Juniors Excel at the Spindletop Regional!

USA SOUTH CENTRAL REGION – The 2023 Spindletop Silhouette Smallbore/Air Rifle Regional, held on March 31st through April 2nd, was the first of the outdoor Smallbore Championship Matches of the 2023 South Central shooting season.

This match, in its 3rd year of existence, is held at the fine range facilities of the Golden Triangle Gun Club in Beaumont, Texas and is fast becoming a favorite event for Silhouette shooters. It is also the 3rd match of the season in the Louisiana/Texas area where the Louisiana Juniors have demonstrated their growing prowess in Silhouette! Our Silhouette sport will be in good hands if we can export what these Louisiana juniors are doing into other NASSA Regions. More on that to come in future NASSA Press Releases…….

The Golden Triangle Gun Club Range was open for smallbore and air rifle practice the entire day on Friday before the match. Twenty-four competitors signed up for the Spindletop Silhouette Air Rifle Regional on Friday afternoon consisting of (2) 40-shot matches. Twenty-seven competitors signed up for the Spindletop Silhouette Smallbore Regional consisting of (2) 40-shot standard rifle matches on Saturday and finishing up with (2) 40-shot hunter rifle matches on Sunday.

Spindletop Silhouette Air Rifle Regional (March 31)

Unlike the first two Spindletop Silhouette Regional Championships, this year a second Silhouette Air Rifle individual match was added to qualify as a NRA Regional Championship Match. Spindletop Match Director Ronnie Page did so to support the NASSA South Central Regional Initiative to bolster Silhouette Air Rifle in our region. If you consider that 24 of the 27 shooters that shot the Silhouette smallbore matches also shot air rifle on Friday, we have come a long way to make Silhouette Air Rifle an integral part of our shooting programs in the USA South Central Region.

Silhouette shooters had to choose either Sporter, Target or Open Air Rifle before the match started Friday afternoon and continued to shoot with their chosen rifle for the 80-shot aggregate. NRA Regional Medals in Gold, Silver and Bronze were awarded for each air rifle discipline, so there is a strategy on which rifle to pick depending on what your competition shot!

Silhouette Air Rifle Competitors on the Firing Line

When everyone arrived to shoot Silhouette Air Rifle on Friday, they knew it was going to be a very rough day as the winds were switching and blowing at 10-20 mph mixed in with a little rain. No better way to learn wind doping than to shoot a target air rifle with a pellet velocity of 580fps in these types of conditions!

Open Class:

Dustin Flint and his spotter extraordinaire Jerry Tureau got off to a blistering start in Open Class considering the conditions with a 34/40 in the first 40-shot match. The next three highest scores in this same class were junior Aiden Cole and Chris Cawthorne shooting a 28/40 followed by Allen Corneau with a 25/40.

Conditions in the 2nd 40-shot match improved slightly and nerves settled down resulting in improved scores. Dustin and Jerry were on fire with Dustin shooting a strong 38/40 and clinching the Open Class Regional Gold Medal with a total of 72/80. Chris Cawthorne shot a 33/40 and finished second in Open Class with a 61/80, winning the Open Class Silver Regional Medal. Junior Aiden Cole shot a 30/40 in the second match for a total of 58/40. Allen Corneau made a strong comeback charge in the second match with a 33/40 for a total of 58/80 and tied Aiden Cole in the aggregate. Allen and Aiden would go to a shoot-off which was won by Aiden Cole for the Open Class Regional Bronze Medal.

Target Class:

Target Class in winds up to 20 mph is just plain miserable due to slow pellet velocity. Considering these conditions, junior shooter KG Bourgoyne got off to a strong start in the first match with a very respectable 27/40 followed by Jerry Tureau with a 26/40. Junior shooter Reese Burnett followed with a 22/40. Junior shooter Dominic Debenedetto just trailed Reese shooting a 21/40 in those very tough conditions!

In the second match, KG Bourgoyne poured it on with an excellent 32/40 and clinched the Target Class Regional Gold Medal with a total of 59/60. Jerry Tureau fired a 27/40 in the second match and secured the Target Class Regional Silver Medal with a total of 53/80. Junior shooters Reese Burnett finished the second match with a 25/40 with junior shooter Dominic Debenedetto besting her by one point at 27/40. Reese and Dominic tied in the aggregate at 47/80 and went into a shoot-off in which Reese won to capture the Target Class Regional Bronze Medal.

Sporter Class:

The two senior Silhouette veterans Bruce Finley and Bill Motl fought those nasty conditions in the first match with a 26/40 and 25/40 respectively. Carrie Clever shot a 17/40 just leading Kenny Landers firing a 15/40.

In the second match, it would all boil down to the best wind doping and a bit of good luck as both Bruce and Bill are very good at Sporter Rifle! Bill had the wind in his sails and shot a fabulous 32/40 to end up clinching the Sporter Class Regional Gold Medal with an aggregate of 57/80. Bruce followed with a 24/40 in the second match, an aggregate score of 50/80 and the Sporter Class Regional Silver Medal. Carrie Cleaver would hold off Kenny Landry with scores of 15/40 and 10/40 respectively. Carrie took home the Sporter Class Regional Bronze Medal for her efforts.

2023 Spindletop Silhouette Air Rifle Regional Medals Summary

Open Air Rifle Class

Gold Medal – Dustin Flint (72/80)

Silver Medal – Chris Cawthorne (61/80)

Bronze Medal – Aidan Cole (58/80)

Target Air Rifle Class

Gold Medal – KG Bourgoyne (59/60)

Silver Medal – Jerry Tureau (53/80)

Bronze Medal – Reese Burnett (47/80)

Sporter Air Rifle Class

Gold Medal – Bill Motl (57/80)

Silver Medal – Bruce Finley (50/80)

Bronze Medal– Carrie Clever (32/80)

Click on the link below for the 2023 Spindletop Silhouette Air Rifle Regional Results. You can find all 2023 Championships Results as they become available on the NASSA USA Championship Results Webpage!

Spindletop Silhouette Smallbore Rifle Regional (April 1-2)

Standard Rifle Regional:

Wind conditions improved Saturday, but shooters still had to contend with shifts and barrels being nudged by the wind at times. This would take a bit of a toll in the scores being shot for the day.

2023 Spindletop Silhouette Smallbore Regional Firing Line

In the morning standard rifle match, the top shooter scores were bunched with Dustin Flint leading with a 36/40 followed by junior Aiden Cole (35/40), Erich Mietenkorte (35/40), Emmett Dibble (34/40), junior Micah Waguespack (34/40), Chris Cawthorne (33/40) and Allen Corneau (33/40).

Conditions degraded a bit in the afternoon standard rifle match and with it some separation in the total aggregate scores. Erich Mietenkorte topped the second match with a 34/40 followed by Dustin Flint (33/40), junior Aiden Cole (33/40), Chris Cawthorne (32/40), Allen Corneau (32/40), and junior Micah Waguespack (32/40).

For the smallbore standard rifle aggregate, Dustin Flint and Erich Mietenkorte tied for the lead with a total score of 69/40 and headed for a turkey shoot-off in tricky wind conditions. Erich prevailed after an exciting 10-shot shoot-off and took the Smallbore Standard Rifle Regional Gold Medal with Dustin taking the Silver Medal. Consistency for junior shooter Aiden Cole (35/40 & 33/40) earned him the Smallbore Standard Rifle Regional Bronze Medal with a fine total of 68/80!

Hunter Rifle Regional:

While we enjoyed another pretty day Sunday, wind conditions still remained tricky. In the morning match, junior shooter Micah Waguespack fired off an impressive 37/40 with juniors KG Bourgoyne and Aiden Cole both just behind at 35/40 each. This was followed by Emmett Dibble (34/40), Dustin Flint (33/40), Chris Cawthorne (32/40) and Erich Mietenkorte (32/40). So when was the last time you were at a Silhouette Regional where three juniors topped the leader board whose total ages combined are well under my age? This is absolutely phenomenal!

The junior performance in the first match must have lit a fire under the Silhouette veterans as Dustin Flint won the afternoon match with a (36/40) followed by Bill Motl (35/40), Chris Cawthorne (34/40), junior Aiden Cole (34/40), KG Bourgoyne (33/40), and Erich Mietenkorte (33/40).

For the smallbore hunter rifle aggregate, Dustin captured the Hunter Rifle Regional Gold Medal with a 70/80 total score. Consistency by junior shooter Aiden Cole captured the Hunter Rifle Regional Silver Medal with an aggregate score of 69/80. Junior shooter KG Bourgoyne was just behind to take the Hunter Rifle Bronze Medal with an aggregate score of 68/40. This was followed by Chris Cawthorne (66/80), Micah Waguespack (66) and Erich Mietenkorte (65/80).

Spindletop Smallbore Grand Aggregate:

When the dust settled, Dustin captured the Spindletop Smallbore Grand Aggregate (standard and hunting rifle scores combined) with a total of 139/160 (69/40 & 70/40). This was followed by junior Aiden Cole (137/160), Erich Mientenkorte (134/160), Chris Cawthorne (131/160) and junior shooter Micah Waguespack (129/160). One big note about Micah’s score was that he had to leave before he shot his very last relay on Sunday. So imagine if he could add his turkey bank score to his total!

2023 Spindletop Silhouette Smallbore Regional Medals Summary

Smallbore Standard Rifle Class

Gold Medal – Erich Mietenkorte (69/80)

Silver Medal – Dustin Flint (69/80)

Bronze Medal – Aidan Cole (68/80)

Smallbore Hunter Rifle Class

Gold Medal – Dustin Flint (70/80)

Silver Medal – Aidan Cole (69/80)

Bronze Medal – KG Bourgoyne (58/80)

2023 Spindletop Silhouette Smallbore Grand Aggregate (Top 9)

1) Dustin Flint (139/160)

2) Aidan Cole (137/160)

3) Erich Mietenkorte (134/160)

4) Chris Cawthorne (131/160)

5) Micah Waguespack (129/160)*

6) KG Bourgoyne (128/131)

*Micah had to leave the match prior to his last bank of turkeys.

7) Emmett Dibble (123/160)

8) Allen Corneau (123/160)

9) Bill Motl (123/160)

Click on the link below for the 2023 Spindletop Silhouette Standard & Hunter Rifle Regional Results. You can find all 2023 Championships Results as they become available on the NASSA USA Championship Results Webpage!

Some Last Thoughts on the Louisiana Juniors’ Performance

All of us veteran Silhouette shooters that attended the 2023 Spindletop Regional could not be more proud of juniors Reese Burnett, Dominic Debenedetto, KG Bourgoyne, Aiden Cole and Micah Wagnespeck. We have all watched as they have progressed and now contend for top honors within our Championship Matches.

Juniors (left to right) Reese Burnett (shooting), Dominic Debenedetto (shooting), KG Bourgoyne and Aiden Cole

To put it in perspective, of the 15 total NRA Regional Gold, Silver and Bronze Medals awarded, these juniors captured 6 out of the 15. It probably would have been more if Reese did not have to leave Saturday morning to attend her Senior Prom and Micah Wagnespack did not have to leave before the matches finished on Sunday!

I would also like to give a special shout-out to junior Reese Burnett and Templet’s Printing for designing and distributing special match t-shirts for the Coop Shoot, the Shamrock Silhouette Shoot-Out and this Spindletop Regional. This is something she has plans for future matches as well.

These juniors are next back in action at the Louisiana Smallbore and Air Rifle State Championships on May 6-7, 2023. I can guarantee that many veteran Silhouette shooters such as myself will be at the practice range a bit more trying to hold back this junior tide!