Every spring, Winnequah Gun Club hosts a 2-day Long Range Regional Championship match consisting of 2 complete Palma courses, and an additional 20-shot 1000-yard match. The Palma course has competitors firing 15 shots for record at the 800, 900, and 1000-yard lines. Traditionally, Palma shooting meant using a rifle chambered in .308 Winchester with a sling and Iron sights, but with the growth of F-Class shooting over the last decade, there are now many shooting rifles in other calibers with scopes, bipods, and rests at the half-sized F-Class target. While the 2 disciplines have their differences, there is no questions that the utmost level of skill and dedication is required if you want to be successful at either.
This year, 42 shooters were on hand to test their skill against the unforgiving Winnequah winds. Since last fall, range staff has cleared countless trees along the left side of the range, which has greatly affected the characteristics of the range. Secrets learned on this range in past years no longer apply.
Saturday’s match got off to a chilly start with a light tailwind for the 800-yard stage. Many shooters took advantage of the mild conditions by shooting perfect 150’s at that yard line. Moving back to the 900, things were starting to get a little more interesting as a storm front threatened to move in. The light tailwind turned nasty and the Winnequah fishtail reared its ugly head. Even the top shooters took a beating, and as soon as the last relay finished, the clouds unloaded. Range staff decided to call the match for the day with intentions to pick up again on Sunday morning. This proved to be a wise decision, as the rain continued without interruption for the next 12 hours. At the end of the abbreviated match, Randy Gregory’s 295-16x was just a hair above Waylon Burbach’s 295-12 for first place. Morgen Dietrich’s 293-16x rounded out the top 3. Bob Mead was on top of the F-class shooters with a 297-10x, followed by Bob Sebold at 294-13, and a tie between James Bauer and Robert Loepfe at 293-12x for 3rd.
On Sunday, the weather forecast was less threatening, but at 45 degrees, was still a little colder than most of us would have preferred for the first day of May. Conditions were again favorable at 800, and 7 sling shooters and 1 F-Classer all shot clean 150’s to kick things off. Back on the 900-yard line, Randy Gregory, Waylon Burbach, and Erik Rhode all followed that up by shooting 150’s again to remain clean for the day – so far. Only 3 X’s separated their scores, so it would all come down to the 1000-yard match for the win.
There were a few surprises at the 1K, and not a single shooter could manage a clean target. Morgen Dietrich and Bill Lair came the closest by putting up 149's on the sling target, and local boy Bob Sebold topped all F-class shooters with his 148-5x.
For the 2-day regional championship agg, the medal winners were: