Quail Creek Plantation in Okeechobee, Florida, hosted more than 750 shooters in the 2019 Gator Cup, February 12-17. Here’s some of what you saw — or missed — at the Gator Cup.
Memorial skeet shoots are all about remembering and memorializing some of our greatest shooters. That’s the case with the Gil Rodler Memorial. He attended every Pennsylvania State Skeet Championship from 1954 until 2013. Further, he won more of those PA Championship titles than just about anyone. But the longevity of his year-after-year PA State Championship attendance does set him apart – 60 straight years.
But there’s more. He won national titles like the U.S. Open Doubles Championship. While Gil shot a Krieghoff Model 32 for most of his 4-gun career, he shot Doubles with a Perazzi MT6 with a Modified choke in the second barrel. He was noted for shooting the second doubles target way, way out there and smashing it. Gil was also well known as not only a serious competitor, but one with grim determination that showed on his face, his body, his every muscle. These days we’re told to relax while shooting. Rodler never shot relaxed.
September 3, 2018, was the fourth annual Gil Rodler Memorial. It takes place at the Tarentum District Sportsman’s Club near Sarver, PA. Our tradition for this shoot is always Labor Day – as well as 50 targets in the .410, 28, 20 and 12 gauge – in that order – so a one-day shoot. With the club’s three fields we are limited to 30 4-gun shooters (four flights), and this year’s shoot was filled within 24 hours of announcement – testimony to local shooters who have such respect for Gil Rodler, and to the Tarentum District Sportsmen’s Club as well, with its totally renovated clubhouse and all new Lincoln skeet, trap, 5-stand and sporting clays traps.
Well-known Pennsylvania shooter Roy Holtz won the High Overall Championship with a 195. Josh Crofutt was only one target behind for runner-up. Crofutt also won the .410. Tom Shields was 28-gauge champ, Josh Crofutt the 20-gauge, and Tim Holtz won the 12-gauge.
The club always puts out a great lunch spread, and this year’s Rodler Memorial was no exception. Kudos to kitchen help Regina Nemergut, Marie Palmer (who also shot the full program) and all the others who helped. Running the shoot was Dave Cominsky, using the NSSA skeet shoot software.
This club intends to keep the Rodler memory alive with a Labor Day shoot for years to come. The 50-target, 4-gun format has been very popular with our local shooters. We shoot the 12-gauge last to eliminate the need for cleaning barrels by tube-set shooters. We shoot 50 .410s first. Shooters bring their 28-gauge guns or tubes and shells. Consequently, immediately following the 50 .410 targets, we’re able to start the 28-gauge with no delay. Same with the 20- and 12-gauge events: shoot the 20 first and go right into the 12-gauge with no time lost. We find this an efficient way for each competitor to get in 200 targets in the day. We try to finish shoot-offs early enough that shooters can get back to their families for the rest of the Labor Day holiday.
– Contributed by Nick Sisley
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Pennsylvania Skeet Shooting Association held its 82nd annual Pennsylvania State Open Skeet Championship at the Shenecoy Sportsmen facility in McConnellstown, PA on August 24-26. The weather, facilities, targets and referees were all great. 190 participants shot at least one gun, including 37 out-of-state shooters from Delaware, Florida, Massachusetts, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia.
Alessandro Vitale, Zone 2 committeeman from MD, was open HOA (398) and HAA (497) champion. Sam Armstrong was open HOA (396) and HAA (495) runner-up. Pennsylvanians Ted Capers and Fran Kosmacki were open HOA third (395) and open HAA third (492), respectively. PA HOA champion, runner-up and third, respectively, were Capers, Kosmacki and Richard (Frenchy) Larosa; Kosmacki, Larosa and R. Dennis Lehman were PA HAA champion, runner-up and third.
The 28-gauge Prelim started the festivities on Friday morning with 48 shooters participating. Michael Zavasky posted the lone 100 and emerged as champion. Clay Gormish and Jared Shaffer shot 99s and were, respectively, runner-up and third.
117 participants shot Doubles on Friday afternoon. Armstrong and Vitale shot 99s and were open champion and runner-up, respectively, while Chris Kline’s 99 was good for open third. Kline (99), Gary Nace (98) and Lehman (98), respectively, were PA champion, runner-up and third. PA class firsts went to Kosmacki, Kenny Riddile, Gormish, Tom Hillard, David Darrough and Rege Guckert (AAA-D).
In the main event, there were 13 perfect 100s in the 12-gauge, seven in the 20, 10 in the 28 and one in the .410. PA champion, runner-up and third, respectively, were Lehman, Kline, and Ernie Avolio in the 12 (185 shooters with Michael Stasio from DE winning open champion); Capers, Lehman and Gormish in the 20 (183 shooters); Kosmacki, Zavasky and Gormish in the 28 (176 shooters with Armstrong open third); and, Peter Anderson, Capers and Paul Augustin in the .410 (171 shooters, with Vitale’s 99 taking open runner-up).
Class (PA) winners were Matthew Sanders, Frank Smithmyer, Augustin, Meghan Darrough, Rich Rothrock, Richard Teti and Jack Makdad (12-gauge AAA-E); Kosmacki, Dan Felton, Adam Vollmer, Mark Saussure, Jackson Paul and Robert Saam (20-gauge AAA-D); Tom Johnson, Pat Leyo, Ed Call, Colin Crawford, Jeff Wright and Tracey Snyder (28-gauge AAA-D), and Joe Vescovi, Matthew Sanders, William Teti, Howard Page, Paul and Bob Waite (.410 bore AAA-D).
Among Junior shooters, LaRosa, Meghan Darrough and Paul, respectively, were PA HOA champion, runner-up and third, and open champion, runner-up and third. PA Ladies HOA winners were Debra Meade, champion; Meghan Darrough, runner-up; and Linda Sanders, third. Open Lady winners were Meade, champion, Sue Huszai at runner-up and Meghan Darrough, third.
A mega-hat shoot took place on Saturday evening, starting with a hat shoot in memory of Frank Walsh. After the memorial hat shoot, seven other hats were blasted by a long line of shooters. This must have been one of the biggest hat shoots (at least by the number of shooters out there) of all time.
Colin Crawford bested 47 other shooters to win the BCDE Challenge shoot-off. The top prize was a Henry rifle donated by Ed and Theresa Call.
The 5-man team handicap championship shoot-off – free to all shooters, based on 12-gauge averages – involved 13 teams. For the second consecutive year, the winners were the North Carolina Boys: Scott Graham, Russell Bingham, Steve Timmons, Rob Pope and Chip Simmons. Each received a beautiful belt buckle.
With 33 entries in the HOA Handicap shoot-off, the winners were Capers, Kosmacki and Leyo, in order.
PA State Teams for 2017 were recognized. The PA first team included Kosmacki, Lehman, Kline, Felton and Gormish, and each received a nice wooden plaque.
A drawing between 13 first-time 4-gun shooters at the State Shoot resulted in Carl Biddle being reimbursed his 4-gun entry fees. Josh Crofutt was the winner of free entry fees to the 2018 World Skeet Championships.
The PSSA President’s Cup award for 2017 was presented to Bob and Becky Myers in recognition of their long-time support of skeet clubs and their major milestone of 1 million combined registered skeet targets at the World Shoot this year.
Many shooters had firsts at this year’s State Shoot. Shooting their first 100s were Rich Rothrock, Jack Makdad, Armand Watts and Randal Horsley in the 12; Colin Crawford in the 28; and Peter Anderson in the .410. First 75s included Tori Holtz, Joe McGarvey and Guy Barr in the 12. First 50s included Allison Shaffer and Tracey Snyder in the 28.
George Gleich shot his 225,000th registered bird during the 20-gauge event.
All Juniors and Sub-Juniors participating in this year’s State Shoot had 100% of their entry fees paid by PSSA; shells used (4 boxes for each event except the Prelim) were also provided by PSSA.
Special thanks to the many club volunteers and sponsors whose hard work and support made our event a success, and to those who contributed a total of $5,400 in added money.
– Contributed by George Gleich
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Shooters from New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida and Canada arrived at Rochester-Brooks Gun Club two weeks after the Zone 1 Championships to contest the New York State Skeet Championships.
Friday’s action kicked off with the Referee Championship, with Mark Snyder defeating Mark Holthouse in a tie of 97s. The referees swapped guns for clipboards for the Doubles event on Friday afternoon. Two perfect scores later, Craig Parsons defeated Ian Smingler on the first station of the shoot-off for champion and runner-up honors, respectively. In the shoot-off for third between Mat Kelley and W.C. Parks, Mat ascended to the podium while Charlie took AA and the non-resident championship.
Class winners in Doubles included Peter Bogdon, Victoria Ferchaw, Doug Goodman and John Yackiw, with the Junior championship won by Hunter Dickerman and the Ladies podium held by Ferchaw, Victoria Barner and Catherine Forbush, in order.
Shooters arriving on Saturday morning were happy to see clear skies and slight wind. The targets were great, and the scoreboard lit up with 100s and 99s, with a 98 down into D class. Nine perfect scores took to the shoot-off field; Ian Smingler finished in the runner-up spot, and Craig Parsons won his second title of the weekend.
George Lehr and Dess Ivanov continued to shoot for third and class AA, with Ivanov reaching the podium. Other class winners included W.C. Parks, who also captured another non-resident champion medal, Michael Asel, Dawn Smart, Scott MacIntosh and Canada’s Don Legere. Matthew Lenehan took the Junior award, with Bryan Bale taking third. Cindy Johnson’s 98 won the Ladies championship outright.
The 20-gauge championship was also contested Saturday afternoon, and again, there were nine perfect scores. In four stations, Scott Sobiegray won over runner-up Michael Ferchaw and third Colin Smingler. Class champions included Bernard Lenehan, Richard Ayers, Fritz Ochab, Scott MacIntosh and Alan Maenza, with W.C. Parks winning another non-resident champion pin. Hunter Dickerman took champion in the Junior group, and Catherine Forbush took the Ladies honors.
Saturday evening’s last shoot-off is always the 12-gauge 5-man team handicap. Every team and shooter participates, with handicaps based on the shooter’s class, total team score miss and out. Congratulations to the winners of a beautiful belt buckle: Bruce Raymond, Matthew Lenehan, Bernard Lenehan, Michael Asel and Charles Lombardo.
Sunday afternoon’s HOA race started out as a tie between Craig Parsons and Mat Kelley with 298s, but at the conclusion of the .410 event, four shooters were called to shoot off 395s. Dan Morris prevailed for Open HOA champ and non-resident champ titles. Parsons and Ivanov went two more stations before Craig won yet another NY resident HOA championship.
In the 28-gauge event, five perfect shooters were summoned to shoot-offs. Mat Kelley took the top step and Michael Cerce runner-up. Brad McRae finished third and was non-resident champ, while Dana Driscoll took AA1 and NY third. Other class winners included Richard Ayers, Donna Fusco (who also took the Ladies title), Charles Lombardo and Don Legere. Hunter Dickerman won Junior honors.
The wind increased in the afternoon, and the lone 99 in the .410, for the top step of the podium outright, was scored by Canada’s Dan Morris, with a shoot-off of 98s for NY champion, runner-up and third. In that shoot-off, seven stations into the box, Aaron Benton let a low 5 slip by, totally disappointed — until Michael Cerce missed the pair! Aaron won the NY State resident title, and Dess Ivanov finished third.
Class winners in the .410 also included Reg Hooper, Donna Fusco (also the Ladies champion), John Mutchler and Andy Nolan. Hunter Dickerman won the Junior concurrent.
As the remaining HOA ties were settled, class winners included W.C. Parks, Donna Fusco, Scott MacIntosh, Mario Mastrangelo and Don Legere. Hunter Dickerman won Junior HOA champion, and Donna Fusco took the top step of the Ladies podium. Victoria Barner and Catherine Forbush shot off for runner-up and third, finishing in that order.
The last call to the shoot-off field was for the Champ of Champs event. Three perfect scores were recorded by Michael Cerce, George Lehr and Dess Ivanov, and it was over in a station. Lehr hit the pair for what he says gives him a span from his first NY title in 1970 to 2018 for his most recent. Cerce and Ivanov took the runner-up and third positions, respectively.
Rochester-Brooks was pleased to host both the Zone I and NY State championships this summer, and we’re looking forward to bringing the U.S. Open back to the great Northeast in 2019.
– Contributed by Andrea Graham Lehr
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The 2018 New Jersey State Shoot rotated back to Joint Base, and shooters were treated to outstanding targets and terrific referees. The tournament started on Friday August 3 with the Doubles event, and Leo Nebbia’s 96 earned him his first state championship. John Zema claimed AA1, Ben Galioto A1, Jay Taylor beat out 11 shooters to win B1, non-resident Stu Slovsky C1 and Howard Mann D1.
On Saturday, the weather gods gave us a full menu, consisting of sun, thunderstorms, and wind with puffy white clouds, but none of this deterred Hall of Famer Holly Paul, Nick Pino and Jim Barnes, who all broke 97s in the 20-gauge event. All three made their way to the shoot-off field, and in the end, it came down to Paul and Barnes. After 10 stations, a tenacious Barnes won his first state title. Class winners were Ben Galioto AA1, Holly Paul A1, Bob Vrablik B1, Tony Viel C1 and Greg Khalaf D1. Non-resident Joe Attard shot a strong 97 and walked away with eight boxes of 20-gauge ammo for the day.
The weather improved slightly for Saturday afternoon’s 28-gauge event, and a determined Ricky “Bags” Bagni stepped up and shot a solid 98 to claim his seventh state title. Class winners were John Zema AA1, Dick Lukasik A1, Nick Pino B1, Bob Vrablik C1 and Ray Stas D1.
On Saturday evening, NJSSA hosted a delicious catered dinner for shooters and Joint Base staff at the Joint Base Clubhouse.
The weather improved for Sunday, and Leo Nebbia shot the only 100 straight of the weekend, claiming the 12-gauge championship and his second state title. Class winners were Ben Galioto AA1, Rick Bagni A1, Jim Barnes B1 with a strong 98, Keith Wilber C1 and Tommy Surman D1.
The last gun was the .410, and Ben Galioto’s 95 was enough to crown him champion. John Zema claimed AA1, Dick Lukasik A1, Nick Pino B1, Bruce Gordon C1 and Joe Madlinger D1.
The HOA had to be settled on the shoot-off field. Ricky Bagni and Ben Galioto were tied, and after an intense shoot-off, Galioto claimed the 2018 HOA title. This was Ben’s 12th career state title. Class winners were John Zema AA1, Leo Nebbia A1, Nick Pino B1, Keith Wilber C1, Greg Khalaf D1 and Raymond Stas E1.
Thanks to Ben Galioto, president; Nick Pino, treasurer; Russell Paul, secretary; and Eddie Amaty, chief referee, for their dedication and hard work in making this NJ State Shoot a success. Thanks also to our referees, Mark Bricker and Sophia Galioto, for doing a superb job, to our skeet administrator Kevin Dawkins and the entire Joint Base staff, and to Rob Madowsky for donating our event t-shirts. We also thank everyone who participated in this year’s NJ State Championship for their commitment to New Jersey skeet shooting.
– Contributed by Ben Galioto