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2019 Southwest Nationals – Ben Avery Shooting Complex – Phoenix, Arizona


Palma Alliance, New USNRT Members Shoot Well in Arizona

At the Southwest Nationals (SWN) Long Range Championship held at the Ben Avery Shooting Complex in Phoenix, AZ, 13-17 February 2019.  Many Palma Alliance members, and new U.S. National Rifle Team members, including Tony Miller, Yvonne Roberts, Steffen Bunde, Martin Gunderson, Phillip Klanderud, and Gabriel Stauffer were all fortunate enough to gain entry into the match when registration opened last September.  They had to be fast on the keyboard, as this year's match filled up in fifteen minutes.


While it was good to have a break from the damp, chilly Texas (not to mention Idaho, Minnesota, and Wisconsin winter weather), Phoenix was also cooler than expected as well as having standing water on the range itself.  The entire low-end in front of the 1000-yard line was a pond that got bigger as the week went by.  Everyone tried to figure out how to read the ripples to figure wind speed.  Still the wet made everything green, which was a treat for the desert and for our eyes.  The winds were typical for Ben Avery; they followed the direction of the sun with vicious fish-tailing around mid-day.  Relay placement could definitely be a factor, but that’s just part of the game.  We all looked forward to the team matches so someone else could be in charge of making the challenging calls.


On Valentine’s Day, teams formed up more or less upon association, so the Texans plus 1 formed US National Black Team which consisted of Tony Miller, Yvonne Roberts, Steffen Bunde and fellow USNRT, but not Palma Alliance member, “I won’t give up my 6.5x47” Jerry Iliff.  The other new USNRT members formed as Philly Dawg & The Strays which consisted of Palma Alliance member Martin Gunderson, along with Philip Klanderud, Bradley Yliniemi, and Gabriel Stauffer.  Due to weather forecasts calling for vicious rain, the Match Director elected to change the first day’s team match from a Palma format to 2x20 at 600 yards, so the long-range targets would not be ruined.  The light conditions were dark, and there was some moisture but the downpour delayed till the end.  The winds were strong and challenging, but generally manageable as shown by the scores and high X counts:


Thursday Team

Blazing Saddles (M. Kelley/O/ Milanovic):  1590-90

Philly Dawg & The Strays (G.Stauffer/P. Klanderud):  1587-82

US Rifle Team (b. Gill/R. Theurer):  1580-72

US National Team Black (J. Iliff/Y. Roberts):  1575-86

Competition Machine (G. Elisio/A. Thomas):  1560-86


After a day of individual Palma shooting and two individual 1000 yard matches, the teams formed up again on Saturday to battle it out with one more string at 1000 yards. Weather and Murphy took their toll on this day, as coaches struggled to figure out what was going on, and folks lined up on the wrong targets. When it was all said and done, the Blazing Saddles remained in first place – barely … US National Black held onto their hats and read the winds well enough to move from 4th to 2nd, while Philly Dawg & The Strays got pushed around and dropped into third.


Grand Agg.

Saturday Team

Blazing Saddles (M. Kelley/O/ Milanovic):  2347-108  (757-18)

US National Team Black (J. Iliff/Y. Roberts):  2346-107  (771-21)

Philly Dawg & The Strays (G.Stauffer/P. Klanderud):  2336-101  (749-19)

Competition Machine (G. Elisio/A. Thomas):  2332-111  (772-25)

US Rifle Team (b. Gill/R. Theurer):  2331-86  (751-14)



Tony, Yvonne and Jerry all shoot together in Texas and six other members of their local club, Panola County Gun Club, also made the trip.  For a complete listing of all the individual scores, please see the final match results in the 2019 folder at http://www.desertsharpshooters.com/results/highpower.

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