Carroll County native Gary Quesenberry is reloading for another chance to become Top Shot.
Quesenberry, who finished third out of 16 contestants during Season 3 of The History Channel’s popular television show, is back for Top Shot All-Stars, which will begin airing May 29 at 10 p.m. The show will feature top performers from the Top Shot franchise’s first four seasons.
Quesenberry is excited about the format for Top-Shot All-Stars. Unlike the previous four seasons when contestants were split into teams, the All-Star season will be based solely on individual performances.
“It’s going to be a good season. They cut out all the drama. There are no teams and your individual performance dictates how far you go. It’s a new dynamic,” said Quesenberry, a 1988 graduate of Carroll County High School. “Instead of using politics to vote, there is no way to further yourself in this competition other than proving yourself with the gun, which I like a whole lot better.”
One of fewer than 100 Triple Nickel Coin holders in the world, Quesenberry used his marksmanship skills to advance all the way to the championship round of Top Shot in Season 3. 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. Each target must be engaged twice and the shooter must reload after target one and before target five.
Currently a Homeland Security agent, the Desert Storm veteran also impressed on Season 3 with his positive attitude and leadership skills on the red team. This time he will have no teammates as it’s every man for himself.
“Everybody will find out in that first episode. We all showed up not knowing what to expect,” Quesenberry said. “As soon as we got there they handed us all the green jerseys off the bat and told us there was no teams and no voting. It’s all based on the level of skill you bring to the competition. Instead of voting, there is a new part of the season called the Proving Ground.”
Quesenberry will be joined by fellow Season 3 contestants Phil Morden and Alex Charvat in Top Shot All-Stars for the 12-episode season. Each episode will air Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. While Quesenberry couldn’t divulge much information about challenges and weapons used this season, he said fans of the show will not be disappointed.
“I can tell you some of the challenges you see are going to be some of the most difficult and fan favorite challenges from previous seasons,” he said. “As with everything on Top Shot, they like to amp it up a little bit, so it is going to be something else.”
Quesenberry said not much has changed for him since Season 3 began airing a little less than two years ago. He does get recognized in public occasionally, including once when his father, Ronald, came from Carroll County to visit Quesenberry in Ohio, where he now resides.
“One time when the show was still on, dad came up to visit and we all went out to eat. We were standing in a restaurant with a 45-minute wait and some guy came up wearing a Top Shot t-shirt with his girlfriend,” Quesenberry said. “He ran out to his car and had me sign his shirt in the middle of the restaurant and everybody is looking at me like, ‘Who is this guy?’ There are still some people that look at you funny like they know you from somewhere.”
Quesenberry said his experience on the show also opened up new opportunities to teach firearms, something he thoroughly enjoys. He’s been working part-time for the Graystone Defense Group teaching courses on Concealed Carry Weapons, advanced pistol, tactical rifle, long-range rifle and custom firearms.
“Just being able to get out and teach again is something that has changed for me and something I really enjoy,” he said. “It’s open to the public, to law enforcement and military. We get to interact with a lot of different types of people, which is something I have always enjoyed.”
While Season 3 of Top Shot had many distractions, most notably the weekly drama of contestant Jake Zweig, Quesenberry said this season is solely about the shooting and the competition.
“We all got along fantastic. There was no fighting, no drama,” Quesenberry said. “When we were at the house together, we focused on establishing our relationships together instead of ‘What can I do to get you out of here?” It was always hard to watch somebody go, just a completely different dynamic this time.”
But like Season 3, Quesenberry made it a point to represent his family and his area with class.
“I think I conducted myself the same way I did last time, trying to make a good name for myself, my family and Sylvatus,” he said. “Hopefully that comes across when the episodes air.”