Skeet season started early for the Oklahoma State referees this year. Since becoming Chief Referee, it has been my policy that all referees who fall under my jurisdiction be certified yearly by completing their standardized NSSA test. Though all referees now have a 3-year certification, I find the NSSA test to be an excellent refresher for the upcoming skeet season. I set up an online version of the NSSA test on a free website called Testmoz.com. This allows me to easily track test scores and make changes as the NSSA makes changes to its test. This also allows seasoned refs the convenience of fitting the refresher into their schedule. New referees will still take a mandatory training class and the initial paper test.
The shoot followed the meeting, and after a couple of late dropouts, we were down to 11 shooters. The weather was surprisingly favorable for February in Oklahoma. There were a few competitive shooters, some were collegiate or past skeet shooters, and we have some that rarely shoot their shotgun at all. A handicap system was used to balance our scores. Those with a handicap shot regular skeet and got to add their handicap to their score. Those with a zero handicap shot regular skeet until station 4 where they shot back-to-back doubles, then regular skeet again. Zero handicap shooters didn’t get an option target and just shot their 25th shot at high 8. The first event was 50 targets, and the prize was the first Groundhog Day Champion skeet towel; it’s all about bragging rights. With his handicap, Sam Galles was the champion with a 48. We had a second event concurrent with the first, and it consisted of a 5-card draw poker hand. In the second box, every shooter drew a card from the deck on stations 1, 3, 5, 7 and 8. When all the shooting was done, we compared our poker hands. The high hand from each field went against each other for the first Groundhog Day Poker Hand Champion skeet towel. In the end, Todd Johnson won with 2 pairs, Queens over 8s.
There was no money to win – only the enjoyment of shooting with friends. I want to make sure that each year this great group of people know how much I appreciate them and have an opportunity to have a little fun. I’m already looking forward to the 2nd Annual Groundhog Day Shoot and hope those who couldn’t make it this year will be able to join us next year. Like any good event, it takes more than one person to pull it off. Thanks to everyone involved for making the first Groundhog Day Shoot a success.
– Contributed by Andy Schuppert
Chief Referee, Oklahoma