Victor Rod and Gun Club (New York) hosted the JTH Agency Classic June 9-11. It marked the 14th consecutive year that John and Elizabeth Hessney, owners of the JTH Agency, sponsored this Doubles and four-gun event and the 29th anniversary of this registered skeet tournament. Shooters arrived at the Victor Rod and Gun Club from western and central New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Canada. The shooters saw first-hand how the months of preparation and numerous capital improvements provided a first class-shooting venue for the “Biggest Little Shoot in New York State.”
The JTH Agency Classic started with the Doubles competition on Friday afternoon with 40 shooters taking to the fields under clear skies and a slight breeze. Canadian Doubles champ Dan Morris let one bird escape, but his 99 was enough to win without a shoot-off. Both Steve Wood and Dean Herzberg took their 98s to a shoot-off to determine the Doubles runner-up. In a lengthy shoot-off, Wood prevailed, with Herzberg becoming the A1 class champ. Other Doubles winners were Don Lewandoski (AA), Ed Freedman (B), Brian Quealy (C), and Victor Stirpe (D).
The spring weather in western New York brought historic amounts of rainfall. Saturday’s weather did break with a threat of a shower, but fortunately all the showers passed around the club, and the day turned into a warm, breezy summer day. A total of 49 shooters took the field for Saturday morning’s .410 bore event. Ian Smingler bagged 98 targets to best the field and claim the .410 bore champ spot. The balance of the .410 field of winners were Des Ivanov (AA), Mat Kelley (A), Ed Call (B), John Mutchler (C), and Al Morris (D).
The 20-gauge event concluded the shooting on Saturday afternoon. Five shooters were perfect in crushing 100 targets. After a spirited shoot-off, Canadian Dean Herzerg won the 20-gauge championship, with junior shooter Hunter Dickerman close behind as the runner-up. The balance of the class winners were Joe Strazzeri (AA), Justin Aldrich (A), John Mutchler (B), Michael Cawley (C), and Al Morris (D).
Again this year, shooter Randy Cook generously donated $300 in added money for a special 20-gauge handicapped event for B-C-D-class shooters. Junior shooter Michael Cawley had the top handicap score and won the first-place money, with John Mutchler and Al Morris splitting the runner-up cash prize.
Clear skies and warm temperatures greeted the 50 shooters for Sunday’s lead-off 28-gauge event and closing 12-gauge event. The high scores continued with three 100s and two 99s. In a three-way shoot-off, Ian Smingler bested Dennis Lehman, runner-up, and Mat Kelley to take 28-gauge champ honors. Mat Kelley finished the event as the AA class winner. Other winners included Justin Aldrich (A), Dave Eckert (B), Mark Snyder (C), and Jim Fox (D).
On Sunday afternoon, Ian Smingler, Mat Kelley, and Steve Wood all posted 100s in the 12-gauge event. In a shoot-off lasting into the third box, Ian Smingler emerged as the 12-gauge winner. Kelley took runner-up honors with Wood becoming the AA class champ. Other 12-gauge winners were Colin Smingler (A), Hunter Dickerman (B), Jim Johnson (C), Michael Cawley (D), and Al Morris (E).
The HOA champ was decided without the need for a shoot-off. Ian Smingler dropped only two targets to register the top score of 398. Mat Kelley was three targets behind to finish as HOA runner-up. Other HOA honors went to Ivanov (AA), Joe Strazzeri (A), Hunter Dickerman (B), John Mutchler (C), and Al Morris (D).
For the sixth year, the HOA competition featured the added handicapped JTH Agency Classic HOA Challenge. All four-gun shooters were automatically entered to win premium prizes for the event. Joe Strazzeri won this year’s HOA Challenge event and took home a certificate for a full set of Briley matched-weight tubes. Al Morris claimed the second-place prize of a premium Perazzi gun case. The third-place prize of a Beretta gun case was earned by Ian Smingler. Congrats to all winners of this special event and thanks to John Hessney for the donations of these fine prizes, in addition to the added money for the shoot.
The JTH Agency Classic is a source of pride for the members of the Victor Rod and Gun Club. The club is fortunate to have a group of such dedicated volunteers who devote countless hours to making this shoot the best it can be. We appreciate that the shooters keep this shoot on their shoot calendar and return each year.
Special thanks to shoot chairman Andy Nolan, along with many volunteers. Thanks also to chief referee Dan Caryl and his great crew of fine referees. Many thanks to the advertisers in our excellent shoot program and to shoot sponsors John and Elizabeth Hessney for their support and generosity.
Visit victorgunclub.com to see photos from the shoot.
– Contributed by by Wes Bailey
Click on the photo to enlarge it.