90 shooters compete in Hermiston Gun Club event

<p>A competitor shoots at a clay target as his teammates look on during the Hermiston Rod and Gun Club's inaugural Harvest Team Challenge.</p>

The Hermiston Rod and Gun Club held its inaugural Harvest Team Challenge Agriculture Appreciation Shoot Saturday at the gun club.

The team shooting event consisted of 18 five-person teams, with each competitor shooting 100 targets on the day. The teams were given a score out of 500.

The Columbia Basin Helicopters team finished in first place with an overall team score of 351 out of 500. The team was comprised of David McCarty, Clay McCarty, Blake Phillipi, Ed Miguez and Gene Maahs. Each shooter took home a custom silver belt buckle as a prize.

The second-place team, Hermiston Auto Parts, consisted exclusively of members from the local youth 4-H club. The youth shooters shot an impressive 327 of 500 targets. The team was made up of Case Hiatt, Rion Post, Devin Brittner, Blake Betz and Ethan Hobson. They each took home a custom silver money clip for earning second place.

The third-place team from BASF hit 312 of 500 targets. Each shooter earned a fifth of Pendleton Whisky for their efforts. The team was comprised of Tim Watts, Don Goss, Brian Steinmets, Corey Ashbeck and Robert Bergevin.

The individual winner for the shoot was Corey Ashbeck. Ashbeck connected on 83 of 100 shots to earn the $50 first prize. Josh Kovis took second with a score of 82 of 100.

In the youth division, Rion Post hit 80 of 100 targets to claim first prize, while teammate Blake Betz hits 71 of 100 for second place.

Hermiston Gun Club director John Adams said the event was a success.

“Everything went great,” Adams said. “It was the largest event we’ve had at the current facility in its existence.”

The club moved to its current location in 1985.

Teams from all of eastern Oregon came to compete in the event. Adams said teams came from as far south as Baker City and as far west as Wasco.

“We had a really great turnout,” he said. “We were expecting anywhere from 15 to 20 teams. To have 18 show up with the weather the way it was is unbelievable.”

Saturday had wind gusts of about 30 mph. Adams said navigating the wind would have been difficult for any level of shooter, especially beginners.

“It was tough on them,” Adams said. “Most of competitors are novice shooters and haven’t shot that much, let alone with the kind of elements they had to face Saturday. It was a fun challenge for everyone.”

Adams said one of the goals of the event was to increase enthusiasm for the club among the community. He said he thought the club accomplished that Saturday.

“It was a really festive atmosphere,” he said. “It appeared that a lot of people had a good time. We had a number of people mention they wanted to come back and learn more about how to shoot. That was really our goal. We want people to come out and have a good time and learn what it’s all about.”

Adams said some of the shooters were already talking about next year’s event.

“It was our hope to make this an annual event,” he said. “With the response and turnout we received on Saturday, that looks like a realistic possibility.”

Given the success of this event, Adams said the club hoped to put on more like it in the future but didn’t have any planned at this time.

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