Saturday morning dawned clear and cold. The temperature was near freezing in Flagstaff and a sweatshirt felt pretty good. It would warm into the upper 60’s and low 70’s as the day progressed. After sight-in, we had our shooters safety meeting and course orientation. We handed out lane assignments and headed out. The course layout looked like a lazy fishhook with a few lanes in close proximity to each other, while others were 40 and 50 yards apart. The whole course encompassed about ½ mile, so we got a pretty good workout during the day.
In Hunter PCP class, Doug Timm (AZ) took the Gold medal and State Champion with a score of 73/104. Ben Spencer (AZ) took the Silver with 70/104, and Eric Halquist (AZ) took the Bronze with 45/104. Hunter Piston saw William Stevens (AZ) win Gold and State Champion.
I was paired with Carl Cawood, one of our newer club shooters who is a retired college engineering professor. Funny guy. As shooters came in contact with each other as we worked our way around the course, we would chat, Carl would tell a joke and deliver the most innocent sounding punch-line that would have us in stitches. He has a casual, relaxed air about himself and is a pretty good shooter for only just starting this past year in air gunning. We had a good time.
2016 Arizona State Field Target Championship
September 17 & 18 - Mormon Lake, AZ
The 2016 Arizona State Field Target championships is now a memory; a very good, very vivid memory. We had 31 shooters contesting 6 different classes under a brilliant blue northern Arizona sky. Thirty-six competitors signed up, but a number of them had to drop out for one reason or another. It was still a good turnout and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves immensely throughout the entire weekend.
Open PCP winners (L-R); Mike Niksch - Gold Medal
Bobby Corcorran - Silver & State Champion
Doug Miller - Bronze Medal (3rd)
Larry Piercy - Bronze Medal (4th)
Larry Piercy, club President, presenting to (L-R)
Doug Timm - Gold Medal & State Champion
Ben Spencer - Silver Medal
Eric Halquist - Bronze Medal
William Stevens was not present to receive his medals.
Freestyle class, although not recognized by AAFTA, still has a number of followers who have fun shooting in it. Steve Montgomery (AZ) won the Gold Medal and State Champion and match winner with a score of 99/104. Terry Eannetta (CA) took the Silver medal with a 90/104, and John Berger (AZ) took the Bronze with an 87/104.
Typically, we like to recognize High Visitor, High Lady, and High Senior. Mike Niksch was presented the High Visitor Award, Vipha Miller was recognized as High Lady, and Doug Miller was recognized as High Senior.
In WFTF class, Keith Knoblauch (MD) took Gold with a 79/104 while George Duganis (CA) took the Silver by only one point. Bill Corder (AZ) took the Bronze medal and State Champion with a 60/104.
A number of folks need to be recognized for assisting to make the match a great success:
Bonni, Natalie, and Lynnette for preparing and serving lunch both days. Thank you so much.
Bill Young for taking the pictures on Saturday, and Natalie and Karin for taking pictures on Sunday. I really appreciated that.
Wayne, Steve, Larry, and Bobby for setting up the courses on Thursday and Friday. That was a BIG job!
Bobby, Scott, Dick, Dewain, Steve, and Wayne for helping to take in the targets on Sunday after everyone left. If I missed anyone who helped, my apologies. Either way, the way you guys stepped forward is very gratifying.
Larry Piercy and Airguns of Arizona for your sponsorship and taking the time to refill air bottles.
To everyone who assisted a little here and a little there. These little things make a BIG difference.
To everyone who took the time to travel and participate. We hope that you had a good time. Thank you for joining us.
Next months match is the Founders Cup match, the last one of the season at Mormon Lake on October 15. Starting in November, we will be back at Ben Avery Shooting range in Phoenix for the remainder of the fall, winter, and early spring matches.
Secretary, Airgunners of Arizona Field Target Club
Larry (L) and Mark (R) presenting Lynnette and Natatlie "thank you" gifts
As we filtered back in at the end of the match, the ladies had lunch ready for us. Month’s before the match, Bonni and Natalie agreed to take care of feeding us. I found out, on Saturday morning, that Lynnette had also been recruited and although Bonni could not make it to the site, they had beef stew, and corn bread, hot dogs, salad, and peach cobbler lined up for us. I also found out that they were planning on chili for Sunday’s lunch. We don’t normally plan for lunch on Sunday, as everyone leaves right afterwards to travel home. Not this time. We were treated with the chili, homemade chocolate chip cookies, along with leftover stew and cobbler (I don’t see how that was possible) from Saturday. Thank you ladies; everything was wonderful. I particularly liked the cobbler…mmmm, mmmm, mmmm!
Bobby, Larry, Mark, Steve, and Wayne
Sunday, Day two, starting time was 9:00 am instead of 9:30 am. We found we lost a couple of shooters due to a family issue in one case, and the other shooter was called into work to cover for a shortage there. Having experienced those issues in the past myself, I am now sooooo thankful that I am retired……heh, heh, heh……
The shooters from the previous day were re-squadded and I found myself shooting with Mike Niksch today. Mike is a quiet, unassuming guy who was given free flying lessons by Mother Nature years ago and lived to tell about it. He is also the designer and manufacturer of the Thomas Rifle. He is a very talented guy and builds all of his rifles himself. He also knows how to shoot! Boy, can he shoot!
End of the trail.......What a great weekend!
WFTF Class Shooters
(L-R) Larry Piercy presenting Gold Medal, State Champion, & Match winner award to Steve Montgomery.
Silver Medalist - Terry Eannetta
Bronze Medalist - John Berger
(L-R) Larry PIercy presenting High Visitor Award to Mike Niksch, High Senior Award to Doug Miller, and High Lady Award to Vipha Miller
Feeling full and sitting back, fat ‘n happy, we commenced with our annual raffle. A word of explanation here is in order. The club does not own its own property; therefore we have to lease this parcel of land from the USDA, forestry department. We do the same when we shoot at Ben Avery range in Phoenix by paying a per shooter/per day fee. Additionally we are required to provide liability insurance in order to use both of these sites. None of this is cheap. The raffle ticket proceeds goes a long way in providing us the funds to do this, as well as purchase and maintain targets, rent the porta-pottie and a multitude of other items that keeps the club operating.
The shooters were matched up by geographical location and experience; a local club member was paired with an out-of-state shooter, and an experienced shooter with a newer shooter. These were switched on the second day and is intended to keep the shooting classes separated. We had the 26 lanes split into two courses of 13 lanes; a white course and a red course, with every other lane being one or the other. Each lane had something different to offer. One day you shot the white course, and then the next day you shot the red course.
Lynnette, Robin, Natalie, and Karin roaming around and checking out the action on the course.
Open Piston; Mark Kauffman (R)
Gold Medal & State Champion
Here are the scores;
With the shoot off completed, we proceeded with our awards ceremony. In Open PCP, Mike Niksch (CO) was awarded the Gold with Bobby Corcorran (AZ) garnering the Silver. Doug Miller (CA) took third with a 94/104 and Larry Piercy took fourth with an 89/104. Bobby Corcorran also took Open PCP State Champion as highest scoring state resident. In Open Piston class, Mark Kauffman (AZ) took first place and State Champion.
We are extremely thankful to Airguns of Arizona for their continued sponsorship by providing raffle items to us. This year is no different as they provided 4 rifles, 2 pistols, scope mounts, scopes, bum bag, cleaning equipment and a multitude of bb’s and pellets to the tune of a bit over $2000. This from Primal Gun Gear, Brocock, Colt, Walther, Webley, Umarex, H&N, Daystate, Hawke, AOA, Napier, Remington, Crosman and Sheridan. In addition to that, the PAD (Precision Airgun Distribution) van was on site, with Larry refilling air tanks, free of charge. There is no way that we can adequately thank Airguns of Arizona for everything that they do for us. If you were one of the fortunate ones to win a raffle prize, please let them know about it. I know they would appreciate hearing from you.
After the raffle was finished, and groups of shooters availed themselves to Steve’s side shoots (these guys love their BB guns. They are nothing but a bunch of overgrown kids!), a couple of us spent the next few hours addressing a concern about a supposed safety issue on the shooting lanes at the pit. We added some shooting line “enhancements” to satisfy the concerns about getting too close to the edge at the firing line. As the sun was setting from day one, we sat back with a satisfied smile and the knowledge that everyone was having a good time.
Mark Kauffman, Club Secretary (R), and Larry PIercy, Club President (L), flank WFTF Bronze Medalist & State Champion, Bill Corder.
Not present were Keith Knoblauch (Gold)
and George Duganis (Silver)
Airgunners of Arizona
Field Target Club
The second day’s worth of shooting now completed, we reconvened in the lunch line while the scores were being tallied, but wait! We had a tie in Open PCP between Bobby Corcorran and Mike Niksch, each with a 95/104. So, what did they do? They ate lunch! Hey, we’re talking priorities here.
After lunch, a Rhino Super Popper target was set at about 30 yards with the faceplate set to the ½” hole size. Bobby and Mike set up and shot two shots each at the target, with Bobby shooting first. After these two shots they were still tied. So, the faceplate hole size was reset to the 3/8” hole, and two more shots from each guy were taken. Same result; they were both tied. The faceplate was now reduced once more to the ¼” setting. Bobby fired off his two shots resulting in two misses. Mike set up for his first shot, and drilled it! The peanut gallery was much impressed with the clinic that the two big dogs put on. These are always fun to watch.
That being said, it did not seem to bother Mike one iota! He would get into position, range the target two or three times, consult his charts, settle behind the trigger, and drop the targets, one right after another. It was a real pleasure shooting with him.
I should state, at this point, that the winds were negligible IF you were looking for them. The mirage was evident each day and I found myself holding into whatever “breeze” was present. I found myself holding at 9:00 only to get a split or worse at 3:00, and vice versa. I am still learning how much to hold off for a 12 fpe gun. The Troyer factor was 33.31 for the white course and 31.97 for the red course.
Sight in range
Freestyle Class Shooters
If you are looking for nice flat shooting, manicured golf course-like grass carpets, and easy access, this isn’t it. The area is reasonably flat, but strewn with volcanic rock from when the volcano, that is now the San Francisco Peaks, blew its’ top thousands of years ago. The area is thick with Ponderosa and ridgepole pines, juniper, aspen, and scrub oak. Almost all of the target lanes and the sight-in range needed to be worked over with a weed whacker to clear the tall grass and abundant wild flowers. (Don’t worry; they grow back quickly) In addition, there are a lot of dead tree stumps and trunks, both standing and laying down, and tree branches that are the result of past storm damage and forest fires. We use all of this and then some when positioning targets. The biggest challenge is getting a clear line of sight from firing line to target. Good stuff!
The match preparation actually started on Thursday and continued into Friday for some of us. Steve, Wayne, Larry, Bobby and I started laying out the 26 shooting lanes and positioning targets to make sure we qualified as a grand prix match per the current AAFTA guidelines. Some of the design was accomplished the week following our August shoot, when Larry and I walked the entire area and plotted out lane locations on paper. We have a lot of options available to us and used as many of them as we could. We had some pretty steep target angles down into “the pit” (a stone quarry), wide open rolling grassy areas, and some really tight wooded areas in which to position targets.