The New York State Skeet Championships were held at Rochester-Brooks Gun Club in Rush, New York, the weekend of August 23-25.
Friday’s festivities always kick off with the Referee Championship, where Dave Sobiegray’s 96 won the day. In the doubles event, only two shooters were able to break 99×100, and unbelievably, the first station settled the championship. Dan Morris clinched both the Open and Non-resident titles, while Bernard Lenehan captured his second New York State Championship. The battle of 98s for third was more like it, lasting well into the third box before Craig Parsons missed high 4 coming back the second time, resulting in David Cooley occupying the third step on the podium. Class winners, in addition to Craig, were Rick Ayers, Steve Malcolm, Glen Safford and Mark Jesske.
Saturday kept shooters under mostly cloudy skies the entire day, with a threat of rain that never materialized. In the morning 12-gauge event, only three perfect scores were recorded, by Canada’s Reg Hooper and squadmates Aaron Benton and Andrea Lehr. Less than a box later, Aaron had won both the State and Open titles, with Reg settling for runner-up and Andie taking third. Again, the battle of 99s was the one to watch, with Craig Parsons coming out on the winning side over Dess Ivanov, who settled for a spot in class. Other class winners included Dan Morris, Jeff Ventry, Brian Milanese, Ed Calabrese, John Yackiw and Joan Doyle Paddock.
Saturday afternoon’s 20-gauge event produced a half-dozen perfect scores, with another shoot-off lasting less than a box. Long Island’s Larry Bonavita captured his first New York State title, in a near-sweep of the podium with runner-up Craig Parsons sandwiched between Larry and Long Island teammate Mike Cerce on the third step. Class winners included Dan Morris, Jim Grundman, Donna Fusco, Clay Tietjen and Gregory McChesney.
The highlight of Saturday evening, the last shoot-off before dinner and awards presentations, is always the 12-gauge 5-man handicap team shoot-off. Those teams scoring 500 or better usually form a long line behind station 3, doubles miss and out by team score, to settle who wins a beautiful belt buckle for everyone on the team. However, this year only four teams qualified, with the experienced Rochester-Brooks squad prevailing over the Outlet Outlaws.
Sunday dawned sunny and clear, and the first 28-gauge flight produced a perfect score before Great Lakes clouds rolled in for the remainder of the day. Five shooters took to the championship field, where Dana Driscoll captured the title in two stations. The battle for runner-up and third lasted only one more station and resulted in Ian Smingler taking runner-up, with Ed Calabrese on the third step of the podium. Class winners included Dess Ivanov, Bob Griffith Jr., Brian Quealy, Kerry Henderson and wife Cheryl cleaning up in D class.
The afternoon .410 event totally shook up HOA standings. “It’s always the .410,” and this time the rule ruled. Brad McRae and Aaron Benton posted 99s, and in a shoot-off where both missed on the first station, Aaron won the title on the next. The quest for third lasted a little longer, with Dana Driscoll making the podium in a shoot-off of 98s. Class winners included Dess Ivanov, Zach Andruchow, Victoria Ferchaw, Michael Asel and Ron Casella.
Coming into the .410, there were several competitors down only a bird or two, but with the little gun, the cream rose to the top. In a tie of 396s, Ian Smingler beat Dess Ivanov on the first station to capture his fourth New York State HOA Championship. Aaron Benton, with the lone 395, won third outright. Class winners included Mike Cerce, Dana Driscoll, Samuel Marks, Andrea Lehr, Gregory McChesney and Joan Doyle Paddock.
The New York State Championships is always a fun event that welcomes shooters from outside the state, and this year was an excellent lead-up to the last U.S. Open to be shot mano a mano. Thanks to Scott Holmes and his terrific staff at Rochester-Brooks, with special thanks to Roger Brooks, the world’s best mechanic who dealt with, and solved, a host of target problems. Chief Referee Dan Caryl recruited excellent pullers, and registration, scoreboards and shoot-offs ran smoothly and efficiently.
– Contributed by Andrea Lehr