When the thermometer climbs up to the 100's, it must be time for the Big Orange!
This year's Big Orange Invitational (sponsored by Clay Delay and Brazos Forest Products) held true to form with temperatures reaching 102 degrees. Shooters gathered to find a different kind of 100 at the Ellis County Sportsmen's Club in scenic Waxahachie Texas during the last weekend of July.
Thanks to the tireless efforts of an all-volunteer staff, shade and home ice cream were on hand to help shooters beat the heat. And some targets were thrown as well.
For doubles on Friday, the wind wasn't much of a factor (and it would remain light throughout the shoot). Stewart McCoin of Oklahoma showed good mid-season form with a 97 to win the Doubles event. John Castillo grabbed runner up with a 96 and Teresa Botha won a hotly contested shoot off for third place honors with a score of 95. Carter Wehrheim took AAA with a 95. Other class winners were David Weintraub (AA), Mike Schmitt (A), Jack Trybus (B), Tom Deaton (C), and Todd Ward (D).
After some re-hydrating, it was time for the big guns to come out Saturday morning for the 12 gauge event. Two 100 straights were recorded by Stewart McCoin and Jay McGregor, with Stewart winning the shoot off for 12 gauge champion and Jay taking second. The who's who line of competitors shooting off for third place with 98s extended to the steps of the clubhouse, and Tami Myers came out on top of the field for third place. Class winners included Carter Wehrheim (AAA), Richard Funk (AA), Gary Edwards (A), Jim Speer (B), Mike Guthrie (C), Nathan Brooks (D) and Todd Ward (E).
After a lovely lunch and more ice cream, it was time to brave the heat again to find the 20 gauge champion. Carter Wehrheim had the sole 100 of the afternoon to take gun champ, followed by another big shoot off to see which 99 would take runner up. Lindsay Plesko edged out Mike Schmitt for second and third place, respectively. Class winners were Stewart McCoin (AAA), Hank Schmidt (AA), Jay McGregor (A), Robert Nicholas (B), Mike Fadal (C) and Colt Fadal (D).
On Sunday, the mercury climbed and the small gauge scores dipped. No 100s were recorded in the 28 gauge event, but after a very rousing and entertaining shoot off of the shooters with 99's, Jeff Zwiebel was the last man standing for 28 gauge gun champ, beating Stewart McCoin (runner up) and Carter Wehrheim (third) as well as a host of other top notch shooters. The rest of the event shook out as follows: Chris Simmons (AAA), Jay McGregor (AA), Kevin Arterburn (A), Jim Pierce (B), Thomas Wainscott (C) and Don Henslee (D).
If we are being honest, the 410 event was a grind. It was the last hot event of a hot weekend. At least, it was a grind for everyone except Chris Simmons, who shot the only 100 for 410 gun champ. Bill Myers took runner up alone with a 99. Carter Wehrheim, Stewart McCoin and Myron Gee shot off 98s for third. Wehrheim won the third place shoot off and McCoin took AAA with Gee taking AA. The rest of the class winners were Richard Funk (A), Rodney Beamsley (B), Nathan Brooks (C) and Mike Fadal (D).
Surprisingly, no shoot offs were necessary to determine overall HOA. Stewart McCoin won HOA with a score of 396, followed by Carter Wehrheim with a score of 395 and Chris Simmons with a 394. Class winners were John Castillo (AAA), Bill Myers (AA), Jay McGregor (A), Robert Nicholas (B), Edward Hay (C) and Colt Fadal (D).
The club and sponsors would like to thank all of the shooters that came from near and far to make this a great shoot, as well as the club and 4H volunteers that made this a safe and fun place to spend the weekend.