The 2022 Ohio Cup was held in its usual place, Mad River Sportsman’s Club, outside of Bellefontaine, Ohio, and on its usual date, Father’s Day, but that’s where the similarities end. This tournament has always been challenging. The terrain is incredible. The rolling hills and the deceptive backgrounds have historically produced lower scores. It can be very tricky to read the targets correctly.
But participation has fallen off over the years, and this year’s tournament sadly only had 82 shooters present. There was a time when this was arguably one of the premier events in Ohio; if you weren’t signed up for it by the end of February, you weren’t getting in.
A number of dynamics go into the making of a successful club – great targets, price, aesthetics, customer service, housekeeping and more. Neglecting any one of these things can be the death knell for a club. But maybe, while you are boycotting a place, it is actually growing and learning from its mistakes. That seems to be the case for club manager Tony Stratton. When we talked about this year’s tournament, I told him I thought these were the best targets he’s ever thrown. It was crazy hard, but every bird was hittable and fair. You just had to have a solid plan and execute it with precision.
Arthur Ansley won this one with a 90. That was a phenomenal score for this course. There were only two other shooters in the 80’s, yet no one complained about the targets. Tony said if he had thrown this kind of targets a few years back, everyone would have grumbled. But he’s seen how the game has changed and decided to step up and compete with the other top clubs in Ohio. He added a 50-bird AFS game this year as well. It, too, was well thought out and provided another opportunity for shooters to challenge themselves.
If you haven’t shot the Ohio Cup for a while, maybe consider trying it again next year. You might just be surprised to find there are a few more target presentations you can still learn from.
– Contributed by Sandy Welti