PSA Redlands Club Championship
The Redlands Club Championship has evolved into a premier Southern California event in just 6 short years. Last year Pacific Sporting Arms lead by John Herkowitz and Jordon Hirschi stepped in to become the title sponsor, adding an element of prestige to the tournament. Past Champions include a couple of World Champions and Hall of Fame members.
Eric Kirk the 2017 Champion returned, along with 2016 Champ Roman Warren. And the 2015 Champion also competed, Todd Bender. Although Todd has visited us since his win, this was his first return shooting with us. We were pleased to welcome him home. Todd was fully booked during the week with clinics. The participants couldn’t have been more pleased. Perhaps Warren Liu’s statement sums it up best, “This was my best day ever!” All would agree.
The Championship is a 200 target tournament consisting of one hundred each, 20 and 12 gauge birds. One flight begins on Friday afternoon, the balance completes on Saturday. 45 shooters can be accommodated in total. The event was full with a waiting list. In fact, one squad ran 6 man for the 12 gauge on Saturday so that Joe Fry could join us from Bakersfield. Mike O’Keefe also made the trip from Phoenix. I guess you would have to do the mileage to figure out who traveled farther. We were happy both made it.
As an added bonus for those who shot the Friday rotation a mixer was included. Sausages, links, grilled onions and peppers, chips and dips. Perhaps a beverage or two. It was a very nice social event that contributed to the always present comradery.
In conjunction with Triple B Clays and Kern County Gun Club, great efforts have gone into developing a group of referees in Southern California. For those of you who have taken on this task, you know that it takes constant effort to keep people trained as well as develop new talent. Our group of refs were terrific. Tori, Ashley, Sarah, Elijah and William were on time, courteous, and accurate in their calls. They take ownership of their fields and were spot on.
The shoot starts with the yellow shell. The disks were flying, succumbing to 7/8 oz of #9 shot. And every one of Mr. Bender’s targets succumbed completely. The lone 100 straight. A pair of 98’s and slews of 97’s and 96’s were right behind. Shootoffs for the end of the day were tallied by Tina Stephens, administrator extraordinaire. More to come.
Lunch is always included at the Redlands events. Island Chicken Wings, Exotic Asian Skewers, a salad provided by Mary Fitzgerald that tempted even Carl Booher. Lola Fitzgerald provided a platter of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. In all about 75 people were fed to their delight. If you went away hungry it was your own fault. There were few left overs so apparently that wasn’t the case.
This would be a good time to mention our generous sponsors. They have been perennially great to us. Take a moment to say thank you to these folks when you see them; John Herkowitz of Pacific Sporting Arms, Rob McCormick of Campus Uniforms, Dennis James of So Cal Pianos, John Lyman of ECCO Sports, Tina Stephens, Keith Phelps, Ron Schaefer, The Buoni Family, Lola Fitzgerald, Kern County Gun Club, Lou Riddle Construction, Dr. Bill Bell, Clay Delay Autopuller, Redlands Shooting Park, and Todd Bender Performance Systems.
Following lunch the 12 gauged commenced. Rotation 1 started blasting at 11:30 am, the last rotation finished about 4:00. This time two shooters managed the hundie, two shoulda-woulda’s, and groups of others right behind. Shoot offs commenced promptly following the completion of the 12 gauge. Field 3 is our “Stadium Field”, Competitors and spectators assembled beneath the now famous Elm trees to settle things up. Concurrent events are shot off as well, so a full plate was in store.
Bender had already won the 20 gauge. But Lyman and Wurster had to sort out the rest of the podium, and that they did. In the end the 20 wound up like this. Bender CH, Lyman RU, Wurster RU3. Tracy Edwards took AA1 without contest, Larry Schur A1, JR Fernandez B1, Neil Vann (Mr. 400K) C1, and Martin Eramo D1.
The 12 gauge had some tidying up to do as well. Lyman took the title over Sifers, Andre Frey RU3. AA1 went to Bender, Wurster A1, Charlie Miledi B1, Vann C1, and newly returned Keith Cantillon D1 with a very nice 96.
HOA – Handcrafted leather pouches provided by Pacific Sporting Arms were created for the HOA winners including Class Champs. Envelopes with some mad-money were also tucked in each pouch. At completion of the 12 Gauge Bender couldn’t be caught. He won his second Redlands Club Championship by breaking 199×200. John Lyman was right on his heels with 198 and RU, Sifers 195 was good enough for RU3. Tracy Edwards captured AA1, Wurster A1, Miledi B1, Van C1, and Tim Schilling D1.
Two new NSSA members were recruited during the event. Welcome Eric Linz and Earl Jones. We’re glad you joined u.
There are two other important developments to note. Tina Stephens created the So Cal Youth Skeet Shooters non-profit last year. She was able to donate shells to youth and new NSSA members who participated. If you would like to know more about her organization, have youth who would benefit from clinics or being involved she would love to hear from you. Email her at SoCalJrShooters@aol.com
Lastly, if you have shot in Southern California in the last year you may have met a fantastic ambassador to skeet. Dressed in pink, bows in her hair, and always a bright smile. Lola Fitzgerald has won over the hearts of everyone she meets. She was recently on the local news telling her story. Imagine a positive story on television in California about the shooting sports. Her attitude is contagious. You can find her video Vlog on YouTube by searching “Skeet n Bows”. Be sure and check her out. Look for her interview with Todd Bender (Vlog #10).
Special thank you to all the silent workers who make events like this fun. Plan a trip to So Cal next summer. We’d love to see you.
PSA Redlands Club Championship