The Texas State NRA Black Powder Cartridge Silhouette Championship, sponsored by the Texas State Rifle Association (TSRA) and the Texas Historical Shootist Society (THSS), was held on the first weekend in October at the Brune Land & Cattle Co, near Columbus, Texas. Despite the dreary prognostications put forth by the Weather Bureau, nineteen competitors, some from as far away as Sonora, Texas, arrived to determine who were the best BPCS shooters in Texas.
As 9:00am approached, prayers went out that the first day's match could be completed; Saturday morning had arrived dark and threatening. With a tropical depression in the Gulf of Mexico bringing in record amounts of rain to the South, Sunday's weather forecast was even worse. Downrange, the orange targets glowed in the dim light, while though painted black were barely visible. Mindful of the vagaries of Texas weather, the competitors voted 17 to 2 to shoot the black targets, on the chance that the sun would be peeking out later. It was a choice that would be rued by more than one before the day's end.
Promptly at 9:00am, Office Supervisor John Fraley called the shooters to the line, and at the command of fire, the raindrops began. After a brief halt, the match recommenced, regardless of periodic sprinklings which progressed to a steady drizzle before the last shots were fired. There was a noticeable lack of wind; black powder smoke hung in the valley below, obscuring already hard to see targets.
In spite of the obstacle, several shooters turned in their personal-best scores. By 2:00pm, Match #1 was over, and Don Abrams had shot his second Master score, a 27, placing him in the top position. Close on his heels, with a 26, her first Master score, was Katha Higginbotham. Both were shooting Lone Star Rolling blocks in .40-65. In 3rd position, shooting a .40-65 Shiloh Sharps, was Ed Duncan, with a 25. Ed's 25 placed in in a numerical three way tie with Mike Westbrook & John Knesek, who had each taken down all 10 pigs. Ed had earned the 3rd position on the strength of hitting 4 chickens.
Day Two was a surprise. Given the previous day's rain, and the Weather Channel's forecast, most expected a rain out for Match #2. But true to the Texas weather tradition of unpredictability, morning dawned cloudy and cool, not rainy. By 10:00am, the black targets were easily visible in the bright sunshine, only occasionally shadowed by passing clouds. Although the target visibility had greatly increased, the impish wind played havoc across the berms, making shooting conditions more difficult, as evidenced by the lower scores than those fo the previous day.
Paul Blanton rallied after the first day to turn in the high score for Match #2. With his Meacham Hi-Wall in .40-65, he'd taken down 24 targets, including 4 chickens. Steve Ueckert took second with another AAA score of 23, Gary Martin, shooting his .40-65 Browning Hi-Wall took third with a score of 23, two chickens shy of second place.
After the final puffs of smoke had cleared, and all scores had been tallied, the Championship awards were presented by Rose Dawn Blanton. The top Championship award, appropriately in the shape of Texas, went to Don Abrams, with an aggregate score of 47. It was his last target, a pig, which earned him the win. Mike Westbrook had 3 chickens to Abrams 2. It was a "do or die" situation for Abrams, and he was up to the pressure! Mike Westbrook used a Shiloh Sharps with a Badger barrel in .45-70 to take down 46 targets and nail down second place. And once again, chickens proved to be Ed Duncan's tie-breaker. His score of 44 included 6 chickens and earned him 3rd place overall.
AAA Don Abrams 1 18 16 12 47 1st Overall AAA Mike Westbrook 3 19 14 10 46 2nd Overall & 1st Team AAA Ed Duncan 6 18 13 7 44 3rd Overall AA Steve Ueckert 4 19 11 10 44 1st AA & 1st Team AAA John Knesek 2 19 13 10 44 1st AAA AAA-W Katha Higginbotham 4 18 10 10 42 1st Woman M Mike Hughes 5 15 8 12 40 1st Master AAA Don Claxton 3 17 13 7 40 1st Team AAA Tom Berwick 5 8 13 12 38 AAA Paul Blanton 4 15 12 6 37 AAA Billy Mills 3 16 8 10 37 AAA Leeland Johnson 2 16 7 12 37 AAA Chuck Marshall 1 16 9 11 37 AAA-W Mary Jo Duncan 2 14 9 10 35 M Dave Higginbotham 7 12 7 8 34 AAA Gary Martin 1 17 8 7 33 AAA-W Rose Dawn Blanton 0 13 9 8 30 AA Richard Davidson 6 9 7 7 29
Arnold Grainger 4 10 2 5 21 1st A
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Page last revised: December 16, 2002