The 59th Western Wildcats Championship, Day 3

The 59th Western Wildcats Championship

Day Three

The third day of the 59th Western Wildcat Championship saw iron sight replace scope. The conditions were ratcheted up a bit more providing no relief from the desert heat while the winds continuing to toy with the shooters.

Kerry Spurgin returned to the winner’s circle with a 400-32X in the opening Dewar. Nancy Tompkins and Richard Fowke trailing him as both shot 400-32Xs. Adrian Harris captured Master honors with the only 400 in the class while Daniel Erpenbach came in second firing a 399-30X. Expert Mike Kelly kept all 40 of his shots inside the ten ring with 34 of them in the X ring as a 398-23X gave Alexander Allison second. Madison Rovelli posted a 397-18X to take the combined class.

Stuart Lind’s 400-32X won Optics while Ed Mank, 399-29X, and Arbia Massouris, 397-29X, splitting the Master awards.

Jeff Huen won the F-Class shooting a 399-36X. Ray Del Rio was hot on his heel posting a 398-26X as Jim Murphy, 397-11X, and Dan Pagliari, 396-25X, were in hot pursuit.

Perfect scores were few, and far between, at 100 yards as Peter Church’s 400-31X took the match. Spurgin was second with a 400-28X as Thomas Allen, 400-26X, filled out the top three. A 399-28X earned Harris top spot among the Masters as Caleb Cooper, 399-23X, was second. Kelley ran away with the Expert award, a 400-31X to second place Jim Evenson’s 394-17X and a 397-15X for Rob Nabower. Chuck Eyberg won combined with a 396-12X.

Ed Foley had the only 400 in Optics as John Hoffman, 399-28X, and Baker Del Cotto, 397-27X took first and second in the Optic Master class.

A 395-27X helped Murphy top F-Class. Sam Pagliari was first Master, a 393-23X, followed by Huen and Jack Arnold knotted at 393-19X

Mark Del Cotto shot a 40035X to win the Meter Match as Church and Ginger McLemore fought it out for second and third tied up at 400-32X. Harris claimed a second Master class win with his 400-36X followed by Davis Bay who compiled a 40034X. Expert Kelly earned another class win, shooting a 400-34X as Allison battled him for the class posting a 397-19X. Seyler out Xed Vincent Herrera and Eyberg, 394-21X to 394-20X to 394-18, for the combined class win.

James Gaines racked up a 400-34X to take Optics. Del Cotto, père, shot a 400-31X to beat out Mank, 399-32X first in Master class.

Murphy continued to roll in F-Class with a 399-27X win. Malanie Simmons, 397-32X, Dan Pagliari, 397-31X, and Del Rio, 397-25X, completed the awards list.

The 50 Yard Match winner, Thomas, nailed down an important win with his 400-38X. Fowke was close shooting a 400 with 37Xs as Uptagrafft and Nevius shot 400-36Xs.

Harris won his fourth award of the day as he paced the Masters with a 400-36X Just ahead of David Bay who recorded a 400-34X. Kelly, 400-34X, notched a second Expert class win ahead of Nabower’s 399-20X. Seyler had a 399-24X to wrap up combined class honors.

Gaines won Optics, cleaning it with 35Xs. Mank bested Del Cotto, père, 400-31X to 400-28X for a win in the Master class.

Kathleen Garvin, 398-27X, edged our Murphy, 398-26X, for the F-Class win. Sam Pagliari, 398-23X was second Master with Jack Arnold, 397-29X, in third.

The day ended with Thomas the only competitor close to perfection, his 1600-119X winning. McLemore dropped one and ended up second with a1599-109X. Church had the highest X count, 137, but had let two shots drift out of the ten ring for a 1598-137X.

A good Meter match allowed Harris, 1596-131X, to keep Erpenbach, 1592-110X, at bay in the Master class. Kelly swept the Expert class which gave him an aggregate of 1598-128X to skate past Allison’s 1584-79X. Seyler and Eyeberg battled out for the combined class crown with Seyler winning 1580-87X to 1579-64X.

A tight race in Optics was decided by the Yard match. Gaines pulled ahead of Lind at short range by a point and took the aggregate 1598-130X to 1597-109X. Baker Del Cotto topped the Master shooting a 1596-113X and besting second place Mank by two points and two Xs.

Murphy won F-Class shooting a 15-89-111X Heun out Xed Murphy but dropped six more points than the winner to take first Master. Ray Del Rio,1580-96X was second. There was a little family feud going on with the Pagliaris as Dan and Sam both carded 1578s but Dan’s X count of 100 was ten better than Sam’s and so he was third.

The match goes into its final day with the top five separated by five points, Eric Uptagrafft, 4797; Mark Del Cotto, 4796; Pete Church and Allen Thomas at 4795; and Kevin Nevius, 4792. It will take endurance, excellent hold and wind reading, and a touch of luck, for one to prevail and take home the Henry Benson Memorial Plaque.

About Hap Rocketto

Hap Rocketto is a Distinguished Rifleman with service and smallbore rifle, member of The Presidents Hundred, and the National Guard’s Chief’s 50. He is a National Smallbore Record holder, a member of the 1600 Club and the Connecticut Shooters’ Hall Of Fame. He was the 2002 Intermediate Senior Three Position National Smallbore Rifle Champion, the 2012 Senior Three Position National Smallbore Rifle Champion a member of the 2007 and 2012 National Four Position Indoor Championship team, coach and captain of the US Drew Cup Team, and adjutant of the United States 2009 Roberts and 2013 Pershing Teams. Rocketto is very active in coaching juniors. He is, along with his brother Steve, a cofounder of the Corporal Digby Hand Schützenverein. A historian of the shooting sports, his work appears in Shooting Sports USA, the late Precision Shooting Magazine, The Outdoor Message, the American Rifleman, the Civilian Marksmanship Program’s website, and most recently, the apogee of his literary career,
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