The 2018 Texas State Skeet Championships were held at the National Shooting Complex June 21-24. Hot temperatures and windy conditions were the norm at this year’s tournament, but the conditions did not prevent a tremendous event from happening, thanks to the shoot staff’s hard work and tremendous support from the numerous shoot sponsors.
Shooting began Thursday with the TSSA Referee Championship where Timothy Provorse took top honors. The Doubles event, sponsored by Todd Bender, kicked off Thursday at noon. Jason Ward, Armour Strunk and Rachel Barringer (Lady Champ) claimed the top spots after a superb shoot-off of 99s. All competitors shooting the Doubles event were also automatically entered into the Briley special Lewis class event. All competitors were able to shoot off in their Lewis class, and when all the shots had been fired, five participants were proud owners of a beautiful Briley knife.
Format changes were made to the 2018 Texas State Championships to accommodate as many one-gun shooters as possible and to bring back the traditional 200-target 12-gauge event, which was last shot in 1996. To accommodate as many shooters as possible, the 20- and 28-gauge events were shot on Friday, with shoot-offs on Saturday and Sunday due to the TSSA banquet. The 200-target 12-gauge event was shot on Saturday, and the .410 championship remained for Sunday. Friday morning’s Pacific Sporting Arms 20-gauge event produced 11 perfect scores, while the Lonesome Charlie’s-sponsored 28-gauge event yielded only four. Although we competitors are eager to determine our overall, class, and concurrent places, Friday night was reserved for camaraderie and celebration at the TSSA Hall of Fame Banquet.
While the banquet is a great time to visit with old friends and make a few new ones, the highlight of the evening is honoring the new TSSA Hall of Fame inductees. This year’s inductees included Babette Burley for her great shooting accomplishments and Rocky Goodman as the Buck Stark inductee for his service to the game. Rocky is the only individual in TSSA history to be inducted into the TSSA Hall of Fame both for shooting (2006) and service. Before the conclusion of the evening, the Blaser raffle gun was awarded to Russell Stevens. With the support and assistance received from Blaser and the other great sponsors, the gun raffle, and the hard work of the shoot committee, the 2018 Texas State Skeet Championships offered an outrageous number of awards and prizes. After a nice meal, a few laughs, and some celebration, attention turned back to the 2018 championships.
Saturday morning was the start of the 200-bird 12-gauge event. A huge thank you to Greater Houston Gun Club for sponsoring this year’s 12-gauge championship. With the winds blowing and the temperatures scorching, targets were slipping by. Although conditions were tough, two competitors – John Barnes and Carter Wehrheim – survived the 12 gauge with perfect 200s. Taking a two-year break did not deter Carter from breaking them all in the big gun, or the 20 and 28 gauges, for that matter. Barnes and Wehrheim battled in the stadium field until Barnes let one slip in a ghastly full piece to take runner-up, leaving Wehrheim the champ.
Troy Behrens outlasted all tied at 199 to claim third place, while Rachel Barringer took home the Ladies title. A 12-gauge special Lewis class event, in which all competitors had a shot at winning a Beretta A400 Xcel, ran concurrently with the 12-gauge event. Just as in Doubles, five Lewis classes were spread among the fields, and five lucky winners earned a brand-new shotgun. Thank you to all the individuals and sponsors that helped make this event possible.
The 20-gauge championship would also be determined on Saturday. Wehrheim again took top honors as he outlasted George Murray and Jason Ward. Rachel Barringer continued her outstanding start to the event, finishing as Lady Champion ahead of Margaret Clement, both with perfect scores.
Once Saturday was completed, the .410 bore was left to shoot, and the 28-gauge shoot-offs remained. Colton Back, member of the Schreiner University Division 2 National Championship shooting team, captured his first state title by defeating former champions Lindsay Plesko and Bailey Glenewinkel.
Going into the .410, Carter Wehrheim held a three-target lead over the nearest competitor, but as always, the .410 would have to be completed before anyone could be crowned HOA Champion. Cameron Schuster defended his .410-bore championship from 2017 with the lone 100 in the S&B Plumbing, Inc. .410-Bore Championship. With his perfect score, Cameron took home the last championship tomahawk, which was awarded to all gun champions. Greg Van Belois and Doug Coulter rounded out the .410 podium, while Plesko earned her second Ladies championship of the weekend in front of Glenewinkel and Lauren Burge.
Although no perfect 500 was completed for the HOA Championship, Carter Wehrheim prevailed as the 2018 Texas State Skeet HOA Champion, which was sponsored by Robert Paxton of Paxton Arms. It was very fitting that the nine-time HOA winner of the Texas State Skeet Championship sponsored this year’s High Over All event. Jason Ward settled for HOA runner-up just ahead of last year’s champion, Cameron Schuster, who took third place. Kaleigh Lawson was the steadiest shooter all weekend in the Ladies concurrent, and she was named Lady HOA Champion for her efforts. Kaleigh finished one target ahead of Glenewinkel (runner-up) and Plesko (third) in the HOA event. Other notable winners and honors included Vicki Cline (Referee of the Year), Andrew Benson (Herb Gundlefeld Award winner as Junior HOA), Robert Davis (Gene Jackson Award winner for Senior Veteran HOA), and Greg Van Belois (Earl Barosso Award winner for Senior HOA).
Another coveted honor that is annually awarded at the Texas State Championships is for 5-man team awards. This year, the Fort Worth Trap and Skeet Team (Mike Schmitt, Tom Deaton, Wes Roddie, Charli Abendroth, Matthew Roberson) took home top honors in Doubles and 20 gauge. Greater Houston Gun Club took home the remainder of the awards via three different teams. Brandon Cade (2018 Texas State Shoot chairman), John Castillo, Mike Fox, Cliff Moller, and Tommy Mays captured the 28-gauge awards; Armour Strunk, Dwight Vincent, Lindsay Plesko, Pat Byrne, and John Barnes were the top team in the 12-gauge; while William Edmunds, Hunter Edmunds, George Murray, Bradley Pang and Matthew Ward finished the weekend strong with the .410 and HOA titles. Congratulations to all the 5-man team Eagle Award winners.
The 2018 Texas State Skeet Championships were such a tremendous event thanks to the hard work of the TSSA Board of Directors and shoot staff as well as the gracious support of all the sponsors. We look forward to seeing everyone at the 2019 Texas State Skeet Championships at the Dallas Gun Club.
– Contributed by Nathan Boyd