It was a match reminiscent of the movie Casablanca. In a final scene Rick Blaine, played by Humphrey Bogart, shoots a Nazi, and in response Inspector Renault, Casablanca’s Prefect of Police, orders his staff to, “Round up the usual suspects.”
The usual suspects gathered at the Smithfield Rhode Island Sportsman’s Club for the 2020 Rhode Island NRA Conventional Prone Championship on Saturday, Aug. 1. As in the past, Grasso Technical High School Rifle Coach Shawn Carpenter and Smithfield’s Joe Graf went head-to-head for the gold medallion and top honors. The first stage of the 50-Yard Match saw six 200s posted, with Carpenter out Xing Graf, 18X to 16X. However, Graf clawed his way back in the second stage with a near-perfect 200-19X, but Carpenter posted a 200-18X for the match win, leaving Graf as the First Master. Additionally, Mike Jerome, who shoots for the Taunton Massachusetts Marksman Unit, took the combined class with a 400-3X. David Czerwonka finished in second place.
The 50-Meter Match saw Carpenter and Graf battle out again, each dropped a point, but Carpenter had 32 Xs to Graf’s 29 Xs. Jerome and Czerwonka were knotted at 398, but Jerome bested Czerwonka 32X to 25X.
The Dewar Match saw scopes bolted to many rifles. Former National Position Champion Jeff Doerschler took advantage of this phenomenon, as he opened with stellar 200-20X at 50 yards, and followed up with 200-16X at 100 yards for the match win. Carpenter coughed up a point at 100 yards, but held on for First Master honors. Also, Steve Roby came out of nowhere to take the combined class with 399-25X, while Czerwonka had to settle for second place with a score of 399-22X.
In the final 100-Yard Match, Carpenter came steaming back with 400-33X, edging out first Master Frank Garbouchian by four Xs. Czerwonka posted 399-22X to win the combined class, with Jerome shooting 398-19X to earn second-place honors.
When the final scores were tallied, Carpenter took home the gold medallion with a 1598-134X. Garbouchian was the silver medalist with a 1595-106X, while Czerwonka grabbed bronze on the back of his 1595-91X. Jerome led the combined class, shooing irons all the way, with a 1593-109X.
The Rhode Island State Conventional Prone Championship is piggybacked on the Regional, where Czerwonka unseated perennial champion Graf by a single point. Graf shot irons all day, as he was training for a spot on the 2020 U.S. Wakefield International Postal Team, which will be shot later this year.
Finally, Match Director Hap Rocketto was assisted by Head Scorer Nicole Panko, as well as Carpenter, and Phil and Dave Kohanski, who picked up targets during off relays.