The MN Long-Range Regional, hosted by Gopher Rifle & Revolver Club, got off to a great start Thursday evening with the arrival of Steffen Bunde all the way from Idaho! We also had Mike Ciecko from Racine, Erik “Taco” Rhode, and Steve “Classic” Knutson show up on Thursday to set up camp for the weekend. Elliot, “The Ageless Wonder”, also came in on Thursday, but was too busy getting beauty sleep and reappeared later that evening.
As with almost every match at gopher, things inevitably are hectic for me; you never know how many people will show until that day. With ten or twelve pre-registrations (mostly the usual suspects) heading in to the weekend, it was anybody’s guess as to how many would actually be there.
Friday morning was beautiful, and we had ten to twelve shooters for the optional practice match. By the end of the morning some of the out-of-towners were getting acquainted with the Harris fishtail wind and elevation tango. By Friday evening I had received phone calls and emails from Bob Eckstein and Pat Scully offering their services for the weekend. I can’t really explain how nice it is to get volunteers to help with the pit and line duties throughout the weekend. It really makes the whole match better for everybody.
Saturday morning came around and I got about the business of squadding, and getting the shooters to the line. As I said before, it can be a guessing game trying to figure out how many people will show, and much to my surprise, I was rewarded with 37 shooters on a holiday weekend! What a turnout! Thankfully, the weather cooperated, although not necessarily the wind. Gusts from the rear produced elevation that would be the talk of the firing line, and the wind was switchy as well. By Saturday afternoon though, some leaders had emerged. Erik “the Taco” came out of the gate hot with a 199-8x, and Stacey Tamulinas tried very quietly to knock Erik off his perch with a 200-9x, and a 199-13x to take the final two matches of the day. Lurking just behind these leaders was a familiar face from North Dakota, Morgen Dietrich, and the man he rode in with Tom Thompson.
On the F-Class side, things got a little more interesting. From the Master Class, Mike McKay showed everybody how it was done in match one with a 196-10x. The Master class would keep on cooking in match two with a 197-8x from Andrew Anderson. In match three, Gopher’s own John Rykhus came out on top from the High Master class, with a 198-9x. In FTR, Drew Rutherford took two of the days three matches while yielding the day’s third match to Steve Ernst.
Day two started off with more of the same wind, only this was the any/iron day and some lower scores were expected on the sling side. So much for that as Erik “Taco” set the pace again with a 196-6x. Matches five and six fell to Tom Thompson with the days only clean a 200-9x and a healthy 197-8x. On the F-Class side, again from the master class, Andrew Anderson came out swinging with a 198-7x, and Mike Cobert in match five with a 197-9x. In Match six from the Master Class, Jeff Dick finished out the day with a 195-8x. Hanging around though would be that pesky John Rykhus, and his scores would prove to be enough to take home the gold in the end. The silver would wind up going to Chris Longley even though his barrel was barely holding on. On the F TR side, not much could be done to deny Drew “Ramblin’ Man” Rutherford the gold, and the silver going to Greg Seifert.
On the sling side, Morgen did just enough to hold on with an 1174-49x to take home the gold, and the Les Eckhart Memorial Trophy. Tom Thompson would take home the Iron Aggregate Trophy along with the silver. Erik, the ever-present “Taco” would hang on to take home the bronze, along with a promise to head to North Dakota to avenge all Minnesotans at the upcoming regional. As an aside we created a class at this years regional just for the Palma Rifles. Erik won this class by out X-ing Brad the “Crazy Finlander” Ylineimi 51 x’s to 42.
On Saturday we also had a team match and twelve brave souls stepped up. On the F-Class side, Team J&J (Joel Danielson and John Rykhus) took home the team win. Steve “Classic” Knutson and Erik “Taco” Rhode represented team Palma Alliance with team Captain Brian Mrnak as coach, taking home the big win.
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