With a number of campers on site and a three-day span of beautiful weather, Generations Skeet Club in Patton, Pennsylvania, held their 23rd annual Firebird 500. The July shoot was sunny and warm with a light breeze throughout the weekend until an unexpected thunder and lightning storm appeared at 5 p.m. Sunday, which had the last flight’s shooters ducking for cover. Attendance totaled 57 competitors.
Alyssa Gormish took the doubles champion title on Friday with a nice 99, and class firsts went to Chris Kline (AA, 94), Mike Wollard (A, 95), Skip Spessard (B, 95), Rich Rothrock (C, 90) and Mark Jones (D, 89). After the doubles event, the club treated the crowd to pizza and hot wings with refreshments and reminiscent stories throughout the evening.
Saturday morning saw the 28-gauge event, where Joe Vescovi captured the top honor with a 99. Class firsts went to Chris Kline (AA, 98), Jack Harshbarger (A, 98), Michael Vescovi (B, 98), Rich Rothrock (C, 94) and Mark Jones (D, 88). The 12-gauge followed and also included a belt buckle handicap 5-man team shoot. Twelve teams competed, and the final team standing was Mike Wollard, Skip Spessard, Gary Nace, Paul Hunt and Dan Felton. After a shoot-off with Chris Kline, Ryan Holtz and Clay Gormish, Alyssa Gormish added 12-gauge champion to her repertoire of wins for the weekend. Class firsts went to Chris Kline (AA, 100), Ryan Holtz (A, 100), Dan Felton (B, 99), Tim Holtz (C, 99), Chris Cohoon (D, 93), and rookie Tim Serbin captured E1 with an 83 at his first registered shoot.
After shoot-offs Saturday, Generations holds a cocktail party complete with beer, wine, venison cooked on the grill, and smoked cheeses, compliments of chef Joe Vescovi and his helpers. Dinner followed with prime rib beef, barbecue chicken, multiple covered dishes donated by the shooters, and desserts everywhere!
There was to be a surprise award ceremony for George Gleich, but, unfortunately, he was ill and could not attend; however, that did not stop the group from awarding him the first Generations Skeet Club President’s Cup! Presented by board member Ryan Holtz, the event was streamed via Facebook Live so George and his family could experience the event with us. George has been a tremendous asset to the club and assists in so many ways, from doing shoot write-ups, to refereeing, coaching and attending all events and offering to help. He is a true gentleman of the sport, and we are proud to award him for his service to the skeet community.
Following dinner and the award ceremony is the 3-man blind Calcutta. Teams are chosen at random by computer and then auctioned off to the highest bidder. The cocktail party subsequently – and unashamedly – led to the increased bidding, as a total of over $3200 was bid and collected.
The .410 was the following Sunday morning, and brothers Matt and Ryan Holtz held the winning bid on the 3-man blind champions, taking home $1,000 as the top prize. The winning team of Spessard, Saussure, and Gans III were overheard lamenting their woes of not bidding enough to get their own team!
The .410 champion went to Joe Vescovi for a solid 99. Class firsts went to Kline (AA, 98), Skip Spessard (A, 96), Mark Saussure (B, 95), Joe Gans III (D, 91) and Chris Cohoon (D, 93).
With his first-ever 100 straight, Bill Calvert earned himself the 20-gauge champion title, and thus his hat was properly ventilated by a respectful line of proud friends. Class firsts went to Frank Smithmyer (AA, 98), Mike Naleppa (A, 100), Mark Eckert (B, 98), John Davies (C, 92) and Kurt Fisher (D, 84).
HOA honors went to Joe Vescovi and Chris Kline, each with 394; Alyssa Gormish (388, A and Lady HOA), Skip Spessard (B, 382), Tim Holtz (C, 375), Mark Jones (D, 352) and Zac Sutton (Junior HOA, 374).
Generations would like to extend a gracious thank you to our core of referees: Paige and Andrea McMullen, Rene Calvert, Alex Farrell, Braden Holtz, and all the shooters who assisted. And thank you to Lynn Holtz and all the girls for setting up for the dinner, desserts, and covered dishes, and to all those who helped to clean up the facility after the shenanigans dissipated. This truly is a team shoot with everyone pitching in to do whatever they can to make it fun for the entire group. From the bottom of our hearts, the Generations Family thanks you for your friendship and camaraderie.
– Contributed by Roy Holtz