Illinois Competitor Profiles

Brandon Liefer

 

This edition brings us long time top Illinois competitor Brandon Leifler.

Brandon Liefer, 41, represents South Zone shooters on the Illinois Sporting Clays Association board. But he’s also one of the most active competitive shooters in the state, registering more than 13,000 targets in both 2017 and 2018!

It’s no wonder that he says he shoots “everywhere I can and can find registered targets.” But his favorite places to shoot are the two where he is a member, Faller’s Sporting Clays in Butler, Illinois and FLC Shooting Grounds in White Hall, home of this year’s state championship.

Brandon, who is a manager at Weir Chevrolet Buick GMC in Red Bud, Illinois, started shooting clays just eight years ago, when he was on a Sunday morning drive. His route took him past the World Shooting Recreational Complex in Sparta, where a charity tournament was in progress. He stopped in, was invited to join, and a passion was born.

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His first significant shooting memory? “Getting into the Lucky Number shootoff at the Kentucky State Championship my first year and never hitting a target.” It’s safe to say things have gotten better since.

Over the years, Brandon has punched his way into Master class, and two special highlights along the way were winning his class in the True Pair side event at the 2012 U.S. Open in Minnesota and scoring a sensational 49x50 in the side by side event at the 2017 Illinois State Championship, also held at FLC.

Brandon’s main gun is a Krieghoff K-80, and he uses Winchester No. 8s, Pure Gold chokes and Pilla shooting glasses. He likes to practice twice a week, weather permitting, and keeps each practice session to 75 or 100 shells.

His advice to new shooters is to buy the best equipment they can afford and stick with it, and to begin lessons with a coach or instructor as soon as possible to get started the right way. Brandon himself works with three coaches – Gary Fitzjarrell of FLC, Eric Harvey of Missouri and World FITASC Champion Derrick Mein. He shoots sustained lead or swing-through, depending on the target.

As for the mental side of the sport, he always looks at show targets twice – once to develop his plan and once to refine it. While competing, he says that “Ed Cowman’s humor usually puts my mind in the right place.”

Shooting so many targets means Brandon is on the road quite a bit. But his wife also enjoys going to the events, so that allows him to travel to as many as 45 shoots a year. You might think he has no spare time, but Brandon does enjoy hunting.

And like many others, he thinks our sport could be improved by “attracting more youth and new shooters so that the sport grows.”

Next time you see him, take a moment to say “hi” to Brandon, one of Illinois’ Iron Man shooters.

Brandon's Gear
Shotgun: K-80 Sporting
Ammo: Winchester #8
Chokes: Pure Gold
Eyewear: Pilla

 

Bob Davis

 

This 2004 Illinois Sporting Clays Association Hall of Fame inductee is your 2007 Illinois Resident State Champion. The 65 years young construction company vice- president from Decatur Illinois posted a 179 to claim the resident championship title.

Bob shot his first round of sporting clays at Old Barn in Oakland Illinois fifteen years ago and hasn't slowed down. In 2006 this master veteran shooter visited 29 courses shooting 14,500 registered targets through out the country. Better put on your running shoes if you are going to squad up with this guy!

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Although a dedicated and formidable competitor, Bob will not hesitate to take some time to help a fellow shooter struggling with a presentation or sharing his knowledge of the sport with someone new. A mentor to the youth shooters, Bob is a true gentleman and friend of our sport.

Just a few of his notable shooting accomplishments: 2004 Team USA member, Veteran All American 2002 -2007, Illinois All State Team 4 years, 2006 U.S. OPEN Veteran FITASC HOA and high all around small gauges, 2005 Zone 5 M1 and Veteran Champ, 2006 U.S. OPEN Extreme Challenge Champ, and 2005 Missouri State HOA. Bob also ran 100 straight at Ozark Shooters and Salt Creek Sporting Clays.

The honor of shooting with Team USA at the World Sporting Championship in England has been the most exiting and memorable shooting experience in Bob's sporting clays career.

Bob shoots a Browning Special Sporting with release triggers and comp-n-choke tubes. RIO is his preferred ammo.

Bob says his advice for new shooters is concentration. He feels this is the key for consistent shooting, especially on those "easy birds."

 

Dr. Ralph Everson

 

Ralph Everson, a 50 year old physician from Belvidere Illinois, has been shooting sporting clays for sixteen years. In January 1990, George Bartelmay of Bartelmay Guns in Morton took Ralph to Diamond S Sporting Clays to shoot his first round. He got hooked and has been shooting sporting clays ever since.

Shouldering a 30” K80 with Comp-N-Choke tubes, Ralph shot 3600 registered targets last season. He shoots White Gold paper 71/2 1oz. loads.

This 2003 Illinois State Hall of Fame inductee and member of the Illinois All State Team for 12 consecutive years has many major shooting accomplishments on his resume:

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Illinois State Champion 96, 99, 04, 06 – RU 97, 00, 03, Governor’s Cup Champion 04 and 05, Illinois North Zone Champion 99, 01, Illinois 5-Stand Champion 01, 06, FITASC 03, Illinois State Champion 20ga. 94, 95, 00 - 28ga. 95, 96, 98, 99 - .410 bore 95, 96, 97, 98, 02, and 06. Wisconsin State Champion Non-Resident 92, 96, 00, Champion 5-Stand 00, 03, Miller Lite RU 02, Zone 5 Champion 98, RU 01, 03, Zone 5 FITASC RU 1999. 1999 Nationals M3 .410, M4 World Championship 5-Stand 2001, US Open M4 .410 in 2002, just to name a few of Ralph’s tournament wins.

The most memorable and exiting experience in Ralph’s sporting clays career is watching sons Michael and Jonathon embrace the sport as much as he does and in particular, Michael beating his dad at the Boy Scout Shoot last September at Upland Hunt Club.

The good doctor’s Rx for new shooters: get a gun that is properly fitted, find agood coach to work with regularly, relax and have fun.

Dr. Everson serves the ISCA board as a delegate to the NSCA.

 

Michael Everson


We all try to promote the shotgun sports at every opportunity. There is always a lot of interest in how our youth are doing. I have a great story to tell.

Dr. Ralph Everson has been a client of mine for 12 years. Dr. Everson is a Master Class shooter from Rockford, IL. He has been the Zone 5 champion several times, as well as, the Illinois State Champion several times including the 2006 IL State Champion. He has numerous other local, regional and national titles. I have had the opportunity to teach his son, Michael Everson for the past three years. Michael's profile is attached for your review. Michael has set a new record. At age 14 Michael went from E class to AA class in 13 months, shooting only 4200 registered targets to make AA.

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Five of those 13 months he spent off the circuit recovering from shoulder surgery. So, he did the deed in 8 months of shooting. He is already a couple of punches on his way to Master Class. Of further note, I am happy to report that Michael beat his Dad for the first time in a Boy Scout Fund Raiser held at the Upland Hunt Club in Davis Junction, IL. Dad shot a 91/100 and Michael topped him with a 93/100. In consoling his father, I told Dr. Everson that if you are going to be beat it is best to lose to a family member.

I am very proud of both of these clients. They are humble winners and would never boast on their own, I intend to do that for them. They are both good sports. Dr. Everson, even with his busy schedule, always finds time to help others in the sport. This will certainly make a good story for your magazine. I have attached a profile and a couple of pictures for your review and edit. Michael will be surprised and happy to see his name in lights. He deserves the attention because he has worked very hard anchoring these fantastic achievements. Mike and father, Ralph, have learned a lot about the sport. One of the most important things they have learned is how to shoot with relaxed intensity and have fun while performing to the best of their ability. Let's all wish this fine farther/son team only the best for future success. I expect you will hear more about them in the future.

Jim Arnold, NSCA III
President
Custom Shooting Sports, LLC
41 National Blvd.
Beaufort, SC 29907
937-609-2321
Jim@CustomShooting.com


Michael Everson, age 15 (currently), DOB 7-13-91
2284 Cairnwell Drive
Belevidere, IL 61008
Registered Shooter since 2003
Coached by Jim Arnold

Gun: K-80, 30 Bbls., Devault Industries 4-Way Adjustable, Briley Tubes, HIVIZ
Ammo: White Gold Paper 1oz., 7 1/2
Glasses: Hi Def Spex

Significant Record:
Won E Class Championship at Upland Hunt Club July 24, 2005
Won A Class 20 Ga. Championship at Zone 5, moving into AA August 27, 2006

Major wins:
2003 NSCA IL North Zone SJ Champion

2004 NSCA Miller Lite SJ Champion, RU E Class
2004 NSCA IL North Zone SJ Champion

2005 NSCA IL North Zone SJ Champion and E Class Champion
2005 NSCA U.P. Championship SJ Champion
2005 NSCA IL State 5 Stand E Class Champion

2006 NSCA IL North Zone SJ Champion
2006 NSCA Miller Lite SJ Champion, RU C Class
2006 NSCA IL State 28 Gauge SJ RU, A Class RU
2006 NSCA IL State .410 Bore SJ Champion
2006 NSCA IL State SJ Champion, RU A Class
2006 NSCA IL State 5 Stand SJ Champion, RU A Class
2006 NSCA Zone 5 20 Ga. Champion A Class
2006 NSCA Zone 5 28 Ga. RU A Class 2006 NSCA Zone 5 5 Stand SJ Champion

 

Lyle R. Shear

 

Lyle Shear, 69, of Manteno IL is married with 3 children, Lela, Rusty & Terry. He works as the VP of Risk Management at FH Pacschen, SN Nielsen Associates. www.fhpaschen.com

Lyle was introduced to Sporting Clays on a hunt in Maryland. During a break from hunting, Lyle shot his first round of sporting clays and has been hooked every since. In his 27 years of target shooting he has spent the last 22 years shooting sporting clays. During that time Lyle has reached his goal of Master Class and by living long enough, is shooting in the concurrent class of Super Vet.

Recalling his first registered tournament at the "Big Pig" at Hopkins Game Farm in Maryland, Lyle scored so low that he was actually moved down a class. Undeterred Lyle continued competing and after several years of shooting about 300 practice targets a week and averaging 3,000+ tournament targets a year, Lyle has shown that a new shooter with a well fit gun, practice and commitment you can achieve a high level of shooting expertise.

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When not shooting Trap or Skeet or in the field hunting, Lyle has shot his way to many great sporting achievements:
IL State in 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001 & 2008
ISCA Hall of Fame 2007
2008 All State Super Veteran for Illinois.

Additionally Lyle has placed very well in many competitions throughout his shooting career. 1998 Northbrook "C" Class, 1998 Northbrook Vet, 2000 State Shoot Upland A class runner up, 2001 Trail of Tears Concurrent, 2001 Trail of Tears AA class runner up, 2005 Upland North Zone concurrent, 2006 Upland State Shoot 28 ga, 2006 Green Acres 5 Stand concurrent, 2007 Northbrook North Zone AA 1st place, 2007 Northbrook .410 class and concurrent, 2007 Northbrook 28, 20 & 12 concurrent.

Lyle recalls one of his greatest memories of the sport was watching the late great Ron Delimata receive his ISCA award and acknowledgement for all he had given to the Illinois Shooters. With Ron as inspiration Lyle believes that to improve and give back to this sport we need to "Do what you can to get more young people involved and try to keep it fun for everyone."

Lyle's Gear
Shotgun: Krieghoff K-80
Ammo: Winchester AA 7.5
Chokes: Krieghoff titanium
Glasses: Hidefspex Model Panther
Gun Fitter: David Bland of Olive, MI
Custom work: Krieghoff #3 adjustable comb

Lyle's Clubs
Clubs: Green Acres, Grand Kankakee, Deer Creek

Lyle's Style:
To accommodate an ailment Lyle shoots with a pre-mounted gun and has found with this technique he can acquire the target faster. To help with this method Lyle has consulted Bill McGuire's DVDs. While not working directly with a specific coach Lyle does keep up to speed on various styles and methods though various video training. To keep his mind sharp he also works the Lanny Bassham Mental Management System on audio CD. You see the benefits this has brought to his pre-shot routine.

"When I close the action I confirm the break point, move to the hold point, look to the point where I wish to first see the target and call pull," Lyle said.

I don't know if Lyle would remember this but Lyle was the first person I ever shot with for Sporting Clays. For me this was a fond memory of being introduced to this fine sport. I have since had the great honor of shooting with Lyle on several occasions and once or twice he let me beat him. I can only hope that I can apply the same dedication, vigilance and focus to reach one half of the notable achievements Lyle has made in his vast shooting career.

See you on the course!!! Dan Grebel
If you know a shooter who should be profiled next please let me know.

 

David P Lauzen

 

Dave Lauzen, 58, is retired as a CPA from his accounting firm Lauzen Accounting. David spends much of his time away from Sporting Clays with Hunting Big Game with a gun or a rod and reel. His non Clay Target achievements include collecting over 150 variations of big game and catching 5 marlins over 1,000 pounds. In addition to catching big game, Dave has made time for 2 children and after a long wait became married to Sue Anne.

Like so many of us, Dave started shooting clays targets on the Trap range. After trap lost its fun and became too much work Dave quit clay shooting for almost 15 years. After getting back into clay shooting on the Skeet range Dave tried Sporting Clays at the St Charles Sportsman's Club. After shooting sporting clays for the last 8 years David has achieved the level of Master Class and is also our Illinois representative for the 2009 Team USA, 2008 IL State Team and the 2009 All American for the Veteran concurrent.

Dave recalls his first shooting memory as shooting a bolt action .22 in the basement with his little brother, now Illinois State Senator Chris Lauzen, and his father. He still participates in indoor .22 target shooting.

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Mr. Lauzen's greatest shooting memory was being asked to represent Team USA at the FITASC World Championship in Australia. Another notable achievement is Dave's position as Veteran 2009 team member for both the NSCA All American Team and Team USA FITASC.

David's Gear
Shotgun: Perazzi MX-8
Ammo: Federal Paper 3 1/3 Dram 1 oz 7 1/2 #
Chokes: Briley
Glasses: Delot
Hearing Protection: ESP
Additional accessories: 32" 3 Barrel sub-gauge set
Gun fitting: Jimmy Cardwell at Wenig Custom Gun Stocks
Other custom work: Danny at Giacomo Sporting

David's Clubs Clubs:
Northbrook Sports Club, Upland Hunt Club Favorite Location: Chuck Frazier's Hunters Pointe, Braxton Bridge Flyers

David's Style:
David maintains his shooting ability by keeping up the pressure with a continuous schedule of tournaments. To put prove his point of a continuous tournament schedule David shot his way through over 12,000 registered targets in 2008! To keep his shooting level high David prefers to get his traveling complete the day before any event to ensure he is properly rested and minimize the travel stress. When the shooting day begins, it's straight to the club to get to business.

To maintain his consistent target breaking ability Dave has a simple routine. He picks his kill point and with a decisive short move, goes to that same kill point to add another X on the score card. Dave is also a strong believer of good coaching to maintain his performance level. David has worked with top guns like Russ Vowell, John Woolley and currently sees Pat Lieske every 4-6 weeks. Continuous coaching has allowed Dave to minimize every weakness in his game. His philosophy is: focus on your weakness and turn it into the best part of your skill set.

Dave believes his success has come from good coaching and staying sharp with competition. If he could make a recommendation to new shooters it would be: Find a coach you are compatible with and see them as often as possible.

Dave is always a pleasure to speak with on and off the range. I have run into Dave many times in many places throughout the Midwest and afar. Please take a moment to say "Hi" to Dave when you see him on the course and get to know this Gentlemen and World Traveler.

See you on the course: Dan Grebel
If you know someone else that shooters should know, please see me on the course.

 

Dave Long

 

Dave Long, a 61-year-old Master Class shooter from Pontiac, Illinois, has been shooting sporting clays for 18 years. During that span, he has made the Illinois NSCA All-State team six times, including the last three years running.

Dave, who with his brother co-owns the Long Bros., Inc. trucking company, got his start at Diamond S Sporting Clays in Tremont, Illinois. “It was all hand traps and I couldn’t get enough of it,” Dave said. “I would go back out and reshoot the course while the rest of my group would wait in the parking lot for me. I was addicted after the first time.” He also shoots a little non-registered trap and skeet.

Early on Dave attended the 2001 state shoot at Trail of Tears Club in Jonesboro, Illinois. He watched as Brad Davis and Ralph Everson put on an epic display of shooting in the North-South shoot-offs. “I had never seen anyone shoot like that in my life,” he recalled.<br
But he’s had some great days of his own. “My goal had always been to be high overall in a tournament with over 100 shooters,” he said. “In 2016-2017, I accomplished that four times, with one of them having 147 shooters and I won it with a score of 96.”

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Other notable achievements include: 2005 IL North Zone Champion; 2010 IL North Zone AA Champion; 2011 Illinois State Championship 5 Stand Runner Up; 2013 Illinois State Championship Veteran Champion; 2013 Illinois State Championship Master Class Champion; 2013 Illinois State Championship 5 Stand Veteran Champion; 2016 Illinois State Championship 20 gauge Champion. He made All-State in 2004, 2011, 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

These days Dave shoots a Krieghoff K-80 with a fitted custom stock by S&S Stocks Plus in Polson, Montana. He uses Muller chokes and Clever 1-ounce ammo traveling at 1,200 feet per second. He wears Ranger Edge glasses and custom molded hearing protection.

After working for years with John Woolley, Dave now takes lessons from Wendell Cherry about once a year. Cherry has helped him with his stance, eye hold and gun hold points, as well as the way he moves the gun with my lower body. Dave shoots mostly maintained lead and works to focus on the process instead of the result.

Dave practices on a skeet and trap field to build consistency, forcing himself to break 10 in a row before moving to a new spot. When he reshoots a registered course, he shoots it as he would in competition, hoping to replicate the pressures of tournament day. If he has problems with any particular station, he goes back and practices those particular targets again and again. He estimates he shoots about twice as many practice targets as registered birds – and he shoots as many as 5,000 registered targets a year!

He is a member of Northbrook Sports ClubPalos Sportsman’s Club and Darnall’s Gun Works near Bloomington. His favorite places to shoot include Northbrook, Wern Valley and Waukesha Gun Club in Wisconsin, and Quail Creek in Florida. Until its recent closure, he also enjoyed shooting at Upland Game and Clays.

As the owner of a successful business and a married father of four, Dave knows that the key to success is dedication and hard work. “I am a pretty determined individual and I don’t like getting beat,” he said. “With that being said, I know I am not the most talented so I have to outwork my competition through lots of practice. I love practicing even more than the tournaments.”

He thinks that clays could be improved by cutting down on European rotation tournaments. Squadded events, he thinks, makes it easier for new shooters to find someone to shoot with and make friends on the competition circuit. “I think some people tend to stay home if it is European rotation rather than take the chance of going and not finding someone to shoot with,” he said.

One thing’s for sure – if you go to an event and are squadded with Dave Long, pay attention. You might learn something from one of the top shooters in our state!

 

Andy Ackmann

 

Andy Ackmann from Highland IL is a Software Developer at AT&T. Aged 48 with a daughter Andy has been shooting sporting clays for 8 years. In that time Andy has reached Master Class and is on 2009 Open IL All State Team. While primarily shooting on the southern end of the state he makes his way to where ever there is a tournament to show off his skills.

Andy's first experience shooting was shooting candy wafers with a BB-Gun with his dad. His introduction to sporting clays was through reading articles about it as it was introduced into the US. A few years later when he was able to find the resources to start shooting Andy gave it a try and has been hooked ever since. Andy recalls one of his greatest shooting memories was when a good friend shot a 97 on day one at the IL State shoot held at Upland Hunt Club. One of Andy's greatest personal shooting experience was scoring a 50/50 at the 2009 Fiocci Cup at the Ozarks. Watch out for Andy with his pump gun! He is the pump gun '08 IL State Champ and the HOA at the '08 MO State. Not to let you down anywhere else Andy was the HOA at the '08 MO state shoot in the 5-stand and the '07 Prelim Champion at the IL State Tournament.

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Keeping it simple is the name of Andy's game when it comes to sporting clays. Practice is fun and he tries to be relaxed but focused when it's time to put up the winning score. While not working with a coach Andy developed a simple system of being smooth and committed to his next shot. To keep his love of the game going Andy uses all methods and styles of shooting to take best advantage of every target presented.

Andy's Gear
Shotgun: Browning 425
Ammo: RIO Top Load Trap 28 Grams
Chokes: Briley Extended
Glasses: Randolph Rangers
Hearing Protection: Ear Inc Molded Ear Plugs

Andy's Clubs Clubs:
Fallr's, Jokers Wild & River Hills

See you on the course: Dan Grebel
If you know someone else that shooters should know, please see me on the course.

 

Jon Porter

 

Jon Porter a Truck Driver for Clean Harbors Environmental Services has raised three great children and has been happily married for over 28 years. Jon tried to golf once and found that shooting clay targets was a lot more fun. While not shooting clays Jon also likes to bowl during the week and also hunts and occasionally picks up a handgun for a change of pace.

Jon's first experience shooting sporting clays was at Deer Creek Hunt Club. After seeing the billboard on the highway he had to stop to find out what this was all about. The club manager took him out with a rental shotgun and a few boxes of shells. Like most of us Jon was hooked. The club manager, seeing the familiar look in Jon's eyes, didn't charge him a dime knowing that he had hooked another one. Within 3 years of those first few shots Jon achieved Master Class and has since shot over 56,000 registered targets

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Jon's favorite part of this sport is all the great people he has meet and the great friends made along his sporting journey. A fond memory is borrowing a pump gun and winning the 2004 IL State Pump Gun Championship the first time out. Other notable achievements include the IL State Team for 3 years, 2007 IL FITASC RU & 5 Stand Champion and the 2008 North Zone Master Class Champion.

Jon has refined his game with coach Mike Lumbrazo, DVDs and Tapes. Practice on the course includes working the basics by breaking targets in the sweet spot and then progressing outside his comfort zone to early and late break points. He then only moves on to the next level of difficulty once he's mastered the new position. During tournaments his pre-shot routine consists of finding his pickup, break and hold points for each target, quieting his eyes and then letting the shot happen in the sub-conscious. His shooting method consists mainly of a modified pull away from Dan Carlisle and little bit of maintained lead.

Jon's idea of successful shooting comes from competing with some of the greats like Jon Kruger, Bill McGuire and Wendell Cherry. He say's "Where else can you compete with the pro's and they will help you out while shooting with them?" Jon's recommendation to the new shooter is to take a few lessons to help understand the basics and get started right. Starting with the right basics and breaking more targets at the beginning goes a long way towards your success and is a lot more fun.

Jon's Gear
Shotgun: Browning XS 32" Barrels
Ammo: Reloads of 1oz. at 1350fps or RIO factory
Chokes: Comp-N-Choke
Glasses: Hidef Spex
Hearing Protection: Molded Ear Plugs
Gun fitting: Jon fitted his gun himself and had the stock finished by Bob James at Montana Long Guns

Jon's Clubs:
Deer Creek, Grand Kankakee & Palos Sportsman's Club

Jon's Other favorite places to compete:
Northbrook Sportsman's Club, Wern Valley, Milford Hills and Quail Ridge

See you on the course: Dan Grebel
If you know someone else that shooters should know, please see me on the course.

 

JW Pulliam

 

This edition of IL Shooters Profile delivers the details of a shooter everyone should know. JW Pulliam from Galatia IL has been around the sporting clays world for over 22 years and has won an impressive array of awards. JW now almost 80 represents IL on the 2010 All American Team for our Senior Super Veterans. JW a retired High School teacher and Baseball coach must have done something special since a baseball field was named in his honor. I have had the pleasure of shooting with JW at the Gamaliel Cup an he is a very impressive man.

JW was first introduced to shooting with a Red Ryder BB gun at the age of 10 and then plinked with his father using a Winchester bolt action .22. Typically this story goes the other way but this time a son, Alan a 5 time IL State Championship, introduced his father to this sport we all enjoy. In 1998 JW was asked to come along with his son to try this new thing called sporting clays. In the 22 short years of shooting sporting clays JW has built a long list of impressive shooting achievements.

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JW's notable Achievements
To keep things simple these major championships are in the Senior, Veteran and the combinations of these.
1992, 1993, 1994, 1995 IL State Senior Champ
1996 Wild Turkey Veteran National Champion
1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 IL State Veteran Champ
1998 Seminole Cup Veteran Champ
2001 IL State Super Veteran Champ
2007, 2008, 2009 IL State Senior Super Veteran
2009 US Open Senior Super Veteran Champion, Main & Preliminary
Zone Champion in 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 & 2007 for his concurrent
In addition to a shooting champion JW was also a State & National delegate for 15 years, in 2003 JW was inducted into the Illinois Sporting Clays Hall of Fame and was on the All American Team in 1993, 1994 & 1996.

JW's Gear
Shotgun: Beretta 391
Ammo: Winchester AA
Chokes: Wright's & Briley
Glasses: Decot
Hearing Protection: ESP
Gun fitting: JW fitted his gun himself

JW's Clubs:
Rend Lake & World Shooting Complex

JW's Other favorite places to compete:
Elk Creek, World Shooting Complex, Northbrook Sportsmen's Club, Rend Lake

JW's Shooting Style
To keep his game strong JW tries to practice once per week and get in a tournament each weekend. His mental approach after each shot is to move onto just the next target and leave the last shot behind him. JW's pre-shot routine is simply the basics of establishing the break point, hold point and running a rehearsal one more time before calling pull.

JW works with his son Alan, Dan Carlise & Ron Schafer to keep his game sharp and learn new things. JW believes that you should shoot the style that is most appropriate for each shot. That includes mostly pull away but also shoots sustained lead when the situation is right.

JW hopes that today we can benefit from his experience when there were few coaches available and you had to do this all on our own. He recommends starting with a good coach, having your gun fitted to you and shoot with a group of people that make you a better a shot. JW says he owes his success to loveing: "The challenge and excitement of putting your skills to the test in a wonderful but difficult sport." JW suggests that we all keep our attitude strong and supportive to keep people joining our great sport.

See you on the course: Dan Grebel
If you know someone else that shooters should know, please see me on the course.

 
 

Nick Clement

 

Welcome to the future of sporting clays. Without guys like this we don't have anything to look forward to in this sport. In the almost ten years I have been around I have felt like the young kid in a sea of old farts. Although I have a long way to go before I hit any concurrent I sure wish I had started in my early teens. This month's edition of the IL Shooters You Should Know features our 2010 All State Sub Junior. Nick Clement from Virginia, IL.  Nick is about the smartest shooter you'll see out on the course. With a full schedule of hunting, fishing, football, and riding 4 wheelers, he is also on the High Honor Roll and is in the National Honors Society. With such a busy schedule Nick also manages to spend some time with friends. At just 15 years old, Nick has been shooting sporting clays for one year and has already achieved the level of B class.

Nick was first introduced to target shooting when he was just 9. His first memory was when he went along with his dad and Bill & John Ryman from Ryman's Guns to Illini Sporting Clays. With a 20 gauge youth model he surprised everyone by beating them all. A friend of Nick's Dad introduced him to Sporting Clays. He invited them to come to shoot and Nick has been hooked ever since. Nick already has a list of greatest memories that include; in his first event with over 100 competitors he was 2nd in class, 1st in Sub Jr, was the South Zone Sub Jr. Champion, moved from D to B class in only 4 months and has been named the 2010 IL State Sub Jr. Champion. The big topper to these great achievements is that this was all done in his first year of tournament shooting. In a very short time Nick has become a shooter to watch.

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Nick's Gear
Shotgun: Beretta AL391 Tekny's Gold
Ammo: Kemmen
Chokes: Beretta
Glasses: Beretta

Nick's Clubs:
Illini Sporting Clays

Nick's Other favorite places to compete:
Jacksonville Sportsman's Club, Jokers Wild, Otter Creek, Fallers & River Hills Sporting Clays

Nick's Comments
Bill Peterson helped Nick get started with the basics but does yet have a specific coaching process.  He believes that his good hand eye coordination from playing baseball has significantly help his game. Nick would like to keep having fun and suggests we come up with ways to make it easier for newcomers to get started. He believes, and I think we can all agree, the more participants we have the better it will be for all of us. Cheaper, more options and a stronger future.

    After a few of these profiles and meeting 100s of shooters across the country I have seen a trend that I would like to share. Almost everyone I have ever met in this great hobby was brought in by a friend or acquaintance from another shooting sport or similar hobby. Very few of us came in our own. I challenge everyone out there to bring someone new to the next event. If you need help with getting them started I am sure that anyone else will help you with additional gear, some guidance and another friend to join the squad. If I'm there I would love to help another join our great sport.

See you on the course: Dan Grebel
If you know someone else that shooters should know, please see me on the course.

The Pennell Family - Doing it Right

 

This issue of Illinois Shooters you should know is not just one shooter but three. Not just great shooters, but an incredible family of avid competitors in school, work and athletics. Please allow me to introduce you to Team Pennell, a family of champions.

Headed by Jeff Pennell (Dad) married with 2 sons and owner of Pennell Forklift Services Inc. Jeff was introduced to sporting clays by an employee just over 6 years ago but was brought into the competitive aspect of the game by another notable Illinois shooter, Bob Davis. In addition to his own notable sporting clays achievements he also has brought along his two sons, Zachary and Jake. All three have shot their way to Master Class. Zachary (23) works in all parts of the family business and enjoys motorcycling and boating like his father. Zach's focus is so sharp and clear that he went from C to Master all within 1 year. Jake, the youngest at 19, works for the family while also attending Lindenwood University. In his spare time Jacob has also become an All Conference Wrestler and was captain of his soccer team. In only six years of shooting this family has filled a robust trophy case with their awards. There is simply not enough room here to list everything.

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Pennell Notable Achievements
Jeff -
Helping his sons achieve All American Status
2008 All State Team
2009 Zone 5 Master
Zachary-
All American Junior
Jacob-
All American Junior
Team USA Junior

Team Pennell's Gear
Shotguns: Krieghoff K-80
Ammo: RIO and Remington Nitro
Chokes: Comp-N-Choke
Glasses: Oakley

Team Pennell's Clubs:
Jacksonville Sportsman's Club

Team Pennell's Other favorite places to compete:
Jokers WildFaller'sRiver HillsNorthbrook & Sparta

Team Pennell's Guide to Success
Shoot with the best competitors possible to learn from them and be challenged by them. Watch the best keep their focus to come from behind and create their own win. The shooting motto is the same for all three Pennell boys (men). Shoot to have fun, be relaxed, laugh a little and the wins will come. Please learn from the Pennell family and bring more shooters to this great sport and have some great times.

Follow Jeff's lead and bring out more youth shooters. Select  from your friends, family or reach out to schools and other community groups. My dream as a father of three and  an avid sporting clays shooter is to live the shooting life of the Pennell family.

After a few of these profiles and meeting thousands of shooters across the country, I have seen a trend that I would like to share. Almost everyone I have ever met in this great hobby was brought in by a friend or an acquaintance from another shooting sport or similar hobby. Very few of us came in on our own. I challenge everyone out there to bring someone new to the next event. If you need help with getting them started I am sure that anyone will help you with additional gear, some guidance and another friend to join the squad. If I'm there I would love to help another join our great sport.

See you on the course: Dan Grebel
If you know someone else that shooters should know, please see me on the course.

 

Dale Randall

 

Dale Randall, married to Brenda,  has been the proud owner of Randall's Body Shop in Mt Vernon for over 35 years and has been shooting sporting clays for over 12 years. Dale is not exactly new to the clay target sports. He has been breaking clays for well over 30 years. A common theme about our sport holds true with Dale, like many before and hopefully more to come, he was introduced to Sporting Clays through friends. Fellow trap competitors, Mike Hampton and Mike Jordan, brought Dale out to a sporting clays and few years later Dale busted his way into Master Class. While not shooting Dale spends time with his wife and is very busy running his body shop. During his shooting adventures Dale has created an impressive list of achievements. The following are just a few his major State shooting accomplishments.

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Dale's recent IL State highlights:
2009 & 2010 IL All State Open Team
2010 IL North/South Runner Up
2009 IL State Championship Master1
2009 IL North/South High Overall
2008 IL All State AA and Vet
2008 IL North/South AA, Sporting, Super Sporting & FITASC

Dale's Gear
Shotguns: Blaser F3 K-80
Ammo: Remington Nitro 27's
Chokes: Briley
Glasses: Randolph Ranger
Hearing Protection: ESP Hearing Protection

Dale's Clubs:
Rend Lake Shooting Complex

Dale's Other favorite places to compete:
Faller'sSparta World Shooting Complex

Dale's Guide to Breaking More Clays
While not a target hog like some of the others profiled before, Dale limits his shooting to competition and keeps that number around 2000 per year and doesn't practice like he did in the past. His shooting system is very simple. Start by clearing the mind as you enter the stand. While reviewing the look pair determine the distance, speed and deceptive target setters tricks. To keep things as easy as possible Dale prefers the simple approach of working the basics with a move, mount and shoot method. Dale only shifts to an almost full pre-mount during target presentations that are similar to a trap style shot.

Dale would like to see the sport improved through the addition of youth shooting programs. Also, Dale would like to see a better break out of the classes to allow for more fair competition. His suggestion to new sporting clays shooters is start with a good coach, get properly fitted to your gun and stick with your gear and your program.

I think we can all learn from Dale's shooting success. Stick with the basics, stay focused and start winning. See you on the course: Dan Grebel
If you know someone else that shooters should know, please see me on the course.

 

Lukas Metz

 

Lukas Metz our 2011 All State Team Junior member has a vast list of achievements at the young age of 18. Starting at only 11 Lukas speaks about our sport as if he is a seasoned veteran. And after shooting sporting clays for 7 years he has more years in the sport than most of our membership. Lukas a full time student at Lewis and Clark Community College also works part-time at Winchester Trap and Skeet Facility located in East Alton IL.

Lukas' Comments
Bill Peterson helped Nick get started with the basics but does yet have a specific coaching process. He believes that his good hand eye coordination from playing baseball has significantly help his game. Nick would like to keep having fun and suggests we come up with ways to make it easier for newcomers to get started. He believes, and I think we can all agree, the more participants we have the better it will be for all of us. Cheaper, more options and a stronger future.

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Lukas' Gear
Shotgun: Ceasar Guerini Summit Sporting
Ammo: Winchester AA
Chokes: IC/MOD
Glasses: Randolph Engineering Ranger

Lukas' Clubs:
Joker's Wild and Fallers

Lukas' Accomplishments:
2007 Zone 5 Prelim E Class Winner
2007 Zone 5 Main E Class Winner
2007 Zone 5 28 Gauge E Class Winner
2006 SCTP IL Champion Team
2006 SCTP Midwest Regional's 2nd Place
2009 Illinois State Main E Class Winner
2009 Illinois State Main Sub Jr. Winner
2009 Illinois State 5-Stand E 2nd Place
2010 Illinois State Main D Class Winner
2010 All State E-Class
2011 Illinois All State - Junior
2011 SCTP Illinois State Skeet Team 1st Place
2011 SCTP Illinois State Sporting Clays Team 1st Place
2011 Illinois State 28 Gauge C Class Winner
2011 Illinois State .410 C Class Winner
2011 Zone 5 Oakley Cup C Class 2nd Place
2011 Zone 5 5-Stand C Class 2nd Place

Lukas Metz' time in this sport and his story is an example we should all follow. He was introduced to our great sport through his father and continues to build a strong bond with him as a result of having this common interest. I would hope that we can all learn from this experience and make an effort to invite a friend to the next tournament or to your next trip to the course. The only way for us to gain new members and build a future for our sport is to do our part. I challenge each person who reads this to invite 1 new person to the course this year.

See you on the course: Dan Grebel
If you know someone else that shooters should know, please see me on the course.

 

Richard Wickenhauser

 

In this shooter's profile I'd like to introduce everyone to Richard Wickenhauser. Richard has been shooting targets for over 40 years. In those 40 years of target shooting he has been breaking targets on the Sporting Clays course for over 12 years. His marriage and 5 children may explain his late start shooting sporting clays. While not working as a Risk Manager at Gallagher Risk Management services Richard would spend his available free time Skeet shooting, quail and dove hunting with his favorite bird dogs.

Richard was first introduced to shooting when he was 12 with a 22 rifle on the family farm. Richard like so many of us was brought to our great sport through a friend. This is a lesson we should continue to listen to and make sure that we invite some friends to our next practice session or tournament and build our following. Richard now over 86 years young started at the ready to learn something new age of 74. Now at the age of 89 he is shooting from 1,500 to 3,000 tournament targets a year.

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Richard has achieved the best level possible. He's relaxed and enjoys the sport. At 89 he feels no tension to shoot the best. He truley enjoys the outing and has fun with friends. Receiving coaching has never been a priority however for Richard's 80th birthday he received an certificate to train with Wendell Cherry. This coaching session was very important and still applies these lessons today. As a result of his persistence Richard made the 2010 Sr Super Veteran IL State Team and his greatest performance was at the 2006 US Open in Kansas were he placed 13th in his class. Over the years he also placed 1st, 2nd and 3rd in countless events.

Richard's Comments
"Just relax and enjoy. At my age I don't expect to be a Master shooter so I just have fun and enjoy each outing.

Richard's Gear
Shotgun: Krieghoff K80, K20 or Beretta 391
Ammo:Winchester AA Light
Chokes: IC & Light MOD

Richard's Club:
Otter Creek Hunting Club
Joker's Wild Sporting Clays
Faller's Sporting Clays
River Hills Sporting Clays


See you on the course: Dan Grebel
If you know someone else that shooters should know, please see me on the course.

 

Gary Fitzjarrel II - FLC Shooting Grounds

 

In this edition of IL Shooter's Profile we'd like to announce a new club to the Illinois Sporting Clays Association. FLC Shooting Grounds opening in the Spring of 2015 is owned and operated by Gary Fitzjarrel II.

Anyone who is anyone in sporting clays knows Gary Fitzgarrel II. He has been shooting clays his entire life with a list of accomplishments too long to mention here. However some of his local achievements are a perennial member of the IL All State Team, 2 Time State FITASC Champion, State Champion and IL State Hall of Fame member since 2005. In addition to his exceptional shooting accomplishments Gary is also a sought after shooting coach, target setter and is now operating FLC Outfitters full time.

FLC Shooting Grounds in White Hall, IL will be opening its doors come this April 11th and 12th. This members only club, that will be open to the public during its monthly tournaments, will offer two 12 station sporting courses, 5 stand, full time practice parcour and a helice ring. FLC Shooting Grounds sits in the middle of the Fitzjarrell Families 1700 acre farm in Western Illinois and will be run by IL Hall of Fame member Gary Fitzjarrell II. No longer actively farming, Gary Fitzjarrell II has decided to focus on his competitive shooting and running a first rate gun club. With 25 years of competition shooting for Junior and more than 50 years for Senior, the Fitzjarrells hope to make this club one of the best clubs in Illinois.

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Gary has a lot of ideas of for his club including bringing in guest instructors for shooting clinics and introducing Illinois to Helice. Helice formerly known as ZZ birds is a challenging game created as a substitute for live pigeons. With 2015 being the inaugural year for FLC Shooting Grounds, the club hopes to see bigger tournaments in the following years held at the club. You can visit FLC Shooting Grounds on Facebook to keep up with all the latest club news.

As always please get a hold of me on the course with your ideas and recommendations for future articles. Dan Grebel.

 
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Joe Breskovich

 

This edition brings us long time top Illinois competitor Joe Breskovich. In Joe's 16 years of competitive shooting he has held an IL State Team postion for nine of those years! Averaging almost 6,000 registered targets a year Joe has shot about 90,000 registered targets. Along the way Joe has held the position of Treasurer of the State Board since 2008 and was inducted into the State Hall of Fame in 2007.

Joe Off The Course
Age: 58 Married to Carol, also a competitor, with four children, nine grandchildren and 1 great grandchild on the way. He's worked as a project engineer with the Gus Berthold Electric Co. for over 38 years. Joe became Vice-President in 1998 after starting his career in the shop back in 1975. Joe likes to fill his time off the course and away from work with his family and cheering on his favorite Chicago sports teams.
 

Joe catches the bug...
Joe and some friends decided to try sporting clays at the Richmond Hunt Club where he'd never seen a crossing target before and had no idea how to break that target. Catching the target breaking bug right away, Joe discovered right then and there how much fun it was to break targets and not as much fun to miss. A few weeks later Joe was immersed into Sporting Clays with the same friends at the Remington Shooting School for instruction. He and Mike Warkenthien were the only attendees, giving them free rein of the place. After some basic safety instruction they proceeded to fire 5,000 rounds in three days. Since those first few days Joe has since created a long list of incredible achivements. Joe describes his greatest achievement was at the World FITASC in 2015 held at the Caribou Gun Club in MN where he won veteran 6th at that event and wound up 64th out of 897 shooters, including the best in the world.

Joe's Gear
Shotgun: Kolar
Ammo: Fiocchi White Rhino
Chokes: Kolar
Eyewear: Ranger
Hearing protection: Peltor
Gun fitting and custom work: Kolar

Joe's Clubs
What clubs do you belong to? Northbrook Sportsmans Club
Where do you most often shoot or compete? Northbrook, Upland & Wern Valley
Favorite locations to shoot: Wern Valley, Upland & Northbrook

Joe's Achievements
2002 Illinois State AA1
2003 North Zone Champion
2004 North Zone Champion
2004 Wisconsin State M2
2005 Illinois State M1
2007 North Zone Champion
2007 Illinois State Super Sporting Champion
2007 Illinois State High Overall Champion
2007 Illinois State Hall Of Fame Inductee
2008 Elected Illinois State Sporting Clays Treasurer
2001, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012 & 2013 Illinois All State Team


Joe's Closing Thoughts
"Recreational shooting is a wonderful way to make new friends, enjoy the outdoors & build character. Call me old fashioned but competition between men is something everyone must deal with in their life so learning how to do that on a common playing field is adding to the character strength of the individual. Watching some of our young shooters emerge from the petulant child to a well mannered young man is enjoyable to watch. These positives need to be highlighted to the public and should be embraced by all. Learning gun safety and building character certainly go hand in hand."

As always please get a hold of me on the course with your ideas and recommendations for future articles. Dan Grebel.