By Maxey Brantley, ISSO Senior Open Match Director

Shooters from the four corners of the U.S.A. and Canada gathered to vie for the International Shooting Sports of Oregon (ISSO) Senior Open Championship title Oct. 13-15, 2023, hosted by R.D. and Debby Reynolds at the Fort Worth Trap and Skeet Club, in Fort Worth, TX.  Not even a full solar eclipse dulled the shine of the competition! Two former Olympians and an ever growing contingent of Canadian shooters, were in attendance.  Thirty plus shooters competed with over $2,000 returned in awards and cash.  Daily lunches on the range and a Mexican buffet dinner in the famous Stock Yards on Saturday night were a hit with the competitors and their wives, whose attendance continues to grow. Fourteen wives. attended this year to enjoy the sights and shopping of the local areas and cheer on their husbands in the finals.

Originated in 2007, the ISSO “Senior Open” is an annual USA Shooting sanctioned event designed specifically for Senior Category trap shooters (ages 50+) replicating a World Cup experience.  Decades old comraderies are rekindled while new friendships are made. This year marked Senior Open XVI as it moves around the country to various venues, promoting the USA Shooting motto “Sport for Life”.  Shooters compete in a 2 Person Blind-Draw Team match on Friday.  Then, modeled after the International Shooting Sports Federation World Cup clay target trap format, fire 75 targets on Saturday and 50 targets on Sunday with three separate finals to contest the titles. The Euro Class System classifies shooters based on their performances on Saturday’s score, being particularly important since non-USA Shooting members from other countries participate in the event, who hold no USAS classification.

Challenging wind conditions prevailed over all three days, proving the Fort Worth bunker a level playing field, giving little home field advantage to the Texas shooters. White Flyer provided complementary Orange Crusher flash targets which were used in all three finals.

For Friday’s team match, David Senter, St. Helens, OR and Robert Pankiewicz, New Brunswick, Canada, took High Team with 119/150 while George Leary, Alberta, Canada and John Stoner, Saint Louis, MO, were 2nd with 116/150, and Youssef Mishriki, Ocoee FL and Maxey Brantley, New Braunfels, TX were 3rd with 115/150.

Former Olympian, 2-time Senior Open Champion and USA Shotgun Coach Jay Waldron, Gales Creek, OR, jumped into the lead Saturday with 66/75. Scott Miller, Las Vegas, NV, followed with 63/75; Former Olympian George Leary, Alberta, Canada, Paul Mullen, Laurel, MD and George Furman, Los Angeles, CA all followed closely with 62/75, and Robert Pankiewicz, New Brunswick, Canada trailed with 61/75 on Day 1.

Day 2 saw Mullen and Pankiewicz pull ahead with 105/125, with Miller, Leary and Waldron following closely; Furman faded while Primo Scapin, Quebec, Canada surged, setting the stage for the Top 6 finals.

As the wind increased to almost 20 mph, the full ISSF 50 target Final saw Waldron, Miller and Leary retired in-turn in the challenging conditions.  Pankiewicz seized the bronze medal with 23/50 while Mullen and Scapin continued to battle.  When the flash target dust cleared, Mullen was victorious with the gold with 39/50 to Scapin’s 35/50 for the silver.

B and C Class Champions winners were determined using a modified 25 flash target finals with Cary Skaggs, Bushland, TX and Steve Loschen, Wilcox, NE, winning respectively. High Intermediate Senior was Primo Scapin; High Veteran was Paul Mullen; High Woman was Kassandra Kubes, Aledo, TX and High Visitor was Robert Pankiewicz, Canada. Congratulations to all!

The ISSO Staff would like to again thank the Fort Worth Trap and Skeet Club and all the attendees for another outstanding event and we look forward to improving for next year!  Senior Open XVII’s location and dates are still being decided; the 2024 dates will be announced when available and listed on the USAS website.