The 81st Virginia State Skeet Championships were held on August 14-18 at the Fredericksburg Rod & Gun Club. It had been five years since Fredericksburg hosted the State Shoot, but the club was ready. Everything went smoothly.
A total of 138 shooters shot the events offered: 27 shot the 20-gauge preliminary, 89 shot doubles, 129 shot the 12-gauge, 123 shot the 20-gauge, 119 shot the 28-gauge and 107 shot the .410-bore.
Keythe Hancock won the 20-Gauge Preliminary Championship for the second year. Top honors in doubles went to Junior shooter John McKeel, champion; Jacob Davis, runner-up; and Meredith Tunick Kling, third. Top honors in the 12-gauge event went to Doug Frazier, champion; John Snyder, runner-up; and Jeff Bond, third. Winners in the 20-gauge event were Junior shooter Mattison Russell, champion; Meredith Kling, runner-up; and Muhamed El-Zoghbi, third. In the 28-gauge event, Jeff Bond was champion; Meredith Kling, runner-up; and Charlie Souter, third. Honors in the .410-bore event went to Garrett Jordan, champion; Mark Scott, runner-up; and Mattison Russell, third. Garrett Jordan won both the HOA and HAA Championships with scores of 396 and 492.
There were only five perfect scores all week, with Mattison Russell shooting the only 100 in the 20-gauge event, and Jeff Bond, Meredith Kling, Charlie Souter and Garrett Jordan shooting 100s in the 28-gauge. Top score in the 12-gauge event was a 99, in the .410 a 98, and in Doubles a 99.
This is the first time the State Shoot offered the First Responder concurrent. Meredith and Steve Kling donated a plaque for the First Responder HOA Champion. Frederick Wood won the championship in the 12- and 28-gauge, and Steve Kling won the 20-gauge, .410-bore, doubles and HOA.
The Milton Mills Memorial, established in 2018, provided awards and benefits to Sub-Junior and Junior shooters participating in the VSSA Championships. The Memorial paid the entry fees in 12- and 20-gauge for these young shooters, and awards were presented to the champion and runner-up Sub-Junior and Junior shooters in both gauges. Champions in 12-gauge were Garrett Baisey (Sub-Junior) and Mattison Russell (Junior). Champions for 20-gauge were sisters Hadley Russell (Sub-Junior) and Mattison Russell (Junior). In addition, the Bond NSSA Life Membership Award for Sub-Junior or Junior HOA Champion was awarded to Garrett Baisey.
At Friday night’s General Membership meeting, VSSA recognized the 2019 State Team members and presented awards. Sportsman of the Year was awarded to Mark Scott for his contributions to Virginia skeet. Referee of the Year was awarded to Mark Parker. Winner of the free World Shoot entry was Nick Gravina.
At the Directors meeting following the General Membership meeting, there was a discussion and vote of intent to change the State Shoot date from the third weekend in August to the second weekend in September, beginning in 2020. Final vote will be made at the November meeting.
On Saturday night was the Hall of Fame Banquet. Dinner was prepared and served by the Halifax County Gun Club members. Inducted into the Hall of Fame was Bill Chiswell for his many years of contributing to Virginia skeet. Also inducted posthumously was Aubrey Webb for his contributions while serving as Virginia’s Chief Referee, 1963-1982. Aubrey’s nephews, Earl and Wayne Johnson, accepted his plaque and entertained attendees with stories of Aubrey.
Many people are deserving of thanks for a well-run shoot, delicious food, and support in and around the club before and during the shoot. Bill Chiswell and his crew from Halifax prepared party food for the General Membership meeting. This is Bill’s last year as Party Chairman – many thanks to Bill for his years of service. The Halifax Club members who prepared the Hall of Fame dinner did an outstanding job of serving delicious food and plenty of it. Bud Hitchcock, Skeet Chairman, with the help of Nick Gravina and Mark Scott, had all the houses loaded and ready for the shooters. Lane Hartle had referees from all over the country to pull targets. Mark and Darlene Parker distributed all the awards and are experts at keeping track of all the winners. Registration Chief Tonda Finney and her crew of Kristi Garstang, Jackie Connors, and Hannah Goddard kept the whole thing together. Excellent job, ladies and gentlemen.
The next State Shoot will be at Arrowhead Gun Club. Make plans now to attend.
– Contributed by Judy Harding