If shooting sports are your game and you'll be sorry to see the last shots fired at the National Rifle and Pistol Matches at Camp Perry tomorrow, take heart: You can step back in time Friday through Sunday to experience the Ohio Territorial Muzzleloading Matches in western Lucas County.
Formally called the National Territorial Championships of Ohio, these matches turn back the clock more than 150 years to the era of buckskin clothing and muzzle loading rifles, muskets, and pistols, though they still open the doors in a couple of events to include modern in-line muzzleloaders.
This year's Territorials are sponsored by the Toledo Muzzle Loaders, a charter club of the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association, and match coordinator Rich Hulsebus urges enthusiasts and the curious to come and see. "This is the last time we'll be sponsoring the matches for a while," Hulsebus said, explaining that the Territorials rotate from club to club.
Up to 50 competitors from Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, and New York are expected to step to the firing lines and shooting benches during the weekend. Last year the Territorials here drew 36 competitors. "That was the most shooters in a Territorial in the country," the match coordinator said.
The Territorials will be held at the TML range at 875 Schwamberger Rd., off Old State Line Road north of Airport Highway via Eber Road. The top five aggregate match winners will be eligible to enter the National Territorial Championships at Friendship, Ind., in June.
If you want to try shooting a muzzleloader, TML members will be glad to accommodate. "They don't have to do anything but show up," Hulsebus said. The club will provide equipment, coaching, and supervision.
Any shooter can compete in the actual matches, even if the shooter does not belong either to the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association or the National Rifle Association. However, nonmembers must pay higher entry fees.
Memberships will be available at the matches.
Entry fees paid for every four paid aggregate matches allow a shooter to enter a fifth aggregate for free, Hulsebus said.
The Territorials encompass more than 17 matches for offhand, flintlock, benches, musket, pistol, and hunter matches, among others. The competition also includes women's and youth matches.
Firing will be at 25, 50, and 100 yards, with fully covered loading benches.
Camping, firewood, water, and limited concessions will be available. Traders and visitors are welcome. For other details call Hulsebus at 419-474-6666 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In other shooting news, the aforementioned National Matches at Camp Perry conclude tomorrow with the Palma Match, which is part to the long-range, high-power rifle matches under way in this, the last phase of five weeks of shooting competition.
Last week high-power shooting legend Carl Bernosky of Ashland, Pa., captured his 10th title as overall national high-power rifle champion. He fired a 2393 with 160 bull's-eyes to outscore a field of 144 riflemen.
Bernosky's title went with another, the national NRA match rifle championship, in which Bernosky's 2393-160X edged out Rodrigo Rosa of Auburn, N.H., who fired 2390-132X.
In the national service rifle championship, Army Staff Sgt. Tyrel Cooper of Fort Benning, Ga., took top honors in a field of 278 shooters with a score of 2376-111X.
29th Waterfowlers Festival on Saturday
The 29th edition of the Ohio Waterfowlers Festival is set for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Crane Creek beach area in Magee Marsh State Wildlife Area on State Rt. 2 in Ottawa County.
The overall festival is sponsored by the Lake Erie Waterfowlers in cooperation with the Ohio Division of Wildlife. It includes duck and goose calling, 10 a.m.; waterfowl identification; retriever trials, 10 a.m.; a decoy contest, trap shooting, a trading post, silent auction, food service, archery and BB-gun ranges, and a fish pond.
Other key cooperators are Wolf Creek Sportsmen's Association, Maumee Bay Carvers, Friends of Magee Marsh, Muddy Bay Retrievers, and Zink Calls.
For details on various events, contact the following individuals:
Dog trials and demonstrations, Jeff Adams 419-340-2407; goose and duck calling, Fred Zink 419-732-6171; kids shooting events, Wolf Creek 419-691-2016; trading post, Bobby Romstad 419-698-9021; Maumee Bay Carvers' contest, Bob Lund 419-874-3671.
Drawing for hunting slots at Magee Marsh for the special early teal hunting season and early Canada goose hunting season in early September is set for 2 p.m., with registration from noon to 1:45 p.m. For questions on the drawing call Magee 419-898-0960 extension 30.
Registration of entries for the annual decoy contest is set to begin at 8 a.m., sponsored by the Carvers. Judging begins at 10 a.m. for three-bird rigs, followed by Lake Erie Singles working decoys. For details, call Bob Lund.
Contact Steve Pollick at: email@example.com or 419-724-6068.