The 2013 Northeast Regional Field Target Championship (NRFTC), hosted by Crosman Corporation, concluded with international teams from Venezuela and Canada competing alongside Team USA. Over one hundred competitors participated in the two-day airgun match, single day air pistol match and Quigley Bucket Challenge. “What began as a helping hand to a local field target club has grown into the largest regional competition sanctioned by the American Field Target Association,” said Mark DeBoard, Crosman Shooting Services Manager, of the event hosted by the company on their Bloomfield, NY campus July 12 through 14.
Crosman first hosted the event in 2010 when the original competition site became unavailable. The event has grown year after year, “but what’s most encouraging is that entire families are excited about participating together in the sport,” said DeBoard. “The 2013 NRFTC enjoyed more youth shooters than in past years, including 8-year-old Tyler Post and his brother, 12-year old Brent,” commented DeBoard. “Their father and grandfather joined as well,” he said, “making it a fun, multi-generational family competition.” Sydney McDaniel is 16 years old. Her father Sean recently introduced her to field target shooting and she chose this event as her first competition, DeBoard added. A.J. Stewart, 16, who first competed last year, brought his aunt and a cousin, and after spending time in the sport with his son, A.J.’s father joined him as a competitor.
Team USA was the big draw as they prepare for the World Field Target Federation Championship in Germany this August. Nine members of the 15-member team were on hand including past NRFTC champions Hector Medina of New Canaan, CT, Greg Sauve of Green Bay, WI and Harold Rushton from Chapel Hill, TN. They were joined by five shooters of Team Venezuela and when a few Canadian participants formed Team Canada, the international side match was on. Scores were based on the team aggregate and after Day 1 it was Team USA (41.33) leading Team Canada (38.83), and Team Venezuela (36.80). Anchored by Rushton, Sauve and Ray Apelles of Somers, NY, Team USA took the weekend with an aggregate score of 88.66. Team Canada finished with 78.66 and Team Venezuela posted a 72.60.
Medina won his first NRFTC WFTF Piston title in 2011 and successfully defended it the following year. After Day 1 he was in a dead heat with fellow Team USA member Keith Knoblauch of Leonardtown, MD, and just three points ahead of Art Deuel from Williamsport, PA. “Lanes 16-30 are deceptively difficult,” commented DeBoard. “Situated along the front lawn of the campus, depth perception on the hillside and especially the wind, which can get pretty squirrelly over there, make those lanes the toughest to shoot.” Sunday was a broiler in terms of both the heat index and the competitive pressure cooker, DeBoard commented. Medina shot a 47 to finish with a score of 86, six shots better than Knoblauch.
Rushton drove 14 hours from Alabama to make this year’s Northeast Regional. “Crosman does a great job of organization and set-up. The top shooters are at this competition, and to have Team Venezuela here gives it a world-class atmosphere which is good preparation for the Worlds next month,” said Rushton. He led by just one point after the difficult front side of Lanes 16-30, ahead of Dan Brown of Chagnon Lake, AK who scored a 53. Rushton commented that a lead is nice after Day 1, “but these are some of the best shooters in the country.” A third of the class finished with over 100 successful shots.
Field target’s Hunter class is the fastest growing segment of the sport. According to DeBoard, “The class rules allow a shooter to closely replicate an actual hunting setup, from gun to seating, to the use of bipods. It is a comfortable entry to the sport.” John Tyler from Yardley, PA posted a 52 to take a one point lead over Chris Helm of Ewing, NJ and a logjam of shooters. But it was Bill Day of Hollis Center, ME who rose to the occasion on Sunday to surge forward and finish in a tie with Jerry LaRocca of Liverpool, NY. Bill Day won in a shootoff. Greg Shirhall of Richford, NY finished tied for third with Helm and won the shootoff by default after Helm left the event early. Day also won in 2010 and placed third in 2012.
There was never any doubt after Paul Manktelow of Walworth, NY posted a score of 40 on Day 1. He added a 41 on Day 2 to finish well in front. “The drama was in his rearview mirror,” said DeBoard. Nicolas Gregoris from Binghamton, NY had a handle on second place before his optic gave way. He finished fourth. Jeff Hanson from West Henrietta, NY finished strong using a pre-production Benjamin UL77. “He’s a design engineer for Crosman and spent Saturday evening and Sunday morning repairing a trigger that let go shortly after the end of Day 1,” DeBoard stated. “It was an old trigger pack we had been using for design, not performance. Once I swapped out with a production pack I was able to turn things around,” said Hanson.
Tyler Patner of Mundelein, IL posted the only 50+ score on Day 1 and remained consistent on Day 2 to take the class. Dennis Eden of Port Colborne, Ontario struggled on the open day but a 53 moved him from fourth to second by the end of the event.
A single point separated Tony Narracci of Massapequa, NY and David Fontaine from Westbrook, CT after Day 1. A second 40+ outing and Narracci was able to pull away.
The Pistol competition portion of the 2013 NRFTC took place Saturday afternoon on lanes 1-15. Of a possible score of 30, Craig Evans posted the top score for all pistol classes of 24. Dan Brown won the Hands-Supported class. Evans won Hunter, just a point ahead of Hunter (Rifle) winner Bill Day. LaRocca won the Open class with a 19.
Quigley Bucket Challenge
Always a favorite pre-event competition, the Quigley Bucket Challenge is a re-creation of the dramatic scene in the film “Quigley Down Under” starring Tom Selleck in which Selleck’s character must shoot a bucket at an estimated 700 yards. Scaled for airguns, this equates to a 1.75 inch target placed at 55 yards. Shooters must use a 6.5 ft. lb. rifle using only open / iron / non-magnified sights. The Quigley had 45 shooters try five shots apiece. Just eight hit the bucket and after two overtimes, Sauve was the only shooter to repeat the feat, besting Rushton, Gregoris, Dean Buczek of Canandaigua, NY, Day, Larry Bowne of Levittown, PA, Fontaine and Richard Basset from Feasterville, PA.
“Mark your calendar,” states DeBoard. “Dates for the 2014 have already been set: July 11, 12, 13. Book your hotel and make your plans now to be here! Registration will open in February.”
For further information on Crosman Corporation or on any Crosman, Benjamin, CenterPoint Hunting and Outdoors precision optics products, or Game Face Airsoft products, visit the company’s web sites at crosman.com, centerpointhunting.com, gamefaceairsoft.com, or write to Laura Evans, marketing coordinator, Crosman Corporation, 7629 Routes 5 & 20, Bloomfield, NY 14469, email her at email@example.com, or call her at (800) 7–AIRGUN (724-7486).
Image courtesy Crosman Corporation