After 80 Years, Black Hawk Rifle Tournament Marches On

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posted on June 20, 2018
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Above: Black Hawk Rifle Club Vice President Howard Pitts presents the Maurice Mounsey Memorial Trophy to match winner (r.) Mark Del Cotto.

The Black Hawk Rifle Club conducted the first of its annual tournaments from July 23-24, 1938, at the Arrowhead Rifle Range just outside of LaGrange, IL. Eighty years later, the club ran the 77th match at River Bend Gun Club in Dawsonville, GA, this past Memorial Day weekend. It would have been 80 straight matches, were it not for the three matches lost to World War II.

Weather prognosticators called for rain for the entire weekend, but it held off until late on Sunday. The prone shooters were lucky enough to escape the deluge, while the position shooters were forced to deal with the “liquid sunshine” all day Monday.

Mark DelCotto punched out a score of 3198-263X to earn his first Maurice Mounsey Memorial Trophy as Match Winner. Along the way he also picked up the Ken Waters Memorial Trophy for the any sight aggregate, with the only 1600 of the match (a 1600-135X), and the F. Paul Archer Memorial Trophy, shooting 800-63X as High Civilian in the Dewar Aggregate.

Black Hawk Vice President and gunsmith Howard Pitts shot a 1599-133X to win the metallic sight aggregate, and the Harry Tevis Memorial along with the Ken Recker Memorial Trophy for winning the any sight 100-yard match with 400-35X.

Erin McNeil celebrated her birthday with 3193-215X, and captured the Chris Carlsen Memorial Trophy as Lady Champion.

Walt Walter spent some long hours during the winter months bent over a wood lathe creating the Edie Fleeman Trophy, to be awarded to the 50-meter aggregate winner. Mike Carter was the inaugural winner in a dominating way, as he won both 50-meter matches posting 800-72X.

Senior Jimmie Fordham earned the Al Moroney Memorial Trophy, which is awarded to the senior any sight champion, with a near perfect 1599-108X. The F-Class winner of the Glenn Dubis Trophy was Bill Treder’s 3160-203X. Junior Austin Fletcher’s score of 3174-185X took home the William Toursh Memorial Trophy, and the T.C. Rossman $25 Award.

The iron sight two man team match was won by Howard Pitts and Ed Foley, who shot a combined score of 799-68X for the win.

Fifty dollar Black Hawk “Bristol Credits” for class winners will be presented at Bristol. They are pass down awards, so if Master Mark DelCotto and Combined Class winner Randall Hatheway do not attend Bristol, then the Bristol Credits will go to the next person in that class to attend.

On Monday of Memorial Day weekend, McNeil gave herself another birthday present, albeit a soggy one, by winning the English Match with 586-23X. Hot on her heels was Master Howard Pitts with 585-33X. Tim Sherry pulled ahead of McNeil after the prone segment to win the three-position title with 1141-28X, as the birthday girl pulled into second shooting 1137-31X. All in all, it was a good showing of shooting on a day replete with tricky wind and steady rain.

It was certainly an “All Hands” affair, and thanks go out to everyone who pitched in to help Black Hawk Executive Officer Paul Benneche. Scoring targets were Margaret Langfield, Martha Kelley and Edie Fleeman, while Hank Gray, Randy Schwartz and Paul Benneche called the line. As for Jayme Shipley, Jamie Shipley and Christy Bryans, they all pitched in at the stat office. Last but not least, Linda Steadman coordinated a Saturday night banquet which served as the weekend’s capstone event.

Photo courtesy of Jeff Doerschler

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