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posted May 31, 2015, 8:12 PM by Henry Duwe   [ updated Jun 11, 2015, 11:44 AM by Henry Duwe ]
By Lee Thomas

The Milt McPike Memorial Skeet Shoot (Saturday, April 25, 2015) signals the beginning of registered skeet shooting for Wisconsin’s skeet shooters.  Thirty-one shooters, found their guns that have been stowed away since last August, and took on the challenge of the 50 target, five-gun event.

The weather can be a little unpredictable to downright finicky in Wisconsin in April and May, and sometimes June.  It was misty and threatening to rain most of the day while the temperature hovered around thirty-seven degrees.  Not shirt sleeve weather, but certainly hooded sweatshirt weather, with shooting gloves, of course. There is a standing joke, “If you don’t like the weather, just wait ten minutes.” Some of the “die hards” shot during the brutal winter months in the snow and sometimes ice.  (Not me.  I sought the shelter of a warm place and a hot cup of java). So, a little errant weather was nothing for these winter shooters. Nonetheless, we were all in our places, with not so sunshiny faces, and this is how we started the 2015 season.

The 12 gauge event started with temperature hovering around 35 degrees, cloudy, overcast skies and winds pushing 15 mph. A field of thirty-one shooters stepped up started with perfect scores at station one but after target number fifty at low eight, Paul Friesen emerged as champion (CH, SSCH) with a perfect score of fifty.  Randy Riehle took second place (B1, 49), Doug Stebbins was C1, VTCH with 49, Jeff Varney took AA1, TSRU with 47, Tom McDaniel took D Class with 48 and Tony Pavelka won Class E with a score of 40.

It hadn’t gotten any warmer by the time the 20 gauge event started.  The wind had picked up and definitely looked like rain.  But that didn’t discourage the twenty one shooters who had their dance cards punched.  Fifty targets later, three shooters, Paul Friesen, Randy Riehle and Donald Kelly finished with perfect scores.  Paul Friesen was AA1, SSCH, Donald Kelly was A CH, VTCH, and Randy Riehle was A1, SRCH.  Finishing off the 20 gauge field, John Rowe took B1, SSRU and John Kreager took C1.

By the time the “little guns” appeared, the field of competitors were decreasing.  Fourteen shooters took the fields in an endeavor to break all fifty.    No one broke all fifty but when it was all said and done, Gary Wipperfurth reigned supreme with 49 to take AA, CH, SRCH, and Paul Friesen took B1, SSCH with 49,  John Rowe was A1, SSRU, Tanner Thiede was C1, JRCH. In the .410 gauge event Henry Duwe was near perfect with a 49 followed by Gregg Schweppe with a 47 and Paul Friesen with a 46.  Duwe took ACH, TSCH, Schweppe took B1, SSCH, and A1, SSRU went to Friesen.

When the smoke had cleared, Henry Duwe was declare champion for the doubles event that saw twenty competitors.  Duwe shot a 48 to claim the title, followed by James Decker who turned in a 47. B1, TSRU went to Jeff Varney, B2 VTCH to Donald Kelly, C1 to Lee Thomas and D1, JRCH went to Tanner Thiede.Paul Friesen emerged as HOA Champion, Henry Duwe took second and Gary Wipperfurth claimed third.

Milt with Bob St. Claire and Doug Stebbins at the 2007 state shoot.
Milt (Center) with squadmates Bob St. Claire (Left) and  Doug Stebbins (Right) at the 2007 WSSA State Shoot.

ABOUT MILT MCPIKE:  The Milt McPike Memorial Skeet Shoot is name in honor of Milton McPike who was an American educator, a San Francisco 49ers football player, and the principal of Madison East High School for 23 years. “Long viewed as a school attended by students from blue-collar families who were themselves destined for the trades, East was transformed by McPike's relentless insistence on academic excellence. In 1989, the U.S. Department of Education designated East High School as a National High School of Excellence. In 1990, Reader's Digest listed McPike among 10 American Heroes in Education.”

McPike served on the Board of Regents for the University of Wisconsin–Madison until his death on March 29, 2008.  McPike was born October 9, 1939 in Jacksonville, Illinois. He played high school football with boxer Ken Norton. He attended Northeast Missouri State University Teacher's College (now Truman State University) from 1958 to 1962. While there, he earned 12 in 1962 he was a 12th-round draft pick by the San Francisco 49ers. Following his NFL experience, McPike taught and coached sports for 11 years in Quincy, Illinois.
In 1974, he moved to Madison, Wisconsin, where he served as vice principal of Madison West High School for five years. In 1979 he was appointed principal of Madison East High School. 

Henry Duwe,
May 31, 2015, 8:12 PM