Nitrid3 Syst3ms is proud to support these outstanding athletes in the shooting sports. Meet the team!
Hailing from Kalamazoo, Michigan, André “Da Kid320” Washington competes in 3gun (open division), USPSA (PCC), and Steel Challenge (Open/PCC). Before becoming a competitive shooter, André played football at Western Michigan University where he received his bachelors degree in Criminal Justice and Sociology. André is also a US Army vet where he spent time as a Cannon Crewman. He enjoys listening to music, freshwater fishing, building AR’s, and most of all making things go “boom."
“When it comes to my firearms I’d rather have them and never need them, than need them and never have them.” – André “Da Kid 320” Washington
Tatum is 14 years old and is a straight A student in High School. She started her interest in firearms being a "Daddy's girl" as early as 4 years old. Her father believed curiosity could be curbed and healthy understanding and respect of firearms would come by answering questions at a young age and it has been very successful.
Tatum won her very first shooting competition at age 4 in the 4 to 6 year old age group. It was a Pellet gun match sponsored by the U.S. Border Patrol, at the NRA Whittington Center In New Mexico at a law enforcement match her father was attending. She continued to be a leader and or winning her division over the next several years whenever they were able to make the trip.
She loves hunting actually going on her first hunt with her father at age 4, then participating and harvesting her first squirrel at age 6. She has since fed her family over the years harvesting deer.
Tatum became more interested in competitive shooting at the age of 9, and started shooting 22 pistol for steel challenge and indoor uspsa style league. At age 10 she stepped up to using a upgraded 9mm Springfield Armory Range officer 1911 and and XDM 5.25 worked on by some really good friends at the Armory.
Tatum does understand responsibility and work that goes into all this and assists in much of the loading of her own ammunition. She also helps in the processing of the meat we harvest and has since age 4! As a part of her ongoing training, Tatum became a certified Range officer 2 years ago and regularly works local matches taking responsibility for the safe administration of the courses and the fair application of the rules and scoring.
She has attended a couple major USPSA matches. Twice at Single Stack Nationals, Once Area 3. This year was her first complete year as a 3 gun competitor. She started with a major match at Zombies of the Heartland put on by Hornady in Grand Island, NE. She attended several local matches in Nebraska, Kansas and Iowa and then attended the Rocky Mountain 3 gun world Shoot at the NRA Whittington Center in New Mexico. If you watch some of her video's you will see she has grown exponentially through this season and we continue to grow through life.
Jaren Is a Junior in High school who also takes duel credit courses in engineering. These go both toward High school and college credits. If he keeps with it through his senior year, he will have also completed a year of college. Jaren competes on the High school swim team and track teams and with all this still maintains a part time job as the pin technician at a local bowling alley fixing equipment.
Jaren also started his training in responsible gun handling at around age 4. His first award in a competition was at the age of 6 at the Rocky Mountain Nationals event at the NRA Whittington Center at the pellet gun match put on by the U.S. Border patrol. Jaren won his first of several pellet guns there and learned a lot about sportsmanship. After winning a couple pellet guns, he then gave up the third to the second place finisher who didn't own one. In the years following that we attended this match Jaren was consistently among the top place finisher in his age group.
Jaren decided to give the USPSA pistol matches a try at age 11. He was the first Junior to shoot league at Big shots and with their natural concerns we initially took extra precautions keeping his separated from the rest. It didn't take them long to realize his competence and skill and he was very quickly integrated with the group. He set the stage for his sister in that when she came, they didn't question and she was allowed right in with no considerable concerns.
Jaren has competed in several larger matches including several Single stack Nationals. He has placed in D class in two of them. He also placed in Area 3 D class shooting limited. (He doesn't get to shoot D class anymore). Jaren had shot only two 3 gun events before shooting his first major event, the Hornady Pandemic Zombie match. At this match a really great friend and Dad's DEguns teammate insisted he needed sponsorship and was willing to give up his spot on the team. Deguns said this didnt need to happen and within a month made Jaren their first Junior Shooter. This lit a fire and Jaren began to grow and work exponentially. His second year at that match he moved up almost 100 spots, just out of the top 100.
Jesse Hilger (the Dad)
I was born and raised in rural Nebraska a farm kid. I grew up hunting and there was almost always a firearm in my farm truck even at school. Yes, My parents did name me Jesse James.. They either had high hopes or low expectations, we are not sure what they got. I hunted and trapped and a large portion of my first Rifle and Car were paid for from my trap line along with farm work. I was active in High school keeping at least grades at B or better. My mom insisted. My mom was a genius.. and a saint. She believed in our education and while dad farmed, she would work 2 and three jobs to keep us in private school. She kept us reading by working with our interests and I had magazine subscriptions to Guns and Ammo and Outdoor life. I was competitive in football lettering 3 years and Track, lettering 4 and attending state twice placing on a 2 mile relay team.
After High school I attended a year of college for engineering. i didn't know what I wanted to do for sure, and I stopped and started working doing construction type jobs, some retail. Mostly I got heavy into martial arts. I earned a black belt, and fought on a professional level for about 4 years. Kickboxing, Thai Boxing and full contact bare knuckle Karate. I fought in the Sabaki Challenge twice. US. Shidokan once and twice in the World Kyuk Too Ki taking 2nd my first time.
I was checking in a deer at a police station and a Sgt. there said I looked healthy and should apply. I had trained many officers who had suggested the same and so I did. It was a good fit. My first department made me a firearms instructor within the first year. I moved soon to a little larger department where they had a tactical team and within a year got on their team. I was sent to a lot of training, taught a lot. I left there for a little larger department where I still work looking for a little more pay and opportunity. It was here I started my competitive shooting. And that is what taught me that in the prior 5 years of instructing schools and shooting that I had a lot to learn. Getting to shoot competitive really showed me where I lacked and could grow, both in my own shooting and in teaching. Getting to bigger matches and getting to be around some of the best shooters in the world... When they talk LISTEN!!. and you can learn to teach better.
Competition started in Law enforcement PPC I won several awards at nationals but two of my most honored were getting my revolver distinguished badge and a master class ranking in duty guns. I got into USPSA about 6 years ago when some friends from the Springfield armory custom shop invited me to shoot in Single stack Nationals. I was hooked. I have attended 6 Nationals now and many major matches. Myself along with Jaren and Tatum were interviewed for the the 2016 USPSA Single stack nationals by Shooting USA and managed a little tv time. My Journey in 3 gun has only started about 4 years ago and has had a learning curve. I am truly enjoying this journey and more so with my children. I can attest to what this type of training and responsibility does to help kids excel.