Aah, September! When the nights are cool and the days are warm and sunny! The Kasle Family Charity Open held September 16-18 at the Detroit Gun Club was blessed with blue skies and very little wind. Over 80 competitors, with a number of first-timers and some friends from abroad, were 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, plus the high Lady, participate in a themed shoot-off Saturday night. Two 75s, six 74s and the high Lady automatically qualified for the finals, while 10 73s had a shoot-in for the remaining two spots, setting the stage for the 11 shooters to compete for the coveted crystal bowl.
DOUBLES. Given the great conditions, surprisingly, there were no perfect scores; however, 10 99s shot off, settling everything through B class. Cody Sergeant missed on the last pair for third, while it took going in to the third box for Mark Vaillancourt to emerge the winner over Des Ivanov. Class winners with their 99s were David Ballerini (AAA), Brent Edwards (AA), Charlie Parks (A) and Crystal Stoddard (B and Lady champ). Jim Gingrich (C) and Theresa Buonocore (D) won their classes outright.
12- and 20-GAUGE – Saturday morning’s conditions were severe clear, quickly warming up into 70s and no wind. Not surprisingly, 15 100s were posted in the 12-gauge and nine perfect scores in the 20-gauge. Add to that the plethora of 99s (14 in each event), and it’s a wonder there weren’t more 100 straights. Three shooters made it through the first box. The second time on 4 coming back, David Ballerini let the high bird get by unscathed, settling for third. On the next station, Brent Edwards missed low 3 and Alessandro Vitale hit his pair for the championship. 100s by Bruce Christian (AAA), Ed Smith (AA) and Jason Johnson (A) put them at that top of their classes, with Diana Riddle, Lady Champion. Mike Suwinski (B) and Jim Rogers (C) won their classes outright with 99s, as did Theresa Buonocore (E), and Jenna Tenore won D class in a shoot-off. Diana Riddle was Lady champ.
In the 20-gauge event, the 100-straights took the field with Craig Parsons the victor over Charlie Parks, one station shy of the box. Cody Sergeant was third, Bryan Rogers AAA1, Dennis Lehman AA1 and John Clark A1 with their 100s. Larry Israel (B), Greg Buonocore (C) and John Tucker (D) won their classes outright, with Crystal Stoddard repeating as Lady champ. With two events in the books, four shooters were perfect and another 15 down only one or two targets.
KASLE CUP. Twenty-two 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, Wayne-o’s World (based on the Saturday Night Live skit and subsequent movie) in honor of the late, great Wayne Mayes, and last year’s theme of Gomer Pyle, USMC, a tribute to Spike Walker, who had recently passed away and had the nickname Sergeant Carter. This year’s theme was American Ninja Warrior, featuring a variety of obstacles the shooters had to confront. The show started with a spectacular fireworks display. The contestants were announced by the emcees, Billy Ray Suggs and Mike Kremski. The banner hanging below the announcer’s booth read “Bigger Obstacles – Tougher Contestants,” but it was quickly pointed out that was a misprint and should have read “Bigger Contestants – Tougher Obstacles.” In years past, the competition was skeet doubles on stations 3, 4 and 5, shooting flash targets, with music playing and the crowd heckling, making for quite a spectacle. This year, however, was kicked up a notch by having to shoot a variety of sporting clays targets. Rarely has the shoot-off gone more than a round, which is understandable given all the commotion, but the new format provided more excitement and shooting, and a bigger challenge. When the smoke finally cleared, Bruce Christian was the winner of the coveted crystal bowl – his second!
28 GAUGE and .410 BORE. Sunday’s conditions were a little cooler than Saturday’s; the dreaded white puffies usually make an appearance for the .410 event, but they failed to show. Ten shooters posted 100s in the 28-gauge event, and it quickly got down to two, with Cody Sergeant taking third. Andy Peter prevailed over Mark Vaillancourt for the championship. Bryan Rogers (AAA), Owen Knight (AA) and John Clark (A) finished at the top of their classes with 100s; Pat Wusthoff won his shoot-off for B1; and Gary Trilli (C) and John Tucker (D), won their classes outright. Crystal Stoddard was again Lady champ.
The .410 bore saw three perfect scores in the afternoon, but it took little more than a handful of stations to sort it all out. Ballerini was the Champion, followed by Owen Knight, runner-up, and Ed Smith, third. Shoot-offs were needed to settle AAA, AA and C classes, with Fred Tschantz, Dess Ivanov and Bill Brown the respective winners. David Duncan (A), Paul Johnston (B) and John Tucker (D) were at the top of their classes. Trish Magyar was Lady champ.
HIGH OVER ALL. In the High Over All race, after three events Cody Sergeant was straight, with five shooters down two targets, and another five down just three or four targets. So, once again, it would all come down to the baby bore. When the final shot was fired in the .410, Ed Smith was on top with a 398 – that’s what running 100 in the .410 can do for you! – with three tied at 397. David Ballerini missed first, settling for AAA1, then Cody Sergeant missed, handing the runner-up spot on the podium to Bruce Christian. Steve Wood (AA), Steve Patke (A), Greg Buonocore (C), Andrea Lehr (D) and Theresa Buonocore (E) stood at the top of their classes, with Larry Israel (B) winning his shoot-off for top class honors. Crystal Stoddard was Lady Champion.
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! Once again, everyone – shooters and spectators, alike – had “Too Much Fun!” 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 waitresses Jenny and Carol, made sure that no one went hungry or thirsty; and our shoot staff of Debbi Perry and Debbie Behnke 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 7-9 and the Kasle Family Charity Open, September 15-17. Watch for our ads in Target Talk or go to MichiganSkeet.com. Get your registration in early so you, too, can have “Too Much Fun” at Detroit Gun Club.
– Contributed by Trish Magyar