2015 Match Recap

2015 Pyramyd Air Cup Match Report

Another year has passed and now another Pyramyd Cup has come and gone.  It’s a whirlwind of an event that starts many months in advance.  The 2014 Cup was a great success, but we came away knowing there were major improvements to make.  With that said, the mission of the 2015 Cup was to do just that, IMPROVE.  It is my belief that the shooters that have attended both years would agree that we did just that and more!

With the help of the shooters at the Ohio Airgun and Field Target Shooters Association (OAFTSA), we were able to rigorously test targets and make necessary changes to ensure their functionality before the match.  With that taken care of, it was time to design a course.  Tusco Rifle Club in Midvale, Ohio does not offer much in the way of terrain variation.  The ranges are flat, bordered by high berms and dense woods and backed by towering rock walls.  This does not give a match director a lot of options when it comes to a layout that challenges a shooter with angles and tricky target placements.   Thanks to a suggestion made by Ray Apelles on one of the internet forums, I made the decision to lengthen the course.  After returning from the World Championships, it became even more clear to me that the biggest challenges are not tiny kill zones, but long shots in windy conditions on large kill zones.  This not only challenges a shooters wind doping abilities, but also their range finding.  Both courses were designed, targets were assigned to lanes and the initial Troyer ratings were challenging, at about 31.5 per course.

On the gunslinger side, the biggest change for the 2015 Cup was going to be that the targets were tied to the blocks they sit on.  This would shorten our set up time between rounds immensely.  We employed 130 lbs test dacron fishing line for this task.  About two feet of it was used and unless the string itself was shot, we didn’t see many actually detach from their lines.

Our set up crew headed down to the ranges on Thursday and began setting up for the match.  Sight in targets were placed every five yards with spinners and auto reset targets added in at random distances.  The gunslinger and FT ranges were set up in short order and benches were moved to accommodate the coming masses of shooters.  After the set up was done, we prepared the squads for FT and began to set up for our Pay Day Challenge.

The shooters gather on the sight in range early in the morning.

The shooters gather on the sight in range early in the morning.

Friday morning we were greeted by many familiar faces from around the country and some new ones as well.  Shooters came in from all over the country, and we even had one from Canada come down making the Cup an international match!  CA, GA, NY, IL, TN, NC, IN, MI, WI, KY, TX, OH, PA, ME, MD, AR and CT were all represented and I’m sure a few others I missed as well.  It was truly impressive and humbling to have 80+ competitors come out to spend their weekends shooting with us.  The guys from American Airgunner joined us as well to cover the event.  Rossi and the crew from Five Star Productions are a first class bunch and a group that I love seeing.  Rossi is so full of energy and despite being a little under the weather, he was raring to go and get some shooting in!

American Airgunner was on-hand to catch all of the exciting footage.

American Airgunner was on-hand to catch all of the exciting footage.

We started the Pay Day Challenge which was a 10 shot competition where competitors had to shoot three different guns at 1.5” targets at 15, 25 and 40 yards respectively.  The guns were pre-sighted in and the targets were the new Air Venturi Rat on a Run Field Targets that would be used largely in the FT competition as well.  Shooters took two standing shots at 15 yards with the Benjamin Marauder, three shots benched at 25 yards with the RWS Diana model 34 and five shots at 40 yards standing with the Air Arms S510 Ultimate Sporter.  As shooters filed through, it was very clear that the 40 yard standers would be the biggest challenge for shooters to overcome.  Most were lucky to hit it once or twice.  After 70+ shooters cycled through the line, two stood at the head of the pack.  Jeff Paddock of OH and Ron Brown of GA both knocked over 6 targets and would be in a shoot off for the $200 Pay Day!  The shoot off was a sudden death affair with the RWS Diana 34, but instead of benched shots, both shooters took turns at the 1.5” Rat target offhand!  This is no easy task but Ron Brown rose to claim the title on his second attempt, dropping the rat with authority.  Jeff could not match it.  Ron was beaming from ear to ear.  He’s a great customer of mine and one I consider a friend.  After shooting last years Cup, we talked for a bit and he ended up purchasing an FTP 900 and has been shooting FT matches in GA with great success for a newcomer.  This year, I was very pleased to see Ron do well and he even brought his buddy Andy Burns along who had just gotten hooked on the game.  That’s what it’s all about folks, bringing new shooters into the fold and shooting with your buds!  There’s nothing better!

Jeff Paddock shooting the RWS Diana Model 34 during our Payday Challenge.

Jeff Paddock shooting the RWS Diana Model 34 during our Payday Challenge sudden death shootoff.

Saturday morning came quickly and there was a much more serious tone in the air on the sight in range.  Not to mention a whole lot of rain!  Luckily, we were able to plan ahead this year and set the course up under the covered ranges at Tusco.  While the shooters remained dry, the targets did not.  We swapped one target that was hanging up because of the condensation and began the FT proceedings.  The shooters meeting was called and we covered any questions the shooters had.  Luckily, we had many experienced FT shooters that would be able to help the new folks along as they shot.  I was squadded with WFTF Piston shooter Leo Duran from Texas.  Leo is a great guy and one that I have known for a few years, he is the current Chairman of the American Airgun Field Target Association (AAFTA).  We were also joined by first time FT shooter Brent Tomey.  Brent is a great guy that I met earlier this year at the GTA Forum Fun Shoot in Kentucky.  He won their paintball challenge match in the springer division, so I knew he could shoot.  He started out on fire, nailed 3 out of 4 per lane for the first couple of lanes.  Leo and I struggled to find comfort in the tricky winds on range 7.  The range is about 40 yards across and the high berms make the wind swirl around fiercely.  I clearly recall the first shot on our first long target, my wind flag was moving steadily left to right in about a 6-7 mph wind, the first target was about 48 yards.  I found my hold about a 1/2” left of the kill zone, broke the trigger and promptly saw my pellet strike 2” to the LEFT of my hold!  I shook my head in disbelief, the pellet hit one the opposite side of where my wind flag was indicating.  This meant the wind on target was not only stronger than the wind I was feeling but that it was going in completely the opposite direction!  For the next 5 lanes, I was completely lost.  Eventually, the wind settled to a consistent point where I could accurately gauge the wind at my gun as well as on target.  A few targets required 2” or more of hold off for them to go down.  That can be scary because in some cases you risk not even hitting metal if the pellet goes where you’re aiming.  It was clear this was not just happening to me.  On a course of 48 shots, the top score came in from Harold Rushton with a 41.  For Harold to miss 7 shots, I knew that I had done something right in designing the course.  Greg Sauve was close behind missing 9 shots and finishing at 39.  Canada’s Tom Peretti was rock solid all day with a very good 38 but he was followed closely by the California kid, Kevin Yee at 35.  Both are world class shooters and tough competitors.

Tom Peretti of Canada shoots his HW77 during the Field Target competition.

Tom Peretti of Canada shoots his HW77 during the Field Target competition.

On range 8, we had the Hunter PCP shooters all together.  Their numbers were so overwhelming with over 35 competitors in the division, that we could not fit any other classes in with them.  Fellow OAFTSA club member Bill Rabbitt finished on top of the class and in the overall lead with a 46.  There were 52 shots on range 8, and he only missed 6 which was very impressive.  Former National Champ Bill Day was close behind, dropping just 8 in the cold and wet conditions.  Back on range 7, another OAFTSA member, Keith Walters finished tops in Hunter Piston with an impressive 33/48.  Keith is new to FT but has done very well this season.  I really look forward to seeing more from him.  Just behind Keith was my shooting partner on day one, Brent Tomey.  Brent finished with a 29.  He seemed really pleased with the score and for his first time on an FT course, I was truly impressed.  Eric Brewer (last years Sportsman Piston champion) was just one point back of Brent with a 28, so he was well within striking distance.

The shooters gathered for lunch and discussed the courses and the tricky conditions.  Ray Apelles (the 2014 Pro Piston Champ) made a special point to come over to me and say how pleased he was with the course.  Like myself, Ray is a glutton for punishment and appreciates the merits of a hard course.  He was particularly happy with the higher number of far targets.  Both courses were hovering around 34% of shots being over 46 yards.  By comparison, last years course only had about 24% of the targets over 46 yards.  I found it particularly interesting that in those conditions, a Hunter class shooter came out ahead.  It really showed how equalizing a longer course can be.  Often times we see WFTF shooters many shots ahead of Hunter class shooters but on this day, a Hunter shooter topped them all.  With the WFTF field featuring as many great champions as it did, that is no small achievement.

Thanks to our partners who attended - Hawke Sport Optics, Gamo and Umarex. gamo umarex

The gunslinger was set up and shooters were gathered for the first rounds.  The gunslinger is a bracket style tournament where speed is the name of the game.  Each shooter has 16, 1/10th scale silhouettes to clear.  PCP targets are at 25, 40, 50 and 60 yards, while springer targets are at 20, 30, 35 and 45 yards.  The shooters can use any position they like and most prefer benched.  The shooter that knocks over all of the silhouettes first, wins.  We planned to get through as many rounds as we could on Saturday in order to leave the semi-finals and finals matches for Sunday.  Thanks to the targets being tied to bricks, thus shortening the set up times we were able to get through all of the matches we needed to on Saturday.  There were many tight matches on the Piston side.  Keith Walters and Tom Peretti had a tight battle that came down to the last target as did Eric Brewer and Ray Apelles.  These match ups were so close that they had me a little nervous.  One shooter would be loading for the last shot just as the other was taking his last shot.  We are talking a 1-2 second difference between the two and that made all the difference in the end result.  We were quickly able to whittle things down to the 1st and 3rd place matches as there were just 13 shooters.  We saved those for Sunday as it would be Keith Walters and Paul Manktelow battling it out for the $250 3rd place prize and Ray Apelles vs. Hector Medina for the $1000 1st place prize.  On the PCP side, there were many more matches to run as there were 45 competitors in the draw.  We saw many tight matches including our first ever tie match between Rossi Morreale (Yes, the host of American Airgunner) and Doug Rogers.  They finished their last target at the exact same time, so a shoot off was needed with each shooter having to knock down one silhouette at each of the distances (25, 40, 50 and 60 yards) to determine the winner.  Rossi came out on top and advances.  He actually made it all the way to the quarter finals, winning 3 rounds to get there.  He eventually lost to Bill Rabbitt.  Rabbitt went up against Dennis Himes in the Semi-finals and lost in a close match.  In the other half of the draw, Jeff Paddock and Ted Bier squared off, with Bier winning in a landslide.  Ted’s purpose built FX Royale set up definitely turned heads but made a believer out of me during his first round.  I was skeptical of having the scope mounted so high, but when I saw Ted run it there was no convincing needed….it’s the way to go for this kind of competition.  This set up the final between Ted and Dennis and a third place match against shooting buddies and club mates Bill and Jeff.

Bill Rabbitt shooting his Benjamin Marauder during the competition.

Saturday evening we got to enjoy each others company at the banquet dinner.  The banquet is always fun as you get to mingle with everyone and meet various industry personalities.  Pyramyd Air founder and CEO Josh Ungier was on hand and gave a short speech, thanking all who attended for their support.  Rossi then headed up the raffles.  There was an RWS 48 package, Hawke Airmax 30 8-32x scope, sleeve of JSB Express pellets with 5 boxes of JSB 8.4 grain premiums and a Remington package including an Express Air rifle and various Remington targets.  I put a good number of tickets into the scope and pellets bowls.  As the pellets came up, I whispered to one of my table mates, “I’ve got a good feeling about this one.”  Sure enough, my number was called and I went to collect my pellets.  Next was the rifle.  Ted Bier was pulling the tickets and he pulled his own number!  Ted’s reaction was priceless, and as he collected up the gun, he came to the realization that he has no idea how to shoot a springer!  Just kidding Ted.  He walked over to a young boy who was attending the banquet with his parents and handed him the gun.  The boy began jumping up and down and you could hear screams of joy.  The young boys name was Gavin and he is the son of one of my co-workers here at Pyramyd Air, Ruth Kass.  Both her and Gavin were taken back by the display of generosity as was the crowd.  As the night was winding down, Gavin was carrying his new gun out to the car and I asked if he had any ammo for it.  He said he did not and I tossed him a box of the premium JSB’s to try out.  Hopefully they shoot well for him and he enjoys it.  Word around the office is that he already has been pestering his mom about shooting in the 2016 Cup using his new RWS 48.

A young airgunner with his RWS 48 courtesy of Ted Bier.

A young airgunner with his RWS 48 courtesy of Ted Bier.

Sunday morning came in with sunlight and no chance of rain in the forecast!  We gathered at the range and sight in began.  I did my best to squad the top shooters in each class with one another and sent everyone off to get started.  Shooters switched courses this time around.  I was up on the 52 shot course on range 8 and got the chance to shoot with a very good friend of mine, my Dad.  He came up for the Cup with his FT rig and didn’t do so well on day one, so I decided he would shoot with me on day two since we were both well out of contention and hadn’t gotten to chat much.  We had a great time!  The day was a bit more manageable with better sunlight and heat but the wind was still imposing its will.  The only cold lines that were called were due to strings coming undone, which I can deal with in comparison to target problems.

In WFTF PCP, Harold Rushton continued his dominance, only dropping 6 shots.  This was enough to maintain his lead as well as overtake overall match leader Bill Rabbitt for the overall top spot shooting an 87/100.  Bill took Hunter PCP top honors with an 84/100.  Bill also won the Sportsman PCP division last year, so this was no surprise to me.  Open PCP held our only shoot off on the FT side, with Roger Barker and Nic Gregoris squaring off in a head to head shoot off for 2nd place.  After 3 rounds, Roger dropped the target, and Nic did not, so Roger took second place, only bettered by Al Otter who shot 60/100 for the top spot.  Just a quick note on Nic, he is just 16 and has already been shooting FT for a few years, it’s my opinion that we will hear much more from Nic.  He is an excellent shooter and a great young man, he has a bright future in this game if he sticks with it!  In Hunter Piston, Keith Walters held on to his day one lead and shot the top score again with a 31 for a total of 64/100.  To win his class in his first Grand Prix match is a huge achievement and something to be proud of.  Way to go Keith!  In WFTF Piston, Tom Peretti maintained his dominance with a 41/52 to bring his total to 79/100.  I bet he’s glad he made the trip down from Canada after that showing!  After the wind was factored in, the 31T starting rating jumped to a 39T average between the two courses.  That is a very high for a GP match these days and the wind contributed heavily to that.  A windy course that is longer than most will wreak havoc on shooters, regardless of class, simple as that!

Harold Rushton displays his hard-earned Air Arms FTP 900. Way to go Harold.

Harold Rushton displays his hard-earned Air Arms FTP 900. Way to go Harold!

After the match concluded, we gathered everyone for the final matches of the gunslinger competition.  This event is arguably the only airgun spectator sport and can be a real nail biter.  We started with the 3rd place matches.  Bill Rabbitt vs. Jeff Paddock in PCP and Keith Walters vs. Paul Manktelow in Piston.  Both Bill and Keith won in dominant fashion, securing $250 prizes each.  Then came the first place matches.  On the PCP side, Ted Bier and Dennis Himes and for Piston we had Ray Apelles and Hector Medina Gomez square off.  Ted and Dennis put on a great match.  Dennis was a shot up on Ted in the beginning as Ted struggled with the close chickens out of the gate.  As Dennis started making his way through the second row of targets, he had a pellet jam as he was loading and gave Ted an opening.  Ted seized the moment and pulled away.  As Dennis got back into the mix, Ted had found his groove and took an extra second on his final 60 yard target to ensure he made the shot to take the title and $1000 grand prize.  On the springer side, we saw a clash of conflicting styles.  Hector who shot in the FT position and Ray who shot from the bench.  Ray was clearly faster and made fairly quick work of Hector to claim his second gunslinger win in as many years.  Both Ray and Ted are repeat champions and that is quite an accomplishment as there was a ton of great competition this year.

As things calmed down, scores were totaled, awards were presented and a group picture was taken.  Grand prize on the FT side was the Air Arms FTP 900.  This was taken home by the overall match high score holder, Harold Rushton.  Congrats Harold on winning a tough match and good luck with the new Air Arms rifle, I am sure you will love it!  Various other prizes were available including multiple Hawke Airmax 30 scopes, an Airforce Condor SS, a Walther Rotek, an HW97KT, an Feinwerkbau Sport, a Walther LGU and many, many more prizes.  Those that placed first, second and third in their classes all went home with prizes.

Lots of trophies handed out – big congrats to the top place finishers!

The 2015 Pyramyd Air Cup was a great match.  The Field Target was challenging but still quite fun despite the unpleasant Saturday weather and the tricky winds.  The gunslinger was a blast as always and left competitors and observers wanting more!  First and foremost, I want to thank each and every competitor that turned up for the event.  It is truly humbling to see the out pouring of support through attendance.  To get another 30+ competitors to the match in just a year is a big jump and I have a feeling it will be larger next year.  Tusco is already at capacity for the FT event so we may have to see about using some more of their ranges for next years match.  It’s definitely a good problem to have and one that I look forward to having to address.  Anyway, thanks to everyone that came out and made the event special.  I’d also like to give a special thanks to Umarex USA and the American Airgunner guys.  The additional coverage of the event will be excellent for the competition and the sport of Airgunning.  They do a first class job of bringing airguns to the masses and I look forward to the footage from the Cup.  I’d also like to thank my fellow employees from top to bottom that help make this match go off so smoothly.  It takes a coordinated team effort to make the Cup happen and without our team here at Pyramyd Air, the Cup simply would not happen.  To all of the sponsors that sent prizes and swag for the shooters and to the ones that attended, your support means the world to me and the event.  There is nothing better than getting to involve various companies in an event like this, it gives the shooters a chance to put a face to the name and allows customers a chance to handle emerging products that are either not in the market yet or just hitting the shelves.  A huge thanks goes out to Ted Bier as well.  Ted is an excellent guy and one of the most generous folks I’ve ever met.  He not only donated his raffle prize, but he also donated his $1000 prize for gunslinger to three junior shooters that impressed him over the weekend.  What a guy!  To everyone that makes the Pyramyd Air Cup what it is, I say thank you.  To my friends, both old and new I look forward to next year and hope to see you all at other matches between now and then!

Until next time, shoot safe and see you on the lanes!

Tyler Patner

A group shot of the competitors and PA Staff. Another successful competition!

A group shot of the competitors and PA Staff. Another successful competition!

Final Scores (out of 100)

WFTF PCP
1st Harold Rushton – 87
2nd Greg Sauve – 83
3rd Tom Holland – 79
Keith Knoblauch – 77
Jeff Paddock – 75
Brian Vandenboom – 67
Tyler Patner – 67
Nathan Thomas – 63
Mark LaPointe – 59
Ron Brown – 54
Howard Patner – 12
Victor Valentino – DNS

Open PCP
1st Al Otter – 60
2nd Roger Barker – 56
3rd Nic Gregoris – 56
Skip Tenney – 55
Stan Lipinski – 38
Mark Oehlberg – 17
Mike Harris – DNF

Hunter Piston
1st Keith Walters – 64
2nd Brent Tomey – 59
3rd Paul Manktelow – 55
Eric Brewer – 54
Michael Finchum – 43
Spike Bachman – 18
David Kokai – 16
Don Askew – 15 (Day 1 only)
Peg Brewer – 6 (Day 2 only)

WFTF Piston
1st Tom Peretti – 79
2nd Ray Apelles – 72
3rd Kevin Yee – 71
Hector Medina Gomez – 66
Charles Christensen – 27
Leo Duran – DNF

Hunter PCP
1st Bill Rabbitt – 84
2nd Dennis Himes – 80
3rd Bill Day – 78
Tom Himes – 71
Sean McDaniel – 64
Phillip Guadalupe – 63
Glenn Thomas – 59
Cory Bach – 57
Mike Clark – 57
Doug Rogers – 56
Daniel James Bott – 56
Andrew Burns – 56
Wallace Malheiros – 48
Grant Harsin – 47
Sue Tenney – 46
Pat Milligan – 45
Betsy Dunlap – 44
Rossi Morreale – 42
Ben Smith – 38
Steven Koscick – 37
Garrett Ellison – 35
Cameron Ellison – 35
Eric Arnold – 35
Shawn Pragle – 33
Joe Tricomi – 31
Gary Palinkas – 29
David Qualls – 21
John Barcik – 21 (Day 1 only)
Charles Harsin – 20
Ruth Kass – 15 (Day 1 only)
Richard McHenry – 5 (Day 1 only)
Lynn Heckman – 5 (Day 1 only)
Jack Antalek – 4 (Day 1 only)
Ted Bier – DNF
John Fitzgerald – DNF
Peter Samplaski – DNF
Bob Otto – DNS
Corey Zielinski – DNS
Sam Wolkoff – DNS

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