Shooters from every ATA zone, including 23 states converged on the
tiny hamlet of Elysburg looking for trapshooting glory. Zone
officials moved the Eastern Zone Shoot to New York for 2006.
This was the first time the Eastern Zone shoot was held over five days (other times the first day was an un-official part of the tournament run by the host club). Turnout for the first day was lighter than expected (a high of 252 entries in the handicap) but was enjoyed by all of those participating. Attendance then picked up every day with a high of 876 participants in the Singles Championship on Saturday.
Saturday's Singles Championship opened with a fairly strong North wind lifting the targets on the top line (north facing) and crossing the target path on the lower line (east facing). This was just enough wind to allow the race to be completed without a single 200 - the first time in memory that that has happened. There were 20 199's.
Competitors quickly fell out of the shoot-off until only
Mike Blaisdell of New Hampshire, Brian Whalen of New York, and
Kay Ohye of New Jersey remained. They went 250 straight Saturday evening before deciding to continue Sunday morning. At 8:30 am on Sunday they resumed shooting and broke another 125 straight before having to stop so the regular program could be held.
Following the Doubles Shootoffs Sunday afternoon (which Blaisdell was in) the Singles shootoff continued - without Kay Ohye who had another commitment and could not stay. Blaisdell and Whalen then went to a trap to continue their shoot-off with a large crowd watching. They went on to 400x400, then 500x500 and 550x550. Finally, on the 23rd round, Whalen missed his 568th target, a rapidly rising straightaway from post 5 - Blaisdell closed out the round and the longest shoot-off in
ATA, PSSA and Eastern Zone history was over - Mike Blaisdell winning with 575X575 and both shooters receiving a rousing ovation from the crowd - many of whom would normally have been on the road home but chose to stay and watch this shootoff.
Whalen chose the resident runner-up
trophy, leaving the Open trophy to the departed Kay Ohye.
Etchen of Ligonier, PA won the Doubles title with 100x100 by
defeating junior shooter Brian Maher of Goshen, Connecticut.
Eckman of Newmanstown, PA, the 2005 Pennsylvania State
Handicap champion (98x100) broke 99 to win the Zone Handicap
crown. He defeated James Caldwell and Chris Vendel
in the three man shoot-off. Ohye took the HAA and the HOA titles.
Ohye won 9
awards while his daughter Debbie Ohye took home 8 trophies.
Vendel won 6 awards and Stephanie Sandler won 5 including
the ladies Singles and Handicap titles. Brian Maher also won 5