Two shoots were scheduled for the Labor Day weekend at Piedmont Sportsman Club (Orange, VA) – the Bill Twyman Open, a 500-target marathon of 28-gauge targets, and the Labor Day Open, with all guns and Doubles. The two shoots were being run in parallel. Three brave souls were willing to attempt to establish the first new World Record in the 500-target 28-gauge event. (See Clay Target Nation, February 2017, bit.ly/CTN0217-10).
Having shot the entire Labor Day Open on one day, Fred Wood and Jason Armstrong were joined by Jeff Bond on Saturday morning to begin the 28-gauge marathon of 300 targets on Saturday and the final 200 on Sunday. With a forecast for the weekend indicating nothing but hot and humid, it was going to be a challenge.
So at 0900 on Saturday morning, the marathon began, with Jeff Bond leading, followed by Jason Armstrong and Fred Wood as tailgunner. The three easily finished each flight in less than an hour, and after the first 100 targets, Jeff Bond led by three targets. After some water and cooling off, the three approached the field again for next set of 100 targets, but by now the sun had burned off the morning dew and the temperature was rising, the humidity was high and the sweat never evaporated. The next 200 targets proved difficult for all, but Fred Wood stayed focused and was able to post one round of 99. By the end of the day and the first 300 targets, Fred Wood was in the lead by two targets.
Piedmont hosted a fine dinner Saturday evening and even better camaraderie, as everyone told stories of prior skeet events, remembered those shooters who are no longer with us and shared their plans for future activities.
All three again met up for the last 200 targets on Sunday with a forecast of even more of the same hot and humid conditions. The fourth 100 targets started with all three men posting a perfect first round of 25; as it turned out, that was the only time that all three did so. When the sun came out in full force and the dew steamed off the grass, the glasses would fog up – usually just before a target was called for. By the end of the 400th target, Fred and Jeff were again tied, after Jeff posted a 99 to match Fred’s 99 from the day before.
The three took to the field to shoot their last set of 100 28-gauge targets. But with the heat and humidity and mental pressure all rising, Jeff lost the first bird out. As the rounds progressed, Fred would lead and then Jeff would lead and then they would be tied again. As the squad battled around the field, the crowd of spectators began to grow and focused their attention on Fred and Jeff, but referee Ronnie Dodson maintained his cool composure the entire time. Spectators gathered and the crowd grew, wondering which of the three men would establish a World Record. Finally, scores were tallied and double-checked, it turned out that Fred Wood and Jeff Bond together set the World Record and would be recognized as co-holders, having tied with a score of 484X500.
But only one could be declared champion of the Bill Twyman Open, and after a very long and grueling set of doubles, Jeff Bond was declared champ, Fred Wood was runner-up and Jason Armstrong third (with a 467 x 500).
– Contributed by Ronald Dodson