A pair of spectacular autumn days saw competitive shooters from the four southern New England states converge on the Bell City Rifle Club in Southington, CT, for the final outdoor prone match of the 2019 season—the Great Pumpkin Match, September 21-22.
The decades-old event follows the Metric Prone Regional course of fire with a twist—the match begins with iron sights at 100 yards. The coach of the 2017 U.S. Roberts Team, Shawn Carpenter, took the first match with a 390-16X and never looked back. Distinguished Rifleman Len Remaly and Hap Rocketto, who captained the 2017 U.S. Roberts Team, were knotted up at 375-7X with Remaly taking second on the tie-breaker. In fourth was former National Three-Position Champion Jeff Doerschler.
A 390-16X seemed like a winning number to Carpenter, so he shot another one for his second win of the day in the Dewar. Doerschler rolled into second with a 376-11X. Montville High School Rifle Coach Steve Rocketto bested his little brother by an X, a 372-7X, for third as the younger Rocketto settled for fourth place.
The day ended as it had begun with a Carpenter win, this time at 50 meters with, oddly enough, his lowest score of the day—a 387-19X. Doerschler posted a 383-14X and Steve Rocketto had a score of 379-14X respectively. Metacon Gun Club’s Sam McAdoo placed fourth shooting a 377-11X.
The Meter Match was a precursor to the iron sight aggregate results, as the top four finished the same way in the aggregate. Carpenter, 1167-51X, Doerschler, 1132-32X, Steve Rocketto, 1120-24X and McAdoo, 1115-23X.
Any sight day saw a contingent from New Hampshire and Massachusetts arrive to replace a few folks who had commitments on Sunday. The surge of new blood did little to bank Carpenter’s fire, it was his match to lose. He opened with a 396-23X at 100 yards for yet another win. Doreschler was close behind carding a 393-21X. Bob Lynn, enjoying his recent retirement from the bench of the New Hampshire Supreme Court, slid into third Place with a score of 388-14X. Hap Rocketto was involved in his second tie of the weekend but emerged the rulebook winner as he and NRA Board member Patricia Clark tied with 386s, but Rocketto had 17 Xs to Clark’s 15.
In the Dewar, a 391-19X saw Carpenter cruise to his sixth consecutive win. New Hampshire gunsmith Frank Garbouchian was second as he posted a 386-17X. Hap Rocketto grabbed third on the back of a 384-15X. Noted any sight smallbore shark Greg Tomsen, 383-15X, slid past Doerschler, 382-11X, for fourth.
Perhaps fatigued or bored by his run of consecutive wins, Carpenter at last stumbled and shot a 389-X for fourth in the Meter Match. Doerschler, often a bridesmaid over the two days, at long last won a match with his 397-23X at 50 meters. Steve Roby, a Bay State standout, was second with a 392-18X pushing Garbouchian, 391-17X, into third. Steve Rocketto rounded out the winners with a 386-17X.
It was no surprise that the any sight aggregate was won by Carpenter, but not without a close finish as he posted a 1176-58X to Doerschler’s 1172-55X. Garbouchian, 1156-46X, was third with Roby, 1153-37X, and Hap Rocketto, 1151-49X finishing third and fourth, respectively.
With only one blemish in his copy book Carpenter, shooting a Kevin Nevius-barreled Anschütz and Lapua Center X ammunition, 2343-109X, took the grand aggregate by a commanding 40 points over Doreschler, 2303-87X. The brothers Rocketto ended up third and fourth with Steve having bragging rights on the ride back home with a 2267-67X to his driver’s 2251-65X.
Match Director Nicole Panko and Statistical Officer Tom Morisette conducted a great match—indicated by the fact there were no challenges.
See more: 2019 NRA National Smallbore Rifle Championships Results