“Dunbar loved shooting skeet because he hated every minute of it and the time passed so slowly.” (Apologies to Joseph Heller, Catch-22.) That was not the case for those who came to the Bull Run Open at Fairfax Rod and Gun Club (Manassas, Virginia). Although shooters missed the oppressive heat bubble that passed over the area the week before, temperatures at the Bull Run Open were still in the 90s with some added high humidity. But everyone made it through with lots of water, ice and shade – and good friendships.
Twenty shooters came out for the doubles on Friday afternoon, with squads starting from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Most waited until later in the day to shoot in hopes the temps might drop a little. After the smoke cleared, Jerry Schaefer was the champion with a solid 97. Class firsts were earned by John Snyder (A, 93), Randal Horsley (B, 92), Craig Childress (C, 84) and Kevin Baker (D, 78).
Saturday reflected the highest attendance of shooters this year to date, including out-of-state representatives from Delaware, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Maryland and North Carolina. With a generous grant from the Fairfax Rod and Gun Club Foundation (John Feroldi, president), all the Collegiate, Junior and Sub-Junior entry fees were covered. As such, this attracted a Boy Scout group from the Baltimore area which camped on the archery range and a youth group (plus their parents) from the Northern Virginia Gun Club (Ron Yagla, skeet chairman) located just east of Fredericksburg, Virginia. Additionally, we were able to attract a few Collegiate shooters.
Starting in the morning, the 20-gauge event resulted in Garrett Jordan having the sole 100 – no shoot-offs needed for champion. Class firsts and a compact emergency kit went to Dan Felton (AA, 99), Gil Traore (A, 99), Doug Frazier (B, 96), Joe Scott (C, 97) and David Latimer (D, 95).
Midday Saturday we were visited by a group from the Buckhall Volunteer Fire Department which services our gun club but has never had to make a call to our facility. They were just visiting by invitation, in case we had anyone in heat distress. But all the shooters were good, and the paramedics had quite the interest in our skeet-shooting activities. We sincerely appreciate the hard work these first responders perform for our community.
The afternoon’s 12-gauge event resulted in Katherine Adams, in her first visit to Fairfax, having the sole 100 – again, no shoot-offs needed for champion. Class first and a can of Virginia peanuts went to Dan Felton (AA, 99), Bob Myers (A, 98), Jonathan Honey (B, 98), Brad Olson (C, 98), Dan Timlick (D, 94) and Kevin Baker (E, 91).
The steak and potato dinner was cooked to perfection by club president and pitmaster Jeff Bolster. For those who stayed for dinner, there was some great entertainment with the distribution of $1000 in raffle items that were donated by many club members and Vortex Optics, which donated a binocular and riflescope. But it was probably the bottle of 14-year-old single-malt Scotch that many of the participants were aiming to get. After the raffle, we moved right into the auction of the six teams for the 28-gauge 3-man blind. Col. Tom Williams got into character, and with his auctioneer persona, his fast talking and funny rhymes had everyone laughing and having a good time. All the desserts brought in by club members were excellent, with few leftovers. Each of the dinner guests were challenged to bring just one more skeet shooter with them next year.
And now for an unabashed advertisement: Donald Root of Texas handmade the clock awards for the gun champs and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org for the possibility of making similar awards for other shoots.
With Sunday being slightly warmer than the day before, the 28-gauge contest resulted in Al Means having the sole 99 for gun champion. Class champs were John Snyder (AA, 97), T.W. Williams (A, 97), John Liberty (B, 95), Paul Hunt (C, 92) and David Latimer (D, 85).
Chip Simmons, also in his first visit to Fairfax, had the sole 100 in .410 bore for the championship. This was only his second straight in the little gun and very well earned in the heat of the day. It was highly unusual that all the gun champions won outright with no shoot-offs required. .410 class champs were Katherine Adams (AA, 94), Al Means (A, 95), Doug Frazier (B, 92), Joe Scott (C, 92), and Byron Howard (D, 85).
HOA Champion was Chip Simmons (393), runner-up was Katherine Adams (389) and third was Dan Felton (386). Class winners were Garrett Jordan (AA), Al Means (A), T.W. Williams (B), Joe Scott (C), David Latimer (D) and Byron Howard (E). Katherine Adams also earned Lady HOA and was awarded an antique sterling silver and glass candy dish complete with Hershey Kisses. (The candy was not antique.)
Special recognition goes to Jamie Martin, club manager, for getting all the outfield skeet fencing replaced and painted before the shoot. Many positive comments were received about the outstanding conditions of our facility, which is a direct reflection of the tremendous time and effort that Jamie puts into maintaining the skeet fields. Our most sincere and heartfelt thanks go to Jamie Martin.
Lastly, it would just not be a success without all the hard work that Terri Bolster and Becky Myers put into getting all the supplies necessary for our good dinner and great appetizers. We would also like to thank Connie and Van for preparing our lunches and snacks during the day. Finally, thanks to Dutch Hillenburg for his support from the Pro Shop throughout the entire year.
– Contributed by Jeff Bond