Ah, Las Vegas. Whether you know it for its nightlife, gambling or celebrity sightings, it is also the home of the Clark County Shooting Complex, a jewel of gun clubs and the newest to join the list of clubs that can host the Zone 7 Skeet Championships. The CCSC boasts 24 skeet fields and what seems to be a half-mile of RV spots. With field space galore, the Vegas Skeet Association worked hard to show that they are ready to host both small and large shoots for years to come.
Turnout was strong for 2017 Zone 7 Skeet Championships. All 13 states in Zone 7 were represented on the scoreboard. The Sub-Junior and Junior shooters in the zone showed up in full force and proved they were contenders in all guns. Of course, the wind also showed up in full force, but shooters just stepped up their game.
Arizona Sub-Junior shooter Victor Cordova topped the field of Doubles competitors with his 98. Battling it out for the next spots were Jack Bernardi, runner-up, and Doug Coulter, third, both shooting 96s. In the 12 gauge, Tim Nagel (MT) turned in the only 100 to claim the champion spot. Rob Lopez and Vegas Junior Steven Bivins came close, dropping only one target, with Lopez winning the shoot-off for runner-up. Nick Ballentine, returning 2016 HOA Champ, started making his mark with a 98 to take AAA1, as did Chad Sims, coming in from Hawaii to take AA1. Stephen Guerrero from Colorado turned in an impressive 98 down in D class.
Everyone took a short break from the trials of skeet in the wind to enjoy a Friday night banquet where Lynn Meisinger Cogdill was inducted into the Zone 7 Hall of Fame. Lynn began shooting in 1998 at her home club in Missoula, Montana. Relentless practice and her competitive nature quickly moved her not only to the top of the list of Ladies shooters but also gave her bragging rights to the 2006 Montana State HOA Championship and the 2010 28-gauge championship at the U.S. Open. Three squads of Montana shooters, along with Lynn’s family, joined us in congratulating Lynn on her induction.
Speaking of top Ladies shooters, Emily Steinbaugh came in with the lone 99 in the 20-gauge event to win the gun championship, leaving a rash of 98s to shoot it out for the other spots. Joining Emily on the White Flyer podium were Nick Ballentine, runner-up, and Victor Cordova, third. For the rest of the 98s, it was Lopez over squadmate Dan Lewis for AAA1, Sims over Washington Junior shooter Nathan Barron for AA1 and Tanner Bissell A1.
More 100s started to show up in the 28 Gauge as the winds finally decided to give us a break. Chad Sims held his ground for gun champ over two Junior shooters, followed by Bivins at runner-up and Ryan Meger from Arizona who took third. And as always, it came down to the .410. There were a few 99s already in by the time Nick Ballentine took the field. Not fazed by the fact that he needed his top game to take not only the .410 but also the High Over All, Nick put the only 100 on the board. Dave Anderson took .410 runner-up spot, and Meger came in third. When the scores were tallied, it was Ballentine as the HOA champ with a 395. Bivins, runner-up, bested Meger, third, in a battle of the 393s.
Credit for the success of the 2017 Zone 7 Skeet Championships was shared by the toils of the Vegas Skeet Association, the hard work and creativity of Theresa Bivins, who gave the social events a Vegas touch, Chief Referee Traci MacWalter and assistant Ken Bartee, along with shoot management: Zone 7 President Billy D. Williams, VP J.R. Hildebrand, Secretary/Treasurer Tim Drago, and the Zone 7 registration staff of Bob Williams, Mark Coca, Ron Shoemake and Gail Lambrecht.
– Contributed by Gail Lambecht