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posted Aug 12, 2015, 9:57 AM by Henry Duwe   [ updated Aug 12, 2015, 9:58 AM ]
By Lee Thomas

Sauk Prairie, WI
July 26, 2015

Sir Noël Peirce Coward, an English playwright, composer, actor and singer, known for his wit, once said “only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun.”  But he probably didn’t have any skeet shooting friends living in Wisconsin. The temperature by mid-day Saturday was approaching 88 degrees with the humidity level around 51%. The “dog days” of summer arrived in Sauk Prairie just in time for the Bald Eagle Skeet Shoot.

Skeet shooting is a game of individual targets, one at a time.  Each having its own personality and zip code.  Even in the game of doubles each target is shot one at a time.  At the bald eagle shoot on July 25-26, 2015 it came down to just that, one target.  At his home club in Sauk Prairie, Paul Friesen was on fire. He posted perfect scores in the 12, 20 and 28 gauge going into Sunday afternoon’s .410 competition.     

Picture: Paull Friesen with his new gun, Targetsbane.
Paul Friesen HAA Champ.
The doubles event saw a pair of 98’s by Paul Friesen and Mark Reichow being shot off.  Friesen was the last shooter standing to capture the champion title with runner up going to Reichow.  Matt Savolainen’s 96 took AA1, Don Kelly’s 96 earned him B1, with Dylan Ruokolainen settling into C1 with a 91 and Brett Mittelstaedt’s 73 earned him the D1 spot.

The 12 gauge event saw one perfect score, two 98’s and five 97’s.  Paul Friesen’s perfect score earned him the uncontested champion title.  Gary Wipperfurth and James Decker both shot 98’s.  Decker lasted longer in the shoot off earning him the runner up spot with Wipperfurth taking AA1.  Jeff Varney and Matt Savolainen shot a pair of 97’s.  When the shoot off dust settled Matt captured AA2 with Varney getting AA3.  Henry Duwe was A1 with 97, Craig Storm won B1 with 97 while Robert St. Clair filled the C1 spot with a 97, and Tom McDaniel was D1 with a score of 89 and Brett Mittelstaedt’s 78 earned him D1.

The 20 gauge event took place during the hottest part of the day.  But it was “no sweat” for three shooters who registered perfect scores while four others registered 99’s.  Paul Friesen, Don Kelly and Matt Savolainen shot off the 100’s with Friesen becoming the victor; Savolainen was RU and Kelly was AA1.  Henry Duwe, James Decker and Jeff Varney battled it out at stations 3, 4 and 5 for Class A with 99’s.  When the lead stopped flying, Duwe took A1, Varney took A2 and A3 went to Decker.  Mike Hass’s 98 earned him the B1 class title; C1 went to Ken Schmirler with a 90 and D1 to Dylan Ruokolainen who turned a 94.

Sunday the little guns made the scene, the 28 gauge and the .410 bore.  Temperature was still in the mid 80’s but it wasn’t as humid like Saturday.  Not that it mattered to mad dogs and Englishmen.  In the 28 gauge event two shooter turned in perfect scores, two had 99’s, four shot 98’s and four registered 97’s.  Paul Friesen turned in another perfect score along with Mark Reichow.  In the shoot off Reichow bested Friesen for the champion spot.  Freisen was runner-up.  Henry Duwe and Jack Tans posted 99’s; James Decker, Gary Wipperfurth, Gary Wehlage and Randy Riehle all turned in 98’s while David Ruokolainen, Matt Savolainen, Greg Schweppe and Jeff Renk all scored 97’s.  When it was all “shot and done” Wipperfurth took AA1, Decker was AA2, Henry Duwe was A1, Jack Tans was A2 and Randy Riehle was A3, Gary Wehlage took B1 and Jeff Renk was B2, C1 went to Robert St Clair who posted a 95 while C2 went to Lee Thomas’s 93. Ron Duffy captured D1 with a 93.

Picture: Matt Savolainen slaying clay pigeons.
Matt Savolainen HOA Champ.
It was now a horse race going into the .410 event. Paul Friesen was still on fire. With a perfect score in the 28 gauge he now had a 300 in the HOA and 398 in the HAA. With only the .410 bore left he was the shooter (horse) to catch. They had made the last turn and coming down the homestretch with Friesen leading the pack by eight targets in the HAA and six targets in the HOA.  The weekend had all come down to this, the .410 bore.  Shooters (riders) were seen going to their whips.  This was a now a three shooter (horse) race to the finish; Paul Friesen, Matthew Savolainen and James Decker. David Ruokolainen ran his first three boxes not missing until station five when he dropped the low house finishing with a 99.  Savolainen dropped two (98) and Decker dropped three (97).  What was Friesen’s score you ask, well he dropped nine (91), if you really must ask.  That certainly bunched things up.  David Ruokolainen’s 99 earned him the top spot, his team mate Matt Savolainen was RU with a 98, and James Decker took AA1 with 97. In Class A, Gary Wipperfurth (97) was A1 and Mark Reichow (95) was A2.  Craig Storm (96) took B1 and Henry Duwe (94) was B2.  Dylan Ruokolainen (89) won C1 and Ken Schmirler (86) was C2.  D1 went to Brett Mittelstaedt’s 73.

In the five gun HAA event Paul Friesen finished with a 489 besting Matt Savolainen and James Decker (488) by one target.  Gary Wipperfurth and Henry Duwe both turned in 486’s.  This is how they finished:  Friesen was CH and Savolainen RU.  Decker (488) was A1, Wipperfurth (486) was A2, and Henry Duwe (486) was A3.  In class B David Ruokolainen (483) was B1, Mike Hass (475) took B2 and Don Kelly (471) was B3.  Class C went to Lee Thomas (443).

The four gun HOA didn’t go as well for Friesen.  Matt Savolainen tied (392) with James Decker for the top position with Savolainen winning the shoot off.  Decker was RU and Friesen (391) was A1, Wipperfurth (389) A2, David Ruokolainen (388) A3. Henry Duwe (389) was B1, Robert St Clair (368) was C1.