The 2014 Arizona State Mid Range Championships is now, like so many top level matches before it, indelibly engraved in the history books of the storied Ben Avery Shooting Facility. This year the 80+ shooters, a record turnout I might add, were treated to balmy temps and some challenging winds. With top shooters in from a variety of surrounding states, this years state championship match had a true "Regional" feel to it and with Joe Felix, former Army Marksmanship Unit shooter, at the helm as our Chief Range Officer a good time was had by all. The ensuing awards ceremony Sunday afternoon saw no less than 15 beautiful trophy plaques presented to the top three finishers in each of the five contested divisions. I put together a little 10 minute pictorial of the event that can be viewed by clicking HERE
In the division battles it is necessary to note that for the first time in the seven year history of this match an F Open shooter garnered the coveted high overall score. Allan Rosenthal, in a most workman like way, put together a truly admirable score of 1190-66X; seizing the top spot by two points over the nearest sling competitor! Second place award in FO went to John Farragio with a 1176-55X and third went to the matriarch of the "Shooting Harris's", Christine, who posted a fine 1160-29X total. The F-TR crowd witnessed the tightest battle of all the divisions as no less than four shooters finished within four points of each other and the two top spots were separated by a mere four X's. As it turned out, it took the veteran skills of Gentleman Jim Murphy, whose shooting career is littered with championship level victories to negotiate the fickle winds and claim the top spot with a 1166-45X. His nemesis over the two days of shooting was none other than BASF Range Master and friend to all, Matt Schwartzkopf. Third in F-TR was Rocky Felix, a local up and comer, who amassed a very respectable 1163-36X. Honorable mention must go to another of the Shooting Harris's, Scott, whose gritty performance saw him equal the match winners X count. Ah my kingdom for a trio of points indeed!
Of the three divisions who strapped in for this showdown in our desert arena let us first look to the black rifle shooters who were led by a young man who needs no introduction around here. Jaden Swartwood has been wining service rifle matches for a number of years and taking this years mid range Service Rifle championship plaque proved to be relatively simple task as he cruised to a twenty point victory over second place finisher, James Patterson. Third in the division race was earned by decorated Marine Reservist, Chuck Keith. The Palma division was well represented and ranged in age from junior phenom Ryan Hayes to Barry Smith, who,rumor has it, recently celebrated his 128 birthday! Hah, just kidding Barry. Leading the pack of Nato spec. shooters was yours truly with the big man Oliver Milanovic hot on my heels and Rio Salado's own Mike Toliver in the fray at third. Over the last two years both Mike and Oliver have upped their shooting games considerably and are now bona fide contenders in both mid and long range shooting.
Finally the Any Rifle division consisted of a "who's who" list of regional talent as well as some international flavor with Canadian Ken Nelson leading the way by four over Top Cop, Phil Hayes. Just two points down to Phil sat not only one of the nicest guy I have ever met, but a damn fine shot as well, Mr Peter Church!
In closing I would like to acknowledge a few folks who may not have wound up in the overall winners circle but shot some darn good scores. A good example of that is in the F-TR results where as you can see only two clean scores were fired at any distance all weekend long. One of those cleans shot I might add in some of the gnarliest winds of the weekend was fired by F-TR newcomer Derek Moore owner of Desert Firearms. This is Derek's first clean ever and one hell of an accomplishment when you consider the rest of the scores at that days distance. Another standout score was fired by legendary rifleman Bob "Baker" Del Cotto when he bore down at 500 yards Sunday and hung a match winning score. Not too shabby for someone edging closer and closer to octogenarian status! In the F-Open division Dan Bramley, another relative newcomer to the sport, who also grabbed a match win Sunday at 500 yards to provide one of only two match defeats the Rosenthal juggernaut would eventually amass.
Congratulations to all the winners and thanks again to everyone who came out to shoot with us and I implore those who didn't make it, to put this match on your to do list for next year. I think I can guarantee that you will have a good time with many like-minded souls. For all the weekends results please click HERE and scroll down to 2014 Mid Range Results