Bell City Metric Prone Regional
By Digby Hand
The last match that smallbore competitors in the Northeast have before departing for the Metric National Championships at Bristol and/or the Conventional National Championships at Camp Perry is the Bell City Metric Prone Regional. The early July weekend featured daily temperatures in the low 90s, a scorching sun, high humidity, and a fickle wind.
The thirty five shooters vying for medallions, Distinguished points, and championship vouchers started their quests at 100 yards with metallic sights. The A-33 target is not for the faint hearted and points are hard won. Sharpshooter Jeff Henry showed that classification is no indicator of performance as he banged out a 388-17X to win the opening match. Claudia Duksa, a Texas Christian University rifle team member, placed second on the back of her 383-15X while wily Greg Tomsen, more known for his ability with a scope and complaining about his 66 year old eyes, pulled into third with a 381-12X.
The Reverse Dewar was won by Rich Duksa, whose arm troubles seem to be a thing of the past, with a 20 shot score of 388-16X. Ohio State rifleman Remington Lyman edged out Claudia Duksa for second with a 384-15X to Claudia’s 384-10X.
With the targets at 50 yards the sun poured in over the ridgeline that is Bell City’s backstop. Hats were pulled low to shade eyes and fingers slipped on cartridges made slick by the melting lubricant. Lyman bagged another sub-aggregate with a 389-15X just a head of Rich Duksa’s 387-15X. Third went to Smithfield Sportsman’s Club Joe Graf who carded a 385-17X.
As the shooters policed their points and chugged down long draughts of cold water the Statistical crew ran the figures to find that Lyman had scored 1152 points with a further 42Xs to win the metallic sight title. However, Lyman was left looking hard over his shoulder at the Duksas who each posted an 1151, Rich with 39Xs and Claudia with 36. One can only imagine what might have been said, or not said, in the car as they drove home together.
Older shooters often intone, “Where there is scope there is hope” as they drag their gear to the line for the second day of a two day Regional. With the lead at the top nearly nonexistent all knew that the slightest error, and the Metric target gives ample opportunity for errors, can change a shooter’s fortunes in a nanosecond.
Claudia Duksa seemed as if she was having none of that as she roared out of the gate winning the 100 yard match with a 393-25X. Scope shark Tomsen was hot on her heels with a 392-19X as Hap Rocketto slid into third with a 391-12X, going 16 shots into his first card before he dropped a point.
The Duksa family feud continued as Rich shot a 394-24 and took the Reverse Dewar. Lyman’s 393-18X was good for second and Tomsen took third with a 391-19X.
Rich was on a roll and won the last match of the day, 50 yards, with a 397-25X, Tomsen was close with a 397-21X as Doerschler closed out his day dropping just four points for a third place 396-14X.
Rich Duksa and Tomsen tied with a pair of 1180s but Duksa out Xed Tomsen 65 to 59. Claudia Duksa and Lyman fought it out for third mirroring the first to place shooters as they accumulated 1176 points each. Claudia eked out third by shooting 65Xs to Lyman’s 59.
Only four points separated the top three in the grand aggregate as Rich Duksa pulled off the win over the two collegiate wunderkinds. His 2331-104X took the gold. Lyman and Claudia tied on Xs, 101 each, but Lyman bested her in score with a 2328 to her 2327.
Graff first Expert, Henry took the Sharpshooter class, and Montville High School Rifle Team’s Eric Sloan was high junior.
In category competition Tomsen was high senior and Kelly Bogart tool woman honors.
After an onsite awards ceremony hosted by Match Director Nicole Panko, and an admonition to attend the Great Pumpkin Match in October, the assembled shooters headed to air conditioned cars to start the trek home which will end, for most, with equipment maintenance in preparation for the next match.
Thanks to Tony Panko for scoring, Anthony Cuozzo Sr for entering, Mark Sloan for being Range Officer, everyone who collected targets for me and everyone who chipped in when needed.