September is most Michiganders’ favorite time of the year because the nights are cool and the days are warm and sunny. This year was no exception for the Kasle Family Charity Open held September 17-19 at the Detroit Gun Club. There were nearly 80 competitors from 13 states, with a number of first-timers in attendance, and they were all anticipating the Saturday night show that is the hallmark of the Kasle Open. The shoot always starts with a .410 bore, 75-target Event 6 in which the top 10 scores participate in a themed shoot-off on Saturday night. Two 75s, three 74s and three 73s automatically qualified for the finals, and nine 72s had a shoot-in for the remaining two spots, which took all of four stations to decide. It was also decided to include the high Lady, so the final count was 11 shooters competing for the coveted crystal bowl.
DOUBLES – Given the great conditions, it was no surprise to see multiple straights – three, to be exact. Andy Peter, who managed to escape from New Zealand (he’s the only international shooter we’ve seen in ages!), missed on the last pair of the first box for third place. On the last pair of the second box, Alessandro Vitale let one get away for runner-up, leaving David Ballerini the champion. Shoot-offs settled AAA and A, with Paul Giambrone and Jim Sykes the respective winners. Donald Kitchen (AA), Ed Bowker (B), Paul Kostopoulos (C) and Dennis Jolley (D) won their classes outright. Crystal Stoddard was Lady Champ.
12 & 20 GAUGE – Saturday morning’s conditions were “severe clear,” quickly warming up to near 80 degrees and no wind! Not surprisingly, there were 11 100s posted in the 12-gauge, and seven perfect scores in the 20-gauge. Add to that the plethora of 99s (14 and 13, respectively), and it’s a wonder the number of 100 straights wasn’t even higher. Five shooters completed the first box. David Ballerini let a low 3 slip by the third time in the second box for third place, with Craig Parsons settling for runner-up after missing on the last pair of the box. Paul Giambrone hit his pair for champ. Hundreds by Vitale (AAA), Fran Kosmacki (AA) and Larry Israel (B) put them at the top of their classes, with Stoddard (A1 and Lady champ) and Dalton Summerfield (C1) winning their shoot-offs. Dominic Stewart (D) and Dale Reeder (E) won their classes outright. In the 20-gauge event, the 100 straights took the field, with Steve Wood missing on the last station of the first box for third, and Vitale and Dessislav Ivanov going to the second box. Again, the champion was decided on the last pair, with Vitale besting Ivanov. Fred Tschantz (AAA) and Peter Bogdon (AA) won their classes with 100s; Stoddard won her shoot-off for A1 and was also Lady Champ; and Debra Perry (B), Trish Magyar (C) and Jolley (D) were outright winners of their classes. With two events in the books, there were three shooters perfect and another dozen down only one or two targets.
KASLE CUP – Twenty-one years ago, in 2000, the Kasle Cup started as the Walker Cup, named for the original sponsor, Spike Walker. Over the years, it has had different sponsors and, hence, different names, but the idea behind the event has always remained the same – to put some fun back into skeet shooting. Each year has had a different theme, with the shooters making it to the finals dressing the part; often the contestants are on different teams, with the crowd getting into the action. The themes over the years have been WWF, Rock Stars, West Side Story (Sharks vs. Jets), Heroes and Villains, NFL (AFC vs NFC), NASCAR, Professional Rodeo, Pirates, the Olympics, Woodstock, Caddyshack, Top Shot, Slap Shot, Dr. Seuss, Stripes, Top Gun, Snow White, Dorf on Skeet, Detroit Skeet City (based upon the classic movie Detroit Rock City featuring KISS), The Greatest Shoot (Show) on Earth, Looney Tunes, Old McDonald’s Farm, and last year, “Wayne-o’s World” (based on the Saturday Night Live skit and subsequent movie) in honor of the late, great Wayne Mayes. This year the theme was Gomer Pyle, USMC, a tribute to Spike Walker, who had the nickname Sergeant Carter and recently passed away. The show started with a spectacular fireworks display. The “recruits” were marched onto the field by “Private Pyle” (Billy Ray Suggs), and “Sergeant Carter” (Mike Kremski) proceeded to “dress-down” each contestant. They shot flash targets, with music playing way and the crowd heckling them, making for quite a spectacle. Rarely has the shoot-off gone more than a round, which is understandable given all the commotion, and this year was no exception. When the smoke finally cleared, Mark Vaillancourt was the winner of the coveted crystal bowl – his third!
28 GAUGE & .410 BORE – Sunday’s conditions were a carbon-copy of Saturday’s, which was pretty unbelievable for this time of the year, especially given that the dreaded “white puffies” usually make an appearance for the .410 event. Six shooters posted 100s in the 28-gauge event, and it quickly got down to two, with Wood taking third. Then, it seemed that neither of the remaining two wanted to win. One would leave the door open and then the other failed to close it; then they went the other way! Finally, David Schiebel slammed the door shut for champ, with Josh Crofutt runner-up. Bruce Christian and Mark Gay finished AAA1 and AA1, respectively, with Mark Atkins (A), Pat Fowler (B), Dominic Stewart (C) and Dale Reeder (D) rounding out the other classes. Stoddard, again, was Lady champ. The .410 bore saw four perfect scores in the afternoon, but it didn’t take little more than a handful of stations to sort it all out. Giambrone was the champion, followed by Wood, runner-up; Parsons, third; and Donald Kitchen, AAA1 with his first 100 straight. Sykes won his shoot-off for AA1, and Owen Knight (A), Dennis Lehman (B), Donald Steinert (C) and Dominic Stewart (D) were at the top of their classes. Stoddard was Lady champ, completing her sweep.
HIGH OVER ALL – In the High Over All race, after three events, there was one shooter down one target; three shooters down two; five down three; and six down four targets. So, once again, it would all come down to the baby bore. When the final shot was fired in the .410, there were three tied at 397. Wood missed first, settling for third. On the next station, both Tschantz and Parsons missed, but three pairs later, Tschantz missed again and the venerable Parsons hit his pair for champion. Giambrone won his shoot-off of 396s for AAA1. All the other classes were decided without having to fire another shot, with Vaillancourt (AA), Jason Johnson (A), Israel (B), Jimmy Grimes (C) and Stewart (D) the winners. Stoddard, of course, was Lady champion.
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! Once again, the entire corps of shooters had a great time! Untold thanks go to our sponsors Roger, Lisa, Matt and Jill Kasle without whose generous support, this shoot, the fireworks show and charity donation would not be possible. Without fail, once again, Scott Behnke and his assistant manager, Danny, did a fantastic job ensuring the targets flew true; the referees were first-rate, keeping their thumbs on the buttons and giving us the targets when we called for them; the kitchen staff of Chef Kristina, with waitress Jenny, made sure that no one went hungry or thirsty; and our shoot staff of Debbi and Debbie promptly entered and posted the scores and ensured the shoot-off sheets were ready to go after the last shot was fired. Debbie (Behnke) even did double duty as a referee.
Next year the Motor State is scheduled for July 8-10, and the Kasle Family Charity Open, September 16-18. Look for our ads in “Target Talk,” or go to MichiganSkeet.com to get your registration in early. We guarantee you will have a great time at Detroit Gun Club!
– Contributed by Trish Magyar