The fifth annual Couples Shoot was held at Generations Skeet Club near Patton, Pennsylvania, on September 15. The weather was great, mid-70s and mostly sunny with just enough wind to keep it interesting. Some visitors think the wind never stops blowing at Generations; just for the record, it does stop occasionally.
The Couples Shoot was initiated in 2015 by Generations to introduce new shooters, especially ladies and younger shooters, to skeet, to have fun shooting while stressing gun safety, to enjoy an early autumn afternoon with a fine group of people and, of course, to eat! Fourteen couples participated in 2015, and this year 33 couples were involved – down a few couples from last year, but still a fabulous turnout. There are not many registered skeet shoots in the country that have 33 female participants. The Couples Shoot birds were not registered, but just having that many ladies participating in one skeet shoot is quite an accomplishment.
Shooting began at noon, and all four of the skeet fields were soon buzzing. At least 14 of the participants were first-time shooters, some as young as 11 years old. There were several father-daughter pairs, several boyfriend-girlfriend pairs and many husband-wife pairs. Coaches, including Joe and Michael Vescovi, Tim, Ryan and Roy Holtz, Chris Kline, Jack Makdad, Mark Saussure and George Gleich, were present on each field to help new shooters, and any not-so-new shooters that wanted help. Generations provided shotguns, shells and eye and ear protection to those who needed them. Pullers and scorers included Paige McMullen and Abby Lansbury, both of whom are regulars for helping run the Wednesday night skeet league here and do a great job. Paige and Abby also joined in on the shooting fun and did quite well.
Squads of four, six and eight people participated. All NSSA safety rules were strictly enforced, but some of the non-safety-related rules were slightly bent at times to help new shooters. For example, some new shooters shot four singles instead of two singles and a double at times, and congratulating a new shooter each time they smoked a bird was encouraged.
At approximately 4 p.m., after everyone had shot at 50 birds (two rounds), shoot-offs began. Top-secret handicaps were applied, which allowed all 33 couples to participate in doubles at 3, 4 and 5. The shoot-offs were also handicapped, with experienced shooters receiving no targets and rookies getting 4. Following the first round of shoot-offs, the remaining shooters proceeded to field 2 for the finals. A large crowd of spectators watched and cheered as the winners were decided.
Father and daughter Jack and Emily Harshbarger emerged as the Couples Shoot Champions. Emily received the custom tiara bedecked with spent shotgun shells. Shoot runners-up were Chris and Ashley Kline, while third place went to Andy and Paige McMullen, another father-daughter duo. The champs received engraved drinking glasses, two pizzas and four dozen wings from Patton Sportsman’s and free targets from Generations. Runner-up and third place finishers received $25 gift cards from Pirate’s Cove and free targets from Generations.
After the shooting was done, people moved to The Barn, about 200 yards from the skeet clubhouse, for a fine picnic-style dinner. Ryan Holtz cooked the chicken on-site, and many people brought covered dishes and desserts. There was plenty of food and drink on hand and lots of lively discussion among old and new friends. All in all, a fitting ending to a very pleasant day.
Many thanks to the Generations skeet family for hosting a great event. Many of the participants are already planning to do it again next year.
– Contributed by George Gleich