Spring in Rhode Island had been long in coming. The long awaited sun warmed the smallbore range at the Smithfield Sportsmen’s Club as shooters unrolled mats and began assembling their equipment for the 2017 Rhode Island NRA Conventional Prone Regional, which also piggy backed the Rhode Island Revolver and Rifle Association (RIRRA) State Championship.
The day opened with a metallic sight 50 yard match. Perhaps enjoying a home range advantage, Joe Graf shot a perfect 400-34X to hold off challenges from Ricky Miller, 400-30X who won a tiebreaker with Danielle Makucevich. Shawn Carpenter and Brianna Feerick rounded out the perfect scores with 400-27X.
Miller bested Graf in the 50 meter match shooting 33 Xs to accompany his 400 while Graff mustered 31Xs. Frank Garbouchian shot a 397-28X to take the combined Expert/Sharpshooter class. The pair posted the only two perfect scores in the metallic sight event and moved into the third match, the any sight Dewar, with Graf enjoying a slim five X lead in the aggregate.
It was expected that Graf would pull away in the third match as he mounted a scope while Miller stuck with iron sights. That was how the first stage, 20 shots at 50 yards played out, both shooting 200s but Graf added another four Xs to his total.
In stage two the targets are moved to 100 yards and that is where Miller leapt ahead. Graf lost points as he misjudged the mirage’s strength and direction. Using iron sights Miller was blind to the subtle shifts and simply held center, letting the wind take shots left and right—but all within the 10-ring. His final bullseye, a very tight and centered group all within the X-ring, gave him the match with a 400-30X. The 100-10X allowed him to best the wily old scope shark Hap Rocketto by a single X, the pair posting the only 400s on the line.
Combined class winner Brianna Feerick found herself in an interesting situation in the Dewar. Being an International smallbore specialist, she had never fired at 100 yards. After a few quick words of advice, she cranked her sights up six minutes and fired a near perfect 199-14X at long-range. Had she not dropped a point in her first bullseye she would have had a score of 400-30X, which would have tied her with match winner Miller.
With Graf stubbing his toe the leader board shifted. Miller now held the lead while Carpenter moved into second, two points behind, and Michele Makucevich slid into third with a deficit of four.
Carpenter, who had fired two 400-40X scores at the 2016 National Smallbore Conventional Prone National Championship, blasted out the only clean on the line at 100 yards, a 400-24X, to keep well ahead of the pack. Graf, 399-30X, snatched the Master class award way from Rocketto, 399-28X, by two Xs. Miller rolled into first in the combined class shooting a 397-26X.
When all was said and done, Carpenter took the top step on the podium with his 1598-112X. Miller, a point behind and seven Xs ahead, was the silver medalist while Michele Makucevich took the bronze with a 1594-108X along with the RIRRA open state title.
Graf, with an outstanding X count of 122, was first Master shooting a 1592. Dani Makucevich topped the Experts firing a 1588-104X and wrapped up the RIRRA junior state title in her final year of eligibility. Sharpshooter Jack Eddy went home with his class medallion around his neck.
The Statistical Office was efficiently run, as always, by Nicole Panko. There were zero challenges. The match was kept on schedule by Range Officer Bob Miller.