Victor Rod and Gun Club hosted the JTH Agency Classic on June 8-10, the 15th consecutive year that John and Elizabeth Hessney, owners of the JTH Agency, sponsored the Doubles and four-gun event and 30th anniversary of the tournament. For the shoot’s anniversary celebration, the Hessneys increased the added money and prizes to a combined value of over $6000, much to the appreciation of the shooters. Shooters trekked to the Victor Rod and Gun Club from western and central New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Canada. As the shooters arrived at the club, they encountered the customary hospitality and a facility and grounds gleaming from months of preparation and numerous capital improvements. The club does its best to live up to the shoot’s claim as the “Biggest Little Shoot in New York State.”
The JTH Agency Classic started with the Doubles competition on Friday afternoon, with 40 shooters taking to the fields under clear skies and warm temperatures. Dess Ivanov was right on the targets, bagging all 100 for his first 100 straight in Doubles competition. Five shooters tied with scores of 98. William Kalwas was the eventual winner of the shoot-off to claim Doubles runner-up. Other Doubles winners were Ian Smingler (AA), Dean Herzberg (A), Colin Smingler (B), Mike Kinsella (C), and Victor Stirpe (D). After the conclusion of the shooting, all of the shooters, referees, and volunteers were invited into the club house for an excellent Italian-style meal donated by Tim Archetko, executive chef of the very popular Otto Tomotto’s Good Italian restaurant in Victor, NY. Otto Tomotto’s is one of the highest-rated Italian-style restaurants in the area, and the shooters thoroughly enjoyed the delicious meal.
Saturday’s weather was perfect for skeet, as the winds were calm all day and the blue sky presented a very good background. A total of 42 shooters took the field for Saturday morning’s .410 bore event. Dan Walker crushed all 100 targets for his first 100 straight in competition. Dan needed every target to outlast a pair of 99s from Corey Bogart (runner-up) and Dale “Bob” Patterson (A1). The balance of the .410 field of winners were Dess Ivanov (AA), Scott Janowski (B), Mike Wojtecki (C), and Al Morris (D).
The 20-gauge event concluded the shooting on Saturday afternoon. Ian Smingler got all 100 targets to take the champ title. After a lively shoot-off of three shooters, Canadian Dean Herzberg prevailed as 20-gauge runner-up. The balance of the class winners were Dess Ivanov (AA), Peter Bogdon (A), Ethan Call (B), Victoria Barner (C), and Steve Dickerman (D).
Again this year, shooter Randy Cook generously donated $300 in added money for a special 20-gauge handicapped event for B-C-D class shooters only. Victoria Barner and William Black tied for the top two scores, splitting the prize money. We really can’t thank Randy enough for his generosity and his support of this very popular event. We are very fortunate to have thoughtful and generous shooters like Randy that give back to the sport they love so much.
At the conclusion of the shoot-offs, the shooters, family members, and gun club neighbors all enjoyed a festive happy hour with free refreshments and hors d’oeuvres featuring sushi donated by California Rollin’. How many shoots have sushi? The sushi was a big hit and quickly disappeared. The shooters and guests were then treated a great steak dinner, donated by Dick Evans, Don Lewandoski, Mark Snyder, Justin Aldrich, and Joe Strazzeri. Ron and John grilled the steaks to perfection. Jim Hunter emceed the night’s events and got the festivities started. The shooters and their guests had a great time renewing acquaintances and catching up with their skeet friends. As an added feature, the Hessneys donated enough prizes for every four-gun shooter to win a prize in a raffle. The smiles abounded.
Partly sunny skies and comfortable temperatures greeted the 43 shooters for Sunday’s lead-off 28-gauge event. Six shooters posted scores of 99 in the event. After a suspenseful shoot-off, Ian Smingler emerged as 28-gauge champ with Don Lewandoski as runner-up. Dean Herzberg finished as the AA class winner. Other class winners were Ed Call (A), Bill Costello (B), John Yackiw (C), and George Kirik (D).
On Sunday afternoon, the scoring continued in the 12-gauge event with Dan Morris and Dave Eckert posting 100s. Morris won the shoot-off to become the champ. Eckert took runner-up honors. Other 12-gauge winners were Ian Smingler (AA), Don Lewandoski (A), Mike Kinsella (B), George Kirik (C), Al Morris (D), and Joe Messineo (E).
After the conclusion of the four-gun events, the HOA title required a shoot-off between Dan Morris and Ian Smingler to determine HOA champ. Dan and Ian each had 394×400 four-gun totals. After a short shoot-off, Dan Morris was victorious as HOA champ, with Ian finishing as runner-up. Other HOA honors went to Ivanov (AA), Lewandoski (A), Victoria Barner (B), and Mike Wojtecki (C/D/E).
For the seventh consecutive year, the HOA competition featured the added handicapped JTH Agency Classic HOA Challenge. All four-gun shooters were automatically entered to win premium prizes for the event. John Kapron won this year’s HOA Challenge event and received a Beretta A400 Xcel shotgun. Ian Smingler claimed the second-place prize of a Beretta A300 shotgun. The third-place prize of a $600 Briley companion tube gift certificate was earned by Dess Ivanov. Fourth place was a fine Boyt shotgun case that went to Dan Morris. Three more shotgun cases were given out to the fifth- through seventh-place finishers. How is that for a bundle of prizes? Congrats to all winners of this special event, and thanks to John Hessney for the donations of these fine prizes, in addition to the added money for the shoot.
The JTH Agency Classic is a great source of pride for the members of the Victor Rod and Gun Club. The club is very fortunate to have such a group of dedicated volunteers that devote countless hours to making this shoot the best that it can be. It is gratifying to know the shooters notice the effort and show their appreciation. We truly appreciate that the shooters keep this shoot on their shoot calendar and return each year. Many shooters have been coming to this shoot for more than 10 years and some from the very first shoot. Thanks for your support!
Special thanks go out to our shoot chairman Andy Nolan who manages the shoot project. He has strong support from many members. Thanks also to Dan Caryl for being the chief referee and to his great crew of fine referees. Many thanks go to the advertisers in the shoot program. We believe that we have one of the best quality shoot programs in the country. We can’t thank shoot sponsors John and Elizabeth Hessney enough for their support and generosity. Each year they give back to the sport by sponsoring this fine shoot.
Please go to VRGC web site (www.victorgunclub.com) to check out pictures of the shoot. The club continues to make a number of continuous improvements to make the shooting experience better every year. See you in 2019!
– Contributed by Wes Bailey