shawn, Wally, Rod, Tim, John, Rafael, Susanica, Crystal, Rafael, Mike and Sarah, Nikon, ThinkTank and Samy's.

In the words of The Big Kahuna,
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James Spiker, Student/Intern, Photographer
Tahoe Vista | CA | | Posted: 2:26 AM on 09.26.11
->> It was my third, and each one has been an incredible experience. I learn more and see different each time. And I will probably never shoot a football game that awesome ever again. I will have memories from this that will last a lifetime!
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Joe Lorenzini, Photographer
Flower Mound (DFW) | TX | USA | Posted: 10:44 AM on 09.26.11
->> It's difficult to describe just how amazing that football game was.

Both had a no-huddle offense so the game moved fast! Both ran and threw TD's, both had players with HUGE hair and tat's (so there was a lot of personality on the field!) I don't know for sure but it seemed like each team scored a different way or place every time. Both had players that literally flew through the air to get into the endzone.

Add to that 50 cameras surrounding the field, Rod Mar stalking anyone who dared leave their long glass unattended (talk about shooting withdrawals!), Matt Brown yelling out plays as they happened, as he was leaping into the air (nice verticals Matt!) and Bert with the half-time huddle chant, it was seriously electric.

So then you had the home team coming back to tie the game with a few seconds left and then giving the other team good field position with an insanly stupid kick-off and then that team missing the game winning field goal sending it into overtime and then a second overtime... WOW!! It was nuts!

And remember, these kids don't play to get into the NFL, they play because they love playing football and it was apparent to the very end and then afterwards.

For me, it was the most fun I've ever had shooting a sport.

Who knew!

HUGE thanks to the SSAVIII staff for making it possible!!

That game alone was worth the entire workshop and for those that weren't present at the review that night missed out on some of the highest quality action shots I've ever seen out of a single game.

The whole week was quality stuff but that last football game will make this completely unforgettable!

Thanks all.

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Paul Hayes, Photographer, Photo Editor
Littleton | NH | USA | Posted: 11:43 AM on 09.26.11
->> [Note: I already posted this on the Academy's Facebook page. But figured I should re-post it here. FYI, I finally arrived in Boston at about 6:30 a.m. EST]

I never had a photography mentor before SSA VIII. Now I feel like I have 60 of them.

Words can't express what the Academy meant to me. Everyone there, from the college upstarts to the seasoned pros, inspired and challenged me in a way I'd never been inspired or challenged before.

I hope to keep in touch with as many of you as I can, for as long as the good lord (or fate, or gravity) allows.

I also want to thank all of the staff and Nikon reps for their assistance, advice and candor. I especially want to thank Bert and Matt for putting it all together.

I met a lot of good people this week, learned more over the past four days than I had the previous four years, got lost a few times on California's insane highway system, saw a lot of good photos and had a lot of fun.

And let me add that it's a crime that Rod and Matt don't have their own show on satellite radio. I'd pay extra for that.

Now if you'll excuse me I have to return to my nine hour wait at LAX (don't ask). Take care everyone and see you on the message boards. - Paul
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Steven Limentani, Photographer
Charlotte | NC | United States | Posted: 1:57 PM on 09.26.11
->> It is hard to put into words the impact of SSA. The technical aspects of photography of course were there. Great venues to shoot were there, including the double overtime football game. Classroom, everything from remotes to contracting. But to me, the essence of SSA is none of that, it's the ability of Bert, Matt and others to assemble a group of instructors and students who really, really love what they do. The last day after early mornings every day until midnight at night there are Matt and Bert on the sidelines acting like two kids in a candy store. Although only a community college game with almost as many photographers as fans, our excitement was the story as the two teams scored a total of 99 points. That excitement about what we do is the true essence. Being able to play when we play and to play at work is in my view what life is all about. SSA VIII is way more then learning how to shoot, it's about learning how to be a photographer in the best sense of the word. And as one of the instructors said at the end, no AHs need apply! (LOL RM).
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Michael Lopez, Student/Intern
Ventura | Ca | USA | Posted: 3:02 PM on 09.26.11
->> What can I say....

You know its an amazing workshop when words can't find the words to describe the sense of place and emotion.

Thank you to Bert, Matt, Rod, Shawn, Wally, Tim, John, Wally, Jordan, Susanica, Crystal, Rafael and Mike and Sarah from Nikon!!!

You were AMAZING.... to say the least. I never in my life thought that I would be elected to go to this workshop. And seeing such amazing work from the rest of the shooters is incredible. The advice, and humbleness off all the staff is great. At first I didn't know if I was even allowed to speak to you, but after a few days, it eased off, and you were all so easy going and full of knowledge that I loved being a sponge and learning from you all.

It should be illegal to learn this much, and have this much fun.
It was cool to shoot everyday, but the football game, was EPIC. We were all children running up and down the field, jumping, cheering and getting hit.
The most memorable time besides the game, was watching so much talent on the field. I looked to my left there were 24 amazing photographers, to my right 24 photographers, and screaming at us if we got the pictures, the amazing staff.

The motor drives on everyones shutters going off at the same time was more powerful than the screaming in the stands.

Thanks to EVERYONE for making this the best and coolest workshop ever.

Lets all comeback for SSA IX!!!!

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Israel Shirk, Photographer, Assistant
Boise | ID | US | Posted: 10:38 PM on 09.26.11
->> SSA was amazing. Highlights were definitely Bert's lighting class and the talk by Mike Greenlee, a SID from Cal State Fullerton. The whole thing is definitely a career changer.
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Jack Megaw, Photographer
Philadelphia | PA | USA | Posted: 12:33 AM on 09.27.11
->> For the second year running this past week I had the privilege of attending the Sports Shooter Academy in Southern California. Thanks to all the fellow students at SSA whose images pushed me to strive to make my images better every time. The sound of 48 shutters blasting away in the endzone of the double overtime football game made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck - incredible.

Thank you so much to Mike and Sarah from Nikon for their commitment to this event. Being able to use the Nikon gear to cover these events is really one of the things that makes Sports Shooter Academy so great.

Of course thank you so much to the incredible staff of SSA VIII, Bert, Matt, Rod, Shawn, Wally, Tim, John, Wally, Jordan, Susanica, Myung, Crystal and Rafael for all the priceless advice, their amazing commitment and desire to help others create such great images. The SSA VIII staff throughout the week were so inspiring to me and gives me a massive desire to create amazing images and to give back to others as they have done for the rest of the students and I. They do truly make this THE COOLEST sports photography event.

At the risk of sounding too much like an Oscar speech I'll stop there but words cannot describe how much Sports Shooter Academy has helped my career so far and how much I am sure that it will in the future. I will definitely be applying for SSA IX!

Please to feel free to check out my update on my Sports Shooter page for some of my best images from the week!
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Robert Hanashiro, Photographer
Los Angeles | CA | | Posted: 12:40 AM on 09.27.11
->> The first Sports Shooter member galleries from SSA VIII have been posted ... I hope we see more!

Jack Megaw

Tony Spiker

Maya Sugarman

Michael Lopez

Mat Boyle

And keep checking the Sports Shooter Academy Facebook page for more photos, videos and posts about THE coolest sports photography event of the year!
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Michael Chen, Assistant, Photographer
Saratoga | CA | USA | Posted: 3:31 PM on 09.27.11
->> That 52-45 double OT win by Santa Ana over Palomar was incredible. Like Matt Brown said, we'll never see anything like that again. But who knows?

Thanks to Carrie for taking that hit for me near the end of regulation there. They still landed on my monopod but Carrie's excellent, albeit unintentional, blocking allowed me to escape unscathed. :-)

Here's a quick shout-out to all the cool faculty and staff; I promise I'll make a new post if I forget anyone, which I am bound to do. Thanks to:

Wally Skalij for his great humor, passion about photography, and lighting a fire under my butt.

Rod Mar for his honest feedback and energy; always a great time to be had when Rod is around.

John W. McDonough, briefly dubbed the most interesting man in the world a la Dos Equis, for his energy and encouragement.

Tim Mantoani, for sharing his knowledge, his passion, and the cool prizes. Thanks for the Chimera DVD!

Shawn Cullen (or should I say "Shawncullen"?), for packing as much knowledge into as few words as possible.

I'm going to group Jordan Murph, Susanica Tam, and Rafael Delgado together, because I can't think of three ways to say what will be about the same thing: Thanks for all your hard work, seen and unseen, and all the little things that you do to make the Academy an amazing experience. You guys rock!

Also thanks to Christy Radecic and Jordan for their hard work on the Facebook page!

Thanks to Crystal Chatham and Myung Chun for making those cool videos, and the constant encouragement. Great seeing you two, as always.

Thanks to Simon Housman for bringing in Lincoln D. Bandlow for that excellent and fun presentation on photography and the law. I can certainly think of ways to make that topic pretty boring, and they made it great fun.

Thanks to Mike Greenlee from Cal State Fullerton for an incredible presentation on working with Sports Information Directors, what they do, and how photographers can better work with them. Of the three SSA's I've been to, this was one of the best classroom sessions ever. Mike, I wish all the SIDs I've worked with over the past few years were as focused and passionate about all aspects of their job as you.

Thanks to all the sponsors: ThinkTank Photo and Pocket Wizard for the cool freebies and prizes, the Lumodi beauty dish guys, Louis Feldman at Samy's for allowing more students to attend and for the great deals on quality tools and toys for our chosen profession, Matt Bailey from LiveBooks for the discount and the presentation on marketing, and anyone else that provided gear, freebies, etc.

Can't forget Nikon, of course. Thanks to Mike Corrado and Sara Moosbrugger for their support, loaner gear, and being cool folks to chat with during the brief downtimes in the workshop. Also, thanks to Nestor for the complimentary check and clean!

Last, I'd like to give a big THANK YOU to Bert "Francis Ford" Hanashiro, the Big Kahuna, and Matt A. Brown, the co-founders and all-around cool guys, for all their passion, energy, knowledge, and for having me around for a third workshop. I don't know where I'd be if I hadn't gone to SSA VI. You guys work so damn hard.
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Shirley Pefley, Photographer
Los Altos | CA | USA | Posted: 4:17 PM on 09.27.11
->> Words cannot describe how incredible the SportsShooter Academy experience is. It was my second opportunity to participate and I learned even more this time around, as I built on past learning and practice.

Can't say enough about the staff and instructors. They have to be some of the most generous, talented and selfless people in the industry. The opportunity to have pros of that caliber looking over your shoulder, giving advice and answerwing all questions is priceless.

My favorite part of the whole experience is still the one-on-one critiques at the end of each day. Learning the difference between taking pictures and making pictures.

It was also nice to be able to experiment and try new things without the pressure of pleasing an editor. It's a great place to try/fail/learn, then pick yourself up and keep going.

Thank you to the wonderful faculty and staff: Bert, Matt, Tim, John, Rod, Wally, Jordan, Shawn, Myung, Susanica, Crystal, Rafael, Mike and Sarah for your hard work, dedication, and genuine enthusiasm for helping and sharing your talents. You all rock!

Thank you to the wonderful sponsors: Nikon, Samy's, Think Tank, Lumodi, Livebooks and Mac Group. (Hope I didn't forget any.)

Also really enjoyed the addition of some excellent classes: "Working with SID's and Art Directors" by Mike Greenlee, "Marketing and the Internet" by Matt Bailey, "Law and Order for Photographers" by Simon Housman and Lincoln Bandlow. Great information that all photographers should know.

To all the new photographer friends I met: I know you will continue to inspire me with your amazing images and talent.

And Bert: You are the coolest guy in Sports Photography!
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Robert Hanashiro, Photographer
Los Angeles | CA | | Posted: 8:30 PM on 09.27.11
->> Thanks for the kind words ... the long hours and sleepless nights (and that is BEFORE a workshop begins) are made worthwhile by the photographs, good cheer and inspiration the participants display.

For those of you that did not attend THE coolest sports photography event of the year, check out these pages just posted by SSA Internet Content Czar Christy Radecic:

And check out the cool comments and videos posted on our Facebook page:
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Robert Hanashiro, Photographer
Los Angeles | CA | | Posted: 8:35 PM on 09.27.11
->> We had a lot of companies support this workshop with cool prizes given away daily. Thanks to:
Tim Mantoani
MAC Group/Pocket Wizard
Samy's Camera
Lumodi Beauty Dish
Samy's Camera
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David Bernal, Photographer
Glendora | CA | United States | Posted: 11:33 PM on 09.27.11
->> Let me start off by saying that "Thank you" seems so inadequate for all help, information, and guidance that the Sports Shooter Academy Staff gave to the students during the week.

It was amazing to see how the quality of the images progressed over the week. The subject matter became more compelling. The backgrounds became cleaner and the "CROPS!" became much tighter.

I know for myself that I had the pleasure to receive valuable guidance from Tim, Rod, Matt, Jordan, Sean and John. This guidance has already been incorporated into my thought process when creating an image and during workflow.

To my fellow students, thank you so much for your friendship, camaraderie and laughs. Once I got to feeling better (I started the academy with bronchitis), I was able to enjoy your company. You all helped make the academy a fantastic experience for me.

Lastly to all of the sponsors of the academy, THANK YOU! I hope by reading these entries you will see what an impact you have had on not only the students but the photography community in general. You all help to continue to foster the growth of sports photography. We all realize without you this academy could not have taken place. I know I will continue to support the sponsors long after this academy ended. A special thank you to Mike and Sara from Nikon, your support is second to none and appreciated by all! This coming from a Canon shooter. ;)

Bert and Staff, you are the best!

Thank you! Thank you so much for your time and guidance. I will be forever indebted to you.

Dave Bernal
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Josh Radtke, Student/Intern, Photographer
East Lansing | MI | USA | Posted: 11:54 PM on 09.27.11
->> First off, let me say, Sports Shooter Academy definitely is THE COOLEST sports photography event of the year.

I was a late add to the program, and I am so glad I got to join everyone for this awesome learning experience. I hope the sponsors know how big of a difference they are really making for young photographers like myself. For me, the greatest part of the academy was seeing all the different photos that came out of each situation we had to shoot. We all look at the world in different ways and every night I anticipated seeing everyone's photos up on the slide-show.

I can't thank all the instructors enough for all of their insight and knowledge they bestowed upon the particpants (the jokes were great too!). Between Bert, Shawn, Rod, Matt, Myung, Wally, John and Jordan, there isn't anything these guys left untouched. From remotes, to interacting with models, we covered it all.

I wanted to especially thank Bert for all of his efforts in putting this program together. There is nothing like this for students or any sports shooters for that matter. I know he already knows, but I want to emphasize that what he's doing is really making a difference in the lives of people, young and old, who want to make their life photography.

For all of you out there who are debating whether to sign up and go next year, DO IT! I had a great time and I doubt future shooters will have any different experience than I did.
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Lisa Neal, Photographer, Assistant
Thibodaux | LA | USA | Posted: 11:26 AM on 09.30.11
->> This is my first post on the forum! How do I begin?

I have been to quite a few professional photography workshops in the past but this is THE one that I had been thirsting for over the last few years. This learning opportunity was the one that I didn't think would really ever happen. I am so thankful that SSA was able to be scratched from my bucket list this year. Problem is . . . I want to go back!

Watching Bert and Matt on Saturday was awesome. They wanted so badly for each and every one of the 48 photographers to have a great experience at the game and to make great pictures. They were truly vested in our success! The photos document their enthusiasm. I have photographed a Peach Bowl, a Sugar Bowl and a BCS Championship and none of those games were as exciting as the game we witnessed Saturday!

Thanks go out to each and every mentor/instructor/presenter during SSA VIII. Your words and inspiration did not fall on deaf ears. Thanks to all the sponsors that allowed the students to attend. Without our college students, this workshop would not have been the same!

Thanks to Think Tank who provided so many prizes for many of us and for providing the top prize -- the Urban Disguise 60 was so awesome to travel back home with! It is PERFECT for photographers that travel!

To anyone that is dreaming of attending SSA -- just do it! Make it happen. It is one of the best workshops you'll attend if your passion is sports photography.

I cannot wait to take my new skills and put them into practical use. Next stop - LSU vs Kentucky on Saturday at Death Valley - too bad it likely will be one sided.

Special thanks to Shawn Cullen, who was the staff member that critiqued my images most often and was very compassionate to what I was feeling about my work and to Matt who helped me narrow down my choices for the final submission that ended up earning me the Best Image of the Day for Saturday and the Top Image of the Workshop.

I am honored to have been with such a great group of photographers that are extremely talented!

And to Carrie --- well, you know what I'd say about my work! LOL

Sports Shooter Academy IS THE COOLEST sports photography event of the year!

Thanks Bert and Matt for creating such a wonderful event and inspiring us all!
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Matt Brown, Photographer
Fullerton | CA | USA | Posted: 12:45 PM on 09.30.11
->> Who knew a photo workshop with lawyers and SID's would be fun. Throw in Matt Bailey from livebooks and we have a party. We should have done this years ago.
I wanted to thank everyone who came to the workshop. What a great group for number 8. I hope you enjoyed the Shaka Laka. Keep shooting and I'll see you at the next one.
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Daniel Mullan, Student/Intern, Photographer
Plymouth | Devon | UK | Posted: 6:00 AM on 10.11.11
->> I just wanted to add my thanks to everyone that was involved in the Academy. The enthusiasm and helpfulness of everyone at the academy, faculty and particpants, was amazing. I don't think I realise how much I learnt until I got home and started shooting again. In the back of my head I have the mantra 'shoot tight, crop tighter' replaying as I shoot.

Getting the chance to be critiqued by some of the best photographers in the industry was awesome, I don't think I would get the opportunity to have so much one-on-one time anywhere else. A big thank you to all of the faculty for generiously giving their time to us all.

Another massive thank you to Nikon, Think Tank, Samy's and Live Books for making it all possible. I cannot recommend the Academy enough. It was definitely worth flying half way around the world to attend, and I hope I get the opportunity to do so again in the future.

Also thank you to Matt Brown and Rod Mar for letting me know what was going on at the football game. I didn't have a clue, apparantley I chose a great game for my first one to shoot. Much appreciated!

Finally thank you to Bert for making all of this possible!
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Robert Hanashiro, Photographer
Los Angeles | CA | | Posted: 12:03 PM on 10.11.11
->> Thanks Daniel!

We had a truly international flavor to the last Sports Shooter was really cool having photographers and students from the U.K., Canada, Germany and Singapore.

I just looked over some of your outtakes and for someone that had never seen an American football game, you really produced some wonderful images!

Thanks again for helping us put on a successful workshop.
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Robert Hanashiro, Photographer
Los Angeles | CA | | Posted: 11:52 AM on 11.01.11
->> Preliminary plans are being made for THE coolest sports photography event of 2012!

If you would like to get advance word on news about the next workshop, send an email with the subject line "SSA Mailing List" to:

You will be emailed news about Sports Shooter Academy IX --- the dates and when applications will be accepted --- before it is announced to the public.

So if you want to get a jump on dates of the workshop AND when applications will be accepted, get on the mailing list!
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Thread Title: Sports Shooter Academy VIII: THE coolest! Mahalo.
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