Two weeks ago was the annual Northwestern Gun Club 3-day OTC Match, which this year also served as the Minnesota State Match Rifle OTC Championship. The matches were run by Jim Fernandez, and the line was called by the ever entertaining Steve Billmier. Friday was an individual 80 shot course, followed by the 2-person team state championship on Saturday, and the 80 round individual state championship on Sunday. There was no grand aggregate for the weekend because of the state championship matches on Saturday and Sunday.
The forecast for the weekend was iffy, but the rain held off until the evening hours every day and we managed to avoid getting wet while shooting all three days. Friday and Sunday were windy, but Saturday gave us a very calm and gorgeous day to be on the range. The mosquitos were hungry in the morning hours but they were nothing that a splash of your favorite flavor of diethyltoluamide couldn’t keep away.
Friday was a good practice match for many, with 11 of us shooting. The day started out windy. Standing was tough with heady gusts blowing at our backs. Jeff “Rooster” Jezierski shot patently and managed an excellent 193-4x. Lorne Smith took the master class with a 183-2x and Jared Zollner won the combined class with a 176-1x. Jeff and Lorne had repeat performances, outscoring the rest of us in the 200 yard sitting and 300 yard prone rapid-fire matches. At 500 yards, Mark Rohmann and his 6XC, gave us all a good licking by shooting 198-10x. At the end of the day, Jeff took match winner with a 783-23x. Lorne Smith’s 765-16x won him the master class and Mark Schoess won the combined class with a 726-12x.
Saturday was the MN State Team OTC championship. This year’s format was 2 man teams and a National Match 50 shot course. We had 8 teams form up at the start of the day. The calm weather made standing less of a chore then it was on Friday. Jeff and I managed to only lose 4 points in standing. Dan “M14” Marquardt and Lorne Smith, brandishing their service rifles, shot a pair of 95’s. The Zollner brothers also came charging out of the gate putting up a 95-2x and a 92-1x. In 200 yard sitting rapid-fire, Dan and Lorne again went “twinsies” and put up a pair of 99’s. Jeff and I traded scorecards, this time he lost 1 and I lost 3. Back at 300, Dick and Jim Creedmoored Jeff and I by shooting a 199-12x combined, and Lorne and Dan weren’t far behind us with 198-4x. At 500 yards, Jeff and I had a pair of 198’s. Mark Schoess and Brandon Swanson had a very nice 197 and a 196.
Jeff and I managed a 987-39x all together, putting the MN OTC team trophies back where they belong, at NWGC. Lorne and Dan took second place with a 959-29x and right behind them were Dick and Jim with a 954-32x.
We had 18 shooters for the individual state OTC championship on Sunday. Friday’s gusty wind conditions were back and already blowing hard for the first relay of standing. In standing, Jeff worked very hard for an excellent 194-6x. Lorne Smith was next in line with a very nice 191, taking the master class. In rapid sitting, Jeff was the only one to clean both strings for a 200-8x. Behind him were Dan, Lorne, EZ, and myself all with 199’s. In 300 rapids, EZ and Jim Biles gave us all a run for our money. Elliot and Jim both shot 200-8x’s but EZ’s second string was good for 5x’s over Jim’s 3x, giving EZ the win at 300. Back to 500 yards we went for the final string of the weekend. Craig Bennis, Jeff, and I all put up 199’s, but Jeff’s 15x Creedmoored Craig’s score by one x and mine by a handful of x’s. Larry Weidell took the master class win at 500 with a 197-11x.
With a strong performance all day, it was clear who the 2017 MN OTC Match Rifle State Champ would be well before the scores were tallied.
Jeff Jezierski made mincemeat out of all of us, shooting an excellent 792-36x, taking the win, a car full of trophies, and more state champ bragging rights for the next year.
The High Senior trophy went to Larry Weidell for his 770-17x.
Elliot Zunich took home the 300 yard rapid fire trophy as well as the High Grand Senior trophy with his 768-23x.
The master class was taken by Lorne Smith with a high master looking 782-26x.
“That’s bold talk for a one eye’d fat man.” said Dan Marquardt with a smile, taking a friendly poke at Jeff with a quote from the movie True Grit after Saturday’s matches.
Images of Rooster Cogburn will now float into my head every time I shoot with Jeff. He is an accomplished competitor that took a hiatus after having the cornea in his right eye detach causing some vision loss in his right eye. Jeff wandered back on to the range a few years ago with an offset sight set for his rifles but the rule changes to allow optical sights for OTC, first in service rifle and now in match rifle, have allowed him to get back to shooting some very serious scores. Elliot Zunich, after Jeff’s results in this year’s match rifle and services rifle state championships, has officially declared vision loss an invalid excuse for a bad score or giving up shooting.
It was a great weekend of shooting. The matches were run efficiently and the range was in great shape. There can’t be enough said about the work Jim Fernandez does as the High Power chair at the NWGC. He is the man.
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