The Great Pumpkin Match Marks Summer’s End
Tropical Storm Jose meandered off the coast of New England and its fringe winds sorely tried the skills and patience of the competitors who were trying to shoot center shots during the 2017 Great Pumpkin Metric Prone Regional.
The Pumpkin traditionally starts at 100 yards and works backwards to give the competitors a relief from the notoriously fickle afternoon winds of The Bell City Rifle Club. The plan backfired as the morning was bedeviled with inconsistent puffing winds that swung windmills through 360 degree arcs at lightning speed while the afternoon was calm..
Shawn Carpenter, Rifle Coach at Grasso Tech, had not fired a shot since he returned from the victorious US Roberts Team trip to England in late August. The layoff seemed to do him good as he opened the match with a 384-14X at 100 yards. His nearest competitor, literally as he was shooting on the adjacent point, was second place Hap Rocketto, an assistant coach at the US Coast Guard Academy who posted a 375-11X. Hope Kavulich, the 2017 High School League Champion, pulled into third with a 371-8X.
Carpenter did not let up and shot a nearly identical score, 384-12X, to win the Reverse Dewar. Avon Old Farms Rifle Coach Len Remaly was in second shooting a 378-9X to beat out Reading Rifle Club’s Frank Garbouchian’s 374-11X.
It seemed if Carpenter was producing his scores on a photocopy machine when he posted yet another 384, this time with 16Xs to win the 50 meter match. Another Coast Guard Assistant Coach, Ryan McKee, who was shooting his first ever prone tournament, nipped Rocketto 379-8X to 378-14X for second.
With three wins under his belt it was no surprise that Carpenter nailed down the metallic sight title with an overwhelming score of 1152-42X, a 27 point lead on second place Rocketto, 1125-40X, and 31 up on third place Remaly, 1121-31X. It was Carpenter’s match to lose as the match moves into the anysight phase.
The anysight day opened calm and hot with a few new players showing up for the second day of shooting.
However, not all that was showed up on Saturday returned on Sunday. Len Remaly, believing that cleanliness is next to godliness, has pulled off the cheek piece, inserted a bore guide, and scrubbed out his rifle upon returning home. When done he carefully packed it away for the return trip. Upon opening his rifle case at the range he was shocked to find that cleanliness and forgetfulness occasionally go hand in hand. While he packed his rifle, he forgot to pack his cheek piece.
Len, a gray haired shooter of the old school, uses a hoary old wooden rifle in an age of shiny aluminum stocks. He was faced with having to withdraw from the match when Hap Rocketto, another elder statesman of the sport who uses a similar prehistoric stock suggested they share his cheek piece. Rocketto is a fast shooter and for the rest of the day he shot his string, rolled over, pulled out his cheek piece and handed it to the hovering Remaly who rushed to his point, slid the cheek piece into his rifle, and shot his string.
The heat was nearly at record heights and the conditions became quite squirrely. Jeff Henry and Craig Samuelson, whose eyes were not tired from shooting irons, quickly dethroned Carpenter. Henry shot a 389-14X to win the 100 yard match. Samuelson was second with a 387-11X but Carpenter hung in with a 385-17X.
Just when things seemed to be rolling along young Kaley Pasko rolled her ankle in a rut on the 100 yard berm. There followed a cease fire while competitors scurried about, under the direction of Lauren Harris, gathering up range debris, scope rods, an old T Shirt, and duct tape to splint the damaged appendage.
With Pasko on the way to medical care Samuelson slipped past Doerschler, 390-18X to 389-20X, for the Dewar win but Carpenter hung in at third posting a 386-16X.
On the final target of the day, the second stage at 50 meters, Garbouchian punched out a near perfect 198-13X which, when added to his first card, gave him a match winning 394-20X. Carpenter completed a sweep of being in the money in every match with a second place 393-19X as Doerschler grabbed third place on the back of 388-14X.
Carpenter won any sights, 1164-52X, Samuelson followed with a 1162-44X, and Doerschler was third at 1157-46X.
The Regional Gold Medal went for a 2316-94X and was Carpenter’s by a wide margin. Silver medalist Rocketto followed in a long way back his wake at 2273-90X. Doerschler, who made a heroic dash to close a nine point gap with Rocketto to tie him, fell short by 25Xs, 2273-65X, for third.
Match Director Nicole Panko was assisted by Mr. Kavulich, who ran the line on Saturday, Lauren Harris who collecting targets all weekend and played EMT for Kayley Pasko, and someone cryptically listed as “My boyfriend” who did data entry.
It was a weekend of shooting that tested the competitors in many ways and was tinged with a bit of sadness as it marked the end of the outdoor season