By J. Makiver
There are many well managed skeet tournaments hosted each year by clubs across the country that throw beautiful targets over fabulous backgrounds. While it is impossible to list all of them, below are a few of them that are worth consideration in 2017.
Tuscan Trap & Skeet, Tuscan, AZ, www.tuscantrapandskeet.com, Old Pueblo Open, March 3-5th. The Old Pueblo is entering its 41st year and this year there will be over $5,000 in added money paid back and $15 per entry to class, including $600 that is awarded in a special handicapped event to six qualifying Junior & Sub Juniors shooters.
The Old Pueblo has historically been part of the three link ‘Winter Chain’ that includes the Comstock (Clark County Shooting Complex, Las Vegas, February 24-26) and the Copper State Open (Ben Avery Clay Target Center, Phoenix, AZ, March 10-12). These
three tournaments are perfect for snowbirds and others looking to escape the cold February/March winter doldrums and visit the southwest to bask in sunny and warm temperatures with flat terrain and endless blue skies. In the week days preceding the Old Pueblo, please hurry and register for the four gun ‘Old Pueblo Mid-Week.” The Old Pueblo begins on Friday with their traditional 100 bird 28ga preliminary event followed by Doubles, with the remaining four guns over the weekend.
First time shooters that post a 100 in a registered skeet event at Tuscan Trap & Skeet, will receive an once-in-a-lifetime sterling silver Thunderbird Pin. These unique pins are highly sought after and are coveted for their beauty and craftsmanship. Moreover, Cliff Moller from Briley Manufacturing, last year donated five stunning sterling silver money clips that are also once-in-a-lifetime awards presented to the Old Pueblo’s four gun champs and HOA CH, and there will be five more looking for homes in 2017. “The Old Pueblo has been blessed to have several significant benefactors that support the shoot,” observed Larry Blount, Skeet Chairman. “These include Briley, White Flyer, John Waters, some local businesses and a couple of anonymous club members who together with John
Waters do an outstanding job of promoting our junior shooters.
The Tuscan International Airport is less than 15 minutes from the club and there are many wonderful hotels and restaurants nearby, including two casinos. The Tuscan Skeet Committee hosts the traditional Cowboy Steak dinner on Saturday night and wonderful hors d’oeuvres on Friday evening. The Copper State Open, at the Ben Avery Target Center is just 20 minutes outside Phoenix, will also have $5,000 in added money which makes these two back to back shoots paramount on the wish list for 2017!
Greater Houston Gun Club, Houston, TX, www.greaterhoustongunclub.com, Briley Blue Goose. The Blue Goose is held over Memorial Day Weekend and, “the only way to describe it is fun, fun, fun,” according to Cliff Moller, Director of Manufacturing at Briley. The club offers 10 skeet fields and their two signature tournaments are the Blue Goose and the Best of Texas. There are many activities that go on at the Goose each year for shooters and non-shooters. This includes the ‘Jack Pot HOA’ which is a handicapped HOA event that includes both the Blue Goose and the Best of Texas. Shooters receive an HOA handicap based on class and if no one posts a 400×400 the pot carries over. There was no winner in 2016 so the 2017 pot is at $3,000.
Each year a new Event 6 theme is selected and last year’s event was called ‘Practical Skeet.’ Participants shot three rounds of 24 from stations one through six: high, low and a pair. The shooter’s score and the time it took them to shoot was recorded and a time:target ratio was established. CH & RU split 60/40. There is also a “mountain of door prizes,” according to club manager Kevin Dougherty, as well as their famous Alaskan King Crab Leg dinner and Calcutta on Saturday night, as well as the Sunday night Jumbo Shrimp meal. The Blue Goose is the signature shoot of Briley Manufacturing, Inc., and there’s over $8,000 in added money contributed. The club has an incredible staff of caring, dedicated and devoted members that are determined to make the Blue Goose the best shoot in the country. The NASA Space Center is a must see visit and only a short drive from the club. Here you can visit the Star Ship Galley, the NASA Tram Tour, the Astronaut Gallery and Independence Plaza.
Conservation Park of Virginia, Charles City, VA, www.conservationparkva.org, Elite Classic (formerly the Kolar Elite). Conservation Park’s 12 skeet fields had been home to the magnificent Great Eastern for many years and now thanks to Elite Shotguns, the Elite Classic in 2017 will be held on Father’s Day weekend in June. You can download the shoot details, schedule and registration at http://elite-shotguns.com/event/elite-classic. This is a top 15 national shoot at one of the finest shooting facilities in the country. “Fabulous targets on a string, flat landscape with blue sky as far as the eyes can see,” said shoot manager Howie Altman.
The large vand air-conditioned 3300 sq. ft. club house, nestled within the Park’s vast 1500 acres, hosts a tremendous Saturday night chicken and ribs dinner free to shooters with an open bar and on Friday evening a delicious buffet style meal. This year the concurrent events will be free with an optional purse and will rank extremely high in points due to the shoot’s high national ranking. There’s room for 300 shooters and camping for 50 RV’s. In 2017 the shoot will have $12,000 of added money, and with a return of $15.00 per entry to class, this will be an extremely lucrative tournament. The shoot will also be holding their annual handicapped BCDE HOA Event with added money to the winners. And don’t miss Vendor’s Row, second only National’s, with manufacturers, gunsmith’s and Al Ange’s fabulous leather pouches, belts and wallets.
The Richmond airport is only a short drive from the club, and there are many wonderful restaurants and hotels nearby, including the shoot hotel with negotiated room rates for shooters. When you’re not shooting in Richmond please take advantage of some of the many activities not far from the club as this is one of the richest cultural areas in the country. Drive onto the Colonial Parkway and visit the historic triangle of Virginia: Jamestown, Yorktown and Colonial Williamsburg. Williamsburg, Virginia’s colonial-era capitol established in 1699, sits on 300 acres and is a living history museum. Costumed employees are everywhere dressed in 17th and 18th century period garb. Nearby is Busch Gardens Theme Park and in downtown Richmond don’t miss the American Civil War Museum, the Valentine Museum, or the highly regarded Richmond Art Museum.
Hartford Gun Club, East Granby, CT, www.hartfordgunclub.com, Briley 500 Open. For the past 15 years Briley has supported this premier 5-gun New England tournament over the fourth of July weekend, and along with other sponsors including John Waters, Dr. Richard Colo and several local businesses it’s always a special event. “The Hartford Gun Club is nestled deep in the beautiful Connecticut River Valley, yet it’s only 10 minutes away from Bradley Airport,” stated Skeet Chairman Regis Koontz. Hartford is known for their fabulous targets, great referees and incredible competition. Participants travel to compete at Hartford from Nova Scotia to Florida and every state in between. Their Saturday night roast beef dinner is their signature meal and you’ll be challenged to finish
Less than 20 minutes from the club are the Wadsworth Athenaeum and the spectacular New England Air Museum. The Wadsworth is known for their stunning collections of French & American Impressionist works, European Baroque, Hudson River School paintings and prime examples of early American furniture. The Air Museum has three hangars of 26 helicopters 66 wonderful antique planes including an unbelievably restored B-29 built during the early 1940’s. The Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods casinos are Las Vegas style casino’s only an hour from the club.
Stockton Trap & Skeet, Stockton, CA, www.stocktontrapandskeetclub.com, the Western Open. One of the premier tournaments in the country, the Western Open often has a waiting list because “we offer the best shooter experience, the best targets and the best background to be found anywhere,” according to office manager Ginny Fazer. Scheduled for July 13-16, the Western will offer over $7,000 in added money including $1,000 to the HOA CH. Moreover, there will be an additional $2,500 added to their Western Mini event on Thursday, which includes 50 28 gauge, 50 .410 and 100 Doubles.
Many wonderful scores are shot each year at Stockton and one year there were four 4×4’s and one 5×5. “Wayne and Todd went to 14th boxes in a shoot-off one year,” said Ginny. “I also recall Wayne telling me that if Stockton had five major tournaments each year that he would attend all of them, as our background is always blue sky.” The secret to Stockton’s success is the amazing team of volunteers they have on the skeet committee. They work hard soliciting added money from local businesses and club members, and they always serve plenty of food to eat for the shooters. “The Saturday night buffet spread last year was incredible,” said participant Tim Short who flew in from Boston. “The crab, the ribs and pulled pork, the side dishes and the desserts were just like you would find in a five star restaurant.”
Lodi, CA is only thirty miles north of Sacramento and you don’t want to miss spending some time there visiting its wonderful sites. It is home to more than eighty wineries, several museums, and quaint downtown shopping with many local art galleries,
restaurants and hotels.
Detroit Gun Club, Walled Lake, MI, www.detroitgunclub.org , Kasle Family Charity Open. The Kasle shoot is a five gun shoot widely perceived by many shooters as being one of the most fun N.S.S.A. shoots of the year. Usually the week following the U.S. Open is September, the Kasle shoot offers participants an equal chance to qualify for the Kasle Cup Challenge, which is shoot-off on Saturday night.
The Kasle Cup is an event 6 preliminary .410 event which precedes the Doubles on Friday. Only the ten highest scores (based on 75 targets) will qualify for the Saturday night shoot-off and there’s on average $3000.00 of added money that is paid out to all ten places, as well as a crystal or silver bowl to the winner. The final ten shooters also must dress in club provided costume based on the theme chosen that year by Scotty, the club manager. In 2016 the costumes were based on the KISS rock band, and previous years had themes from NASCAR, West Side Story, Dr. Seuss, AFC/NFC and even Cheech & Chong. “I’ve been shooting the Kasle shoot for close to fifteen years now, and every shooter should experience this memorable shoot at least once,” said World Champion Mark Vaillancourt.
In addition to three major casino’s in downtown Detroit, visitors must visit Henry
Ford’s Greenfield Village and experience the Henry Ford Museum, the seven historic
districts which covers 80 acres including a firearms museum, and experience a ride in a
vintage Model T.