|IHMSA STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS A SUCCESS|
(Held AUGUST 15th THROUGH 20, 2000)
Our first full course IHMSA sanctioned state championships and the last one of this century was an overwhelming success by all accounts. Many, many thanks go out to all that helped make it happen.
To all those that donated not only much needed materials and equipment, but also all their time over this past year. All those nights and weekends, rain or shine that it took to build the silhouette range into what it is today, a first class shooting facility worthy to host a sanctioned state championship match. There were many, many compliments from competitors from all over the state, and guest shooters from Canada that came here for the first time, were very impressed. Everyone involved deserves a congratulation. Thanks to IHMSA state director Jeff Hunt and the state CO-directors that had faith in us and accepted our bid to host this great event, based upon our word that we would have the needed improvements made, and it was close too. Last minute range work was still being done the night before the big day.
The board of directors at WWSC deserves credit also for appropriating the needed funds to put on an event of this caliber. There was some unexpected flood damage to the club and equipment. Much needed skeet machines had to be replaced,and broken pumps needing repair, depleted much of the clubs operating funds, so it was pretty tight for awhile.
Now, on to the match. There were over 50 shooters, including 5 women, with 185 guns registered for the different events. The competition was fierce, with many perfect scores fired, which forced tie-breaking shutoffs. Our own DR. Jeff Smith, who fired a perfect 60, with 5 shootoffs in big bore(congratulations) with his thompson contender in 7 tcu, and myself in field pistol (not a perfect score) made it to the shootoffs in our own prospective categories and we each tied again and had to do a double shootoff. This was done at the end of the last day of shooting and the pressure was on. Jeff was shooting against international shooter Larry Clark, who consistently shoots perfect scores.He came out a couple shootoffs short. Maybe it was Larry's many years of experience in being in those situations or Jeff being a tad tired after working his butt off all week and the fatigue was catching up to him.Larry look out next season. My excuse is, my family, along with all the other shooters were watching. Well they watched me give it a good try . Those itty bitty, tiny hummingbirds that you could hardly see, and were hidden by the late afternoon shadows and seemed to disappear just when you get sighted in etc. etc. got the best of me. Disappointed? Maybe a little, but it sure was an exciting finale. By the way, My brother Dan Larabel took top honors in that event.That's what happens when you introduce family members to the sport, they end up beating you. Nothing like a little family rivalry, I won't hold it against you. Maybe I shouldn't have let him spot for me, hmmm. He also ran the control shack, keeping the event running on schedule, operating the command sequences and tabulating the daily and final standings. Another West Walker charter member, Dave Freas took home first place awards in 22 and field pistol for his class. His son Bill also took home awards . Associate members Rich and wife, Sandy Vaughn, Chris Hackett, Dave and wife, Michelle Krysiak also took home awards. John Pomroy of royal oak found out we have the toughest rams in the midwest. Just prior to shooting, he was telling everyone he had never rung a ram with his custom made freedom arms revolver in 357 magnum, if I hit it , it goes down. Well, he hit one and it didn't fall. He couldn't believe it, so I took him down range to show him that the ram was set properly on the stand. It was . He took a picture of it as a memento and I understand he plans to call it the toughest ram in the midwest and put it on great lakes silhouette web page .Put more powder in next time John.
Thanks go to all the shooting supply companies and sporting goods stores from around the country that donated merchandise and raffle items for the competitors. There were a lot of nice supplies and gift certificates given to everyone. Its nice to know these companies support the shooting sports, and gun clubs Although nearly every sporting goods and gun shop in the Grand Rapids and surrounding area was also sent a pleasant request letter asking for a donation of anything, old stuff, clearance items or just an ad banner, only two companies came through. Mc sports, care of Greg Doxstater donated all the bags for the goodies and a banner, Dan Hankinson, of Dans Sport and Ammo donated a lot of bullets, and reloading supplies. Please remember the businesses that donated your prize merchandise when you are getting ready for next season, or are thinking of buying any type of sporting gear.
Each morning was started off by a hearty breakfast for all, prepared by Brenda Sobel and Mark Thue.
Daily lunch specials were also served up by Rady Delgado, Larry Belgraph, Brenda, and Chuck Tenbrink. John Sobel fired up the grill on Saturday and made some killer burgers for the hungry masses. At times the dining area was packed. Everyone was grateful hot food and cold beverages were available. Speaking of food, the awards banquet Sat. night was a meal everyone there will remember. Joe Klocko and his mom and sister held nothing back when they served up that feast. It was reminiscent of a good old fashion Polish wedding reception banquet. Many of you west siders may have had their food at your wedding reception, because they have been doing them for generations and we were lucky to have them come out of retirement to give us a real treat. No one was disappointed or left hungry that night. One look at Joe and you know he ate very well growing up in that family.
We only had one bad day of weather. When it started raining pretty hard, Rick Heyt made a quick run to the hardware store and lumberyard and with a little help from shooters from the other clubs, a shelter was quickly erected to keep their gear and themselves dry. Afterwards the shelter provided welcome relief from the hot sun . Deb Heyt and her cast of red-hot target setters were kept busy and hopping all week long. They included her grandson Brian, Chuck Tenbrinks daughter Chris, Jeff Smith's daughters, Lauren and Lindsay and Kirk Mcdonald , the seasoned veteran target setter from Barry County Sportsman's Club. These kids did an outstanding job all week. Anyone who thinks that is a easy task, just come out and try doing it all day four days in a row, and see how your back feels.The big bore rams weigh 53 pounds each, there are fifteen of them needing to be set back up every twenty minutes from 9am till 5pm. In all, 240 steel targets had to be set each twenty-minute interval .They deserved every dollar and more in the tips they worked for. Chris, Jeff's wife did an excellent job doing registrations, coordinating the shooting times, selling raffle tickets and hats and shirts along with Donna Hunt, who was a godsend. All these volunteers were desperately needed and for their help I am deeply grateful.
I cant say enough about Co-match directors Jeff , Dave, Rick, Joe and Dan for all the work they did and for not stringing me up behind the 200 meter berm for talking them into taking on this big task. Now that the range is pretty much complete, how about us doing a regional, or a Midwest invitational? C'mon guys, we can't stop now.
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