Members came from all directions to the Hellgate Civilian Shooters Association rifle range in West Riverside, MT to compete against a dozen legends (at least in their own minds) in the eight annual WMMOA Day at the Range. This event is designed to sustain our comradery throughout the summer and provide a safe place where WMMOA Veterans can dust off their pistols and rifles in a friendly competitive setting. Members get a chance to try out firearms and ammo that others have brought.
After a couple of hours of practice shooting, we participated as service teams in a ten-shot pistol ten-meter Buddy Match. Last year the United States Air Force won the much sought-after Champion’s Trophy; the year before it was the Navy team. The Army, with the most participants, was long overdue to return to their previous dominance.
This year there were seven teams and lots of good-natured ribbing. Some shooters chose larger caliber handguns while others wanted the predictability of 22 caliber pistols. When the dust cleared the Army had captured bragging rights and the trophy. Dave Mihalic and Gary Swartz shot a 79 to emerge victorious, edging out another Army team, Jack Babon and Walt Briggs who managed a 71. The Air Force team of Dale Stovall and Mike Schauf fired a 64 for third place.
After the heated contest and ninety-degree temperatures, the WMMOA members adjourned to the HCSA indoor range for grilled hotdogs, beans, potato salad, chips, and cool drinks. The facility was filled with the sounds of what might have been and pledges to do better next year.