The beautiful Shenecoy Sportsmen skeet club hosted the 83rd annual Pennsylvania State Open Skeet Championships on their 16-field facility in McConnellstown, Pennsylvania, on August 23-25. The weather, facilities, birds and referees were all great. Shooting at least one gun were 213 participants, including 48 out-of-state shooters from 12 states.
Alessandro Vitale, Zone 2 committeeman from Maryland, was Open HOA Champion (397) and HAA (493). Sam Armstrong, also from Maryland, was Open HOA (393) and HAA (491) runner-up. Pennsylvanians Joe Vescovi and Fran Kosmacki were Open HOA third (391) and open HAA third (487), respectively. State HOA Champion, runner-up and third, respectively, were Vescovi, Gil Rodler Jr. and Kenny Riddile. Kosmacki, Chris Kline and Riddile were Pennsylvania HAA champion, runner-up and third.
The .410-bore Prelim started the festivities on Friday morning with 44 shooters participating. Michael Zavasky was champion after he won a shoot-off of 97s with Colin Crawford; John Sarge’s 96 was good for third. Tim Botwright, Dave Cominsky, Mike Wojtecki and Joseph Gans V, respectively, took A1 through D1.
Friday afternoon, 141 participants shot doubles, with Nick Boerboon, Chris Kline and Steve Hildebrand shooting 99s and taking Open and Pennsylvania champion, runner-up and third, respectively. State class firsts, AA-D, went to Kosmacki, Frank Smithmyer, Meghan Darrough, Jeff Wright and Gans V.
In the main event, there were eight 100 straights in the 12-gauge, seven in the 20, one in the 28 and none in the .410. With the great weather, over 200 shooters and a shoot difficulty factor of 25.4, it seems like there should have been more 100s, but you never know.
Pennsylvania champions, runners-up and thirds, respectively, were: Meghan Darrough, Vescovi and Gary Nace in the 12-gauge (204 shooters, with Vitale from Maryland as Open Champion); Mark Eckert, Adam Vollmer and John Stough in the 20-gauge (199 shooters, with Mark Polek from Maryland Open Champion); Denny Lehman, Rich Vensel and Vescovi in the 28-gauge (184 shooters, with Vitale Open Champion); and, Crawford, Zavasky and Rodler Jr. in the .410 (180 shooters, with Vitale Open Champion).
Class first places for Pennsylvania were: Boerboon, Clay Gormish, Ed Call, David Darrough, Joseph DeAugustine, William Kline and Eric Mitchell (12-gauge AAA-E); Smithmyer, Josh Crofutt, Rodler Jr., Ernie Anderson, Josh Mitchell and Richard Egick (20-gauge AAA-D); Kosmacki, Brian Steinert, Smithmyer, Brad Gregory, Don Steinert and Egick (28-gauge AAA-D); and Kosmacki, Mike Rykaczewski Jr., Riddile, Joe Paul, Allison Shaffer and Mike Rykacewski, Sr. (.410 bore AAA-D).
Colby Eckert was Pennsylvania Sub-Junior HOA Champion, while Garrett Baisey from Virginia was Open Sub-Junior Champ. Meghan Darrough and Allison Shaffer, respectively, were Pennsylvania Junior HOA Champion and runner-up; John McKeel from Virginia took the Open Junior HOA championship.
Pennsylvania Lady HOA winners were Meghan Darrough, Debra Meade and Allison Shaffer (champion through third, respectively). Open Lady winners were Victoria Stellato (champion, from North Carolina), Meredith Tunick Kling (runner-up, from VA) and Angelina D’Aquanno (third, from New Jersey).
Saturday evening was very busy, including a hat shoot. Meghan Darrough and her father David both shot their first 100 straights in the 12-gauge event, and their hats were appropriately demolished. Mark Eckert also had his first 100 straight in the 20-gauge event, and his hat was disrespected as well.
After shoot-offs and the hat shoot, a brief memorial service for Pennsylvania skeet shooters who passed away since the last State Shoot was held. The deceased include Mary Louise Holtz, Tom McConnell, George Cree and Nick Sisley. Tim Holtz, Gary Trilli and Marie Palmer spoke.
Pennsylvania State Teams for 2018 were recognized, and each member received a nice wooden plaque. The Pennsylvania first team included Fran Kosmacki, Denny Lehman, Clay Gormish, Dan Felton and Kenny Riddile. Second Team members are Rich Vensel, Ethan Call, Josh Crofutt, Debra Meade and Joseph Gans III.
The PSSA President’s Cup award for 2018 was presented to Ed Call in recognition of his support of skeet in the state.
All Juniors (11 in the 12-gauge) and Sub-Juniors (nine in the 12-gauge) participating in this year’s State Shoot had 50% of their entry fees paid by PSSA. Shells used (four boxes for each event except the Prelim) were also provided by PSSA. The Fulton County, Pennsylvania 4-H Shooting Club had seven Junior shooters participating in the 12-gauge event.
Denny Lehman spearheaded a drive to solicit added money for the 2019 State Shoot. Many thanks to Denny and to Murry Gerber and Elite Shotguns, the major sponsor of the Pennsylvania State Shoot, and all the other businesses and individuals that made the donations that resulted in $11,205 in added money (see photo of donors’ banner). This money was distributed to 125 of the 213 shooters who participated in the shoot. The added money was capped so that gun champion, runner-up and third received $80, $70 and $60, respectively. All class first through fifth places received cash from added money (e.g.,12-gauge A1-$55, A2-$50, A3-$45, A4-$40, A5-$35). Attendance at this shoot has increased dramatically in the past three years, with 12-gauge entries going from 150 (2017), to 185 (2018), to 213 (2019). The added money and its distribution certainly have had something to do with that!
Mark Polek from Maryland, in a field of 20 shooters, won the BCDE Challenge shoot-off. The top prize was a Henry rifle donated by Ed and Theresa Call (thank you, Ed and Theresa!). Class champs and runners-up were awarded shells, one flat and one-half flat, respectively.
The 5-Man Team Handicap Championship shoot-off (free to all shooters, based on 12-gauge averages) involved 11 teams. The winning team members were Sam Armstrong, Alessandro Vitale, Mike Wollard, Mark Saussure and Fran Kosmacki, and each received a beautiful belt buckle.
Clair Krug (CK’s Catering) provided the delicious catered dinner for all, at no extra cost to the shooters and their guests, on Saturday night at the club. Thanks to everyone who donated to make this happen.
Kudos to Tami Daniel-Means and her hubby Al who ably handled registration, score keeping and posting; Bobby Wilkin who was Chief Referee and shoot-off announcer; the Generations Skeet Club team who handled medal preparation and distribution; and Tim Holtz, PSSA president, who was pretty much everywhere, including being emcee at Saturday night’s recognition/awards presentation event.
Special thanks to the following folks whose hard work was greatly appreciated: Barry and Lori Sheffield (Shenecoy managers), Rod Shyda (Lincoln Traps), Petersburg Volunteer Fire Company (handled the kitchen), Chuck Mattice, Bill States, Danny Moore, John Davies, Rick Grimminger, George, Brian and Sandy Garner, Carl Confer, Bill Ozanich, Wade and Charlie Schlusser, Ed Tos, Tom and LeAnn Weaverling and Mark Wickersham.
Be sure to include Shenecoy in your shooting schedule for 2020. It appears that there will be three major skeet shoots “on the hill” next year – the U.S. Open (Pennsylvania location for the i-shoot), the Zone 2 and the Pennsylvania State. It should be a blast (pun intended).
Scores: Doubles winners-Rev1
– Contributed by George Gleich