Maine Firecracker & State Championship
Report by Randy Jarvais for IBS
On Memorial Day weekend we honor fallen heroes. And for score shooters, that time of year also means the Maine Firecracker and 100-200-300 State Championship. The Firecracker represents one of four opportunities in IBS score shooting to earn the coveted 750 sticker. In score shooting you fire one record shot per bullseye, with five scored bulls per target sheet (plus a sighter bull), and five sheets per yardage. Thus, there is a maximum score of 250 per yardage, or 750 points for a 3-day championship.
What started years ago as a two-day affair in July (hence the name “Firecracker”), morphed to three yardages in two towns. To allow for three days of shooting, the event shifted to Memorial Day weekend. Orrington Rod & Gun Club hosts the 100- and 200-yard stages, but since Orrington lacks a 300-yard option, the venue shifts to the Lincoln County Rifle Club (Damariscotta, ME) for the third and final leg.
|Grand Agg Winners — 2014 Maine Firecracker and 100-200-300 State Championship|
Varmint for Score:
|Grand Agg winners were a repeat of 2013. Like last year, Wayne France shoot consistently well to take VFS honors (though he did not win a yardage). Gary Long won two of the three yardages in Hunter Class to take the Grand. Dean Breeden was the Two-Gun winner with 1469-58X. He was the only shooter to shoot two guns. Dean had High X-Count in each class with 35X and 23X respectively.|
|CLICK HERE for Spreadsheet with Complete Firecracker and 100-200-300 Match Results|
There were 36 guns for Saturday’s start at Orrington. The field included the top 5 finishers in last year’s Varmint for Score (VFS) Shooter of the Year standings, and 6 of the top 7 Hunter Class shooters. The forecast for the weekend called for showers early with some breaks of sun plus the added possibility of thunder showers during the 300-yard stage. For the most part, the forecast was correct.
Butch Randall with a Patriotic Rig
Last-Minute Enhancements at Orrington
As shooters arrived on the eve of the tournament to register, I am sure they didn’t believe their eyes. The Orrington club had literally just finished pouring concrete for a modular system of target frames at two hundred yards. The 100-yard version was poured that morning. An excavator sat in front of a huge mound of dirt at 75 yards, while a bulldozer was back-filling around the freshly poured concrete at 100 yards. Amazingly the range was finished and the new target frames were ready to go the next morning. Orrington is quite rural despite being just a few miles away from Bangor,one of the larger cities in Maine.
Hillary Martinez Shows the Boys How It’s Done at 100 Yards
The VFS 100-yard leg at Orrington was a run-away. While most struggled with the switchy 7-15 mph conditions, one shooter found her stride early and put a whupping on the other competitors. Hillary Martinez, a third year Breeden protégé, was marvelous throughout the day. Coming off a recent 200-yard win at Fairfax, Virgina, Hillary took the lead in match 2 and then ran away from the field. On a range where 18 or 19 Xs are usually good enough to win, Hillary hit the dot 23 of 25 times. That’s outstanding to say the least! Greg Palman, the Orrington match director, creedmoored Dick Grosbier for second place. Both men garnered 250-19X scores.
In Hunter Class, veteran shooter Gary Long jumped out to an early lead with a 50-4X target. Not to be outdone, Scott Garman followed up with a 50-4X target of his own in Match 2. Dean Breeden and Charles Brock then moved ahead. At day’s end, Dean’s finished first with a 250-11X, followed by Charles at 250-10X. Third went to Orland Bunker.
With similar conditions as Saturday, Sunday’s 200-yard stage started with overcast skies and mild winds. In VFS, Wayne France put up a 50-4X for an early lead. Dean shot a masterful 50-5X in Match 3. By day’s end, four shooters shot clean to earn a 500 sticker. Dean Breeden shot a 250-12X for the win, followed by John Cascarino with a 250-10X. Third went to Randy Jarvais with 250-8X. The 4th “clean” shooter was Wayne France with a 250-7X. Gary Long was the lone 6-power shooter clean after Match 1. Long finished with a 248-5X, good enough for first place. After two days at Orrington, awards were handed out. The Top Performers for the 100-200 Grand Agg at Orrington were:
VFS: Dean Breeden 500-31X; John Cascarino 500-23X; Randy Jarvais 500-22X
Hunter: Gary Long 496-20X; Charles Brock 496-13X; Dean Breeden 495-21X
Setting Up the Wind Flags and Wind Probes at Orrington
Moving On to Lincoln County
The Lincoln County Rifle Club resides in Damariscotta, Maine which is a community surrounded by lakes and coastal waterways. The ocean is but a few miles away thus the wind conditions at the range can be adversely affected by the tides, or so goes the tale. Whether true or not, only five people in the history of this range had ever shot a 250 at 300 yards and this range has participated in IBS score shoots for decades. Three of the five were present to try again.
Tough Conditions at 300 Yards
After Match 1, of the 35 guns, only six VFS and one Hunter managed a 50. That left but three shooters with hopes of earning a 750 sticker. The wind became the story of the day as it continued to accelerate and switch directions irregularly and constantly. By the conclusion of Match 2 at Lincoln County, no one was getting a 250 sticker and the leaders were down by two. This author shot on Relay 1 and I can categorically tell you it did not lull on my watch!
Under the Eaves at the Lincoln County Rifle Club, Damariscotta, Maine
It became a game of survival and it was not a matter of if you were going to drop a point (or two, or three) but when and how many. Ask Jim Goody or John Cascarino about their errant shots during Match 4 that went from one scoring box all the way to another resulting in a minus 10 points with one shot. Don’t forget that they were holding wide for the wind already. Oh, by the way, they were on Relay 1 and were in or near the “honey hole”. Yeach, right! Both dropped 14 points in the one match.
So… who best survived the tough conditions at 300 yards? VFS honors go to Frank Danisienka (245-0X), Andy Buzzell (244-4X), and Kim Llewellyn (244-3X). In Hunter Class, the top three were Gary Long (240-2X), Peter Hills (239-2X), and Charles Brock (235-1X).
The Long Walk to the 300-yard Targets at Lincoln County