Hundreds of worshipers of the sport known as the Course of Hunting descended upon a small town in Kansas June 18-20 to compete in the North American FITASC Grand Prix or more properly said, the North American Parcours de Chasse Grand Prix and Finale of the North American Cup but we’ll just say GP. OK?
What’s all this North American Cup stuff about? Well, of the three major Parcours de Chasse events that take place in North America, the North American FITASC Championship, the North American FITASC Grand Prix and the National FITASC Championship, two of those are designated by FITASC as World Cup Qualifier events. The two with "North American" in the name are the qualifiers. In order to win the World Cup you must first win the North American Cup which used to be called the Pan-American Cup before they decided to split it into North and South Cups. Follow me? Now it seems like the North American FITASC GP is always held in the U.S. though theoretically I guess it could be held in Mexico, Canada or even the Arctic Circle really.
Anyway, in order to win the N.A. Cup you have to have the highest combined score in both of the N.A. Cup qualifiers. This year that person is John Kruger even though he didn’t win either event. Doesn’t matter, the Cups are about consistency and some people hold them in higher regard than the event wins. So John has a shot at the World Cup this July in Italy.
We don’t seem to be in Kansas anymore so lets all click the heels of our Crocs and return to Claythorne Lodge where we see a young lad by the name of Brody Sikes. [Smoke clears, cue harp music] Brody all of 20 years old is a Junior shooter and he is smashing clays left, right, up and down to get himself into a shoot-off with Brandon Powell. Now Powell is seen by some as sort of a Darth Vader figure. Maybe so, but if Darth Vader ever shot sporting clays that guy would always shoot 100 straights. Even without firing his gun he would just smoke clays with the Force. The point is Brandon Powell is arguably the best FITASC shot in the country and he is overdue for a big win. Not the best guy to get into a shoot-off with.
"I knew Brandon has been enduring the RU spot for some time so I knew he was wanting the win bad." said Sikes. "I knew if I shot like I did all weekend and just focused on shooting rather than winning, my shooting would get me the win. I just focused and shot my game." Sikes’ game plan paid off, shooting 184+20 to Powell’s 184+19. "Claythorne Lodge is my favorite place to shoot in the country. The people, the atmosphere are always top notch. The targets I shot at the GP were great targets and knowing Neil’s (Chadwick) targets from the past I kind of knew what to expect." said Sikes. "Claiming such a big title as a junior is pretty awesome I must say. Being only 20 and accomplishing as much as I have is great. I couldn’t have done any of it with out the help of my Dad, Dave (Stunkel), and Andy (Duffy).
When asked about gun and ammo choices and coaching Sikes replied, " I shoot a browning 525 Golden Clays and my favorite ammo is Winchester AA Super Sports, one ounce of course. My coach is Andy Duffy, who has helped me out a lot the past couple years. Our relationship is more than a shooter/coach relationship. We also hunt and fish together when we can make time."
In the classes AA went to Sean O’Meara, A to Frank Dway Marcum, B to Roberto Scaccia, C to Nick Rampino, D to Angelo Papa and E to John Stube. Ladies Champ was Sandra Cogdill followed by the Wampler’s Alexandra and Michelle in RU and 3rd respectively. Jr RU was Theo Ribbs and 3rd to Trevor Sorenson. Vet Champ Paul Oppegard, RU Rick Mein and S-Vet Champ was Bob Davis, RU Joe Cantey.
Pictures courtesy of: Brody Sikes and Elizabeth Cogdill