PVGC members compete in 2017 Berger South West Nationals

Palomino Valley Gun Club members, Tim Dey, Cheryl Dey, Booth Myers, Robert Hoppe, Addison Mohler, Don Johnson, Monte Forbes, Todd Hallmeyer, and Ben Lucchesi descended on Phoenix, AZ to compete in the 2017 Berger South West Nationals (SWN). The SWN competition, hosted by Desert Sharp Shooters at the famed Ben Avery Shooting range, is one of the largest prone-only high power tournaments of its kind. With 400 competitors in attendance, this sell-out 5 day tournament attracts the highest level of competitors from around the world including members of the US Army Marksmanship Unit (AMU), the US National F-Class and Palma teams, English, Irish, Canadian, Australian and Scottish National Teams, shooters from Brazil, New Zealand and South Africa, and legendary shooter David Tubb, to name just a few.

The competition consists of an individual midrange tournament (3 matches at 600 yards, 20 shots per match), team palma (800, 900, 1000 yard match, 4 shooters, 15 shot per shooter per distance), team long range match (one 1000 yard match, 4 shooters, 20 shots per shooter), individual palma match (800, 900, 1000 yards, 15 shot per distance), and an individual long range tournament (four 1000 yard matches, 20 shots per match).  Awards of money and bullets are given for each match and tournament aggregate scores. Even with Ben Avery’s 100 position 1000 yard range, the busy schedule and 400 competitors means non stop shooting from sun up to sun down with no breaks for lunch for 5 days straight.

In addition to the competition, the event includes seminars on topics such as reloading, wind reading, team shooting and a live-fire wind reading clinic taught by legendary competitor and wind coach Middleton Tompkins. And if that wasn’t enough, there’s a competitors banquet on Saturday night and prize raffle, all included in the entry fees.

Not wanting to miss an opportunity to compete, Palomino club members Robert Hoppe, Tim Dey, Cheryl Dey, Addison Mohler and Booth Myers fielded an F-Class team with the help of Reloading International. Reloading International supplied high performance team jerseys to keep our shooters cool and in style on the firing line under the hot Arizona sun. Monte got in on the action as well fielding a pick-up team. Unfortunately there’s not enough sling shooters currently active in PVGC to field a team, so Ben Lucchesi teams up with friends from the Phoenix area. For those unfamiliar with high-power team shooting, a team consists of 4 shooters and a wind coach. The wind coach is responsible for making wind calls for the firing members who must complete the requisite number of shots under a time limit.

Select Match Results and Notable mentions

competitor competition class rifle score place
Booth Myers 1000 yard Expert F-Open 786-37X  1st
Team Reloading International 1000 yard tournament Master F-Open 2556-126X 1st
Tim Dey Team Palma Master F-Open 446- 30X high team score
Tim Dey Team 1000 yard Master F-Open 199-10x high team score
Cheryl Dey 1000 yard (match 1) High Master F-Open 199 – 8x
Cheryl Dey
1000 yard (match 2) High Master F-Open 198 – 6x
Ben Lucchesi 600 yard tournament High Master Palma 600-37X 2nd
Robert Hoppe 1000 yard (match 1) High Master F-Open 399-27X 2nd
Robert Hoppe 1000 yard (match 1) High Master F-Open 200-15X  personal best
Robert Hoppe grand agg High Master F-Open 1237-62X 18th
Ben Lucchesi grand agg High Master Palma 1232-48X 13th
Cheryl Dey grand agg High Master F-Open 1232-51X 30th *High Woman
Addison Mohler target service High Master 1st

One of the benefits of shooting in a competition like this is the opportunity to measure oneself against some of the best shooters in the sport in similar conditions. Of notable mention is Tim Dey’s performance, especially on team.

Beyond the wins (and losses), the experience of attending this type of event is a once in a lifetime opportunity for high power shooting enthusiasts. For some, its the opportunity to have fun and learn. For others its all about the thrill of competition. Whatever your goals are, Addison Mohler said it best, “This is the funnest SWN I have been to and it was because everybody was there. I really enjoyed shooting on the team and I’m already looking forward to next year!”

If you are interested in learning more about high power prone shooting and competition, come check out PVGC’s club matches. We’ve got a great schedule with plenty of opportunities for you to hone your skills before the 2018 South West Nationals.