Written by: R. K. Sawyer & Jonathan Meyers
Greater Houston Sports Club (GHSC) kicked off the first of its ambitious 2019 competitive event schedule with the Browning-Briley (B&B), held from April 4 through 7. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the celebrated B&B and the second year GHSC has been event host. In addition to shoot sponsors Browning and Briley, Lincoln/Long Range returned as sponsor of the FITASC and 5-Stand, and White Flyer returned as patron of both Prelim events. A total of 525 competitors participated in the 4-day venue that offered a serious yet fun-filled schedule of events.
There were plenty of incentives for the field to shoot their best this year. At the top of the prize pile was a $4,000 payout for the Browning-Briley Main Event HOA spot, plus another $5,000 if the winner was shouldering a Browning. The runner-up cash prize was $2,500, with cash also awarded to 3rd place, Master, and Concurrent levels. In addition, the shoot offered options, trophies, and gift cards for Briley accessories. The Briley Sub-Gauge HOA payout was impressive as well, with an additional $1,000 thrown in if the winner was using Briley choke tubes. If you weren’t lucky with your score, you could still go home a winner if your ticket was drawn for the 20th Anniversary B&B commemorative Browning shotgun, the legendary ‘White Lightning’ with a set of custom Briley tubes. Or even one of the other 11 Browning shotguns at the Saturday night banquet drawing!
At the close of shooting business on Saturday, the familiar names of Bobby Fowler, Cory Kruse, and Justin Napier were at the top of the B&B Main Event scoreboard. On Sunday it was Cory, with a score of 193, who walked away with the 20th Anniversary B&B Main Event Champion spot. Bobby Fowler’s 189 nabbed him the Runner-Up (RU) title. Main Event Ladies HOA went to Haylyn Hanks with a 178, a comfortable nine targets in front of her nearest competitor, RU Meagan Harrington. In the Sub-Gauge Event, Gregory Nassar won HOA, posting a score of a 284, 12 targets ahead of RU Lyn Ward. Jo Ellen Collin repeated her performance of last year, again taking the Ladies Sub-Gauge HOA and smoking the nearest competitor by 25 targets.
Cory Kruse was on fire this year. Not only did he win the Main Event HOA, but also took top honors in the Lincoln/Long Range (LLR) 5-Stand, shooting a near perfect score of 99, and also the LLR FITASC Event. A pair of 97s tied Ed Arrighi and Nadim Nassir for second in the 5-Stand, and in FITASC Bayne Horne was named RU, his score tied with Cory’s and decided during Sunday’s tie breaker.
Haylyn Hanks earned the top spot in the LLR Ladies 5-Stand with Callan Seale RU. Haylyn was also named the LLR Ladies FITASC Ladies Champion after a tie breaker with RU Meagan Harrington. In the two B&B Super Sport competitions it was Justin Napier and Brandon Reising who took the Champion title with a 96 and 99 respectively. The RU title went to Ruben Spel in a tie-breaker and Jacob Cameron. The 100 target White Flyer Prelim 1 Champion was – you may have guessed it – Cory Kruse, his 99 one target in front of RU Steve Dickonson. Prelim 2 was almost as close, with Tom Sealy’s 99 two birds ahead of RU Logan Crane.
This year, after getting comfortable with nearly two weeks of sunny skies and comfortable temperatures, the weatherman made GHSC management a little nervous – rain was forecasted for three of the four days. Thursday in the early hours it poured, but stopped before the Prelims, 20- and 28-gauge Sporting and 5-Stand, the .410 bore Sporting, and Super Sporting events. The rest of the day was comfortable with only light winds and partly cloudy skies. Friday started with fog, light winds and no rain. For Saturday’s big guns the wind picked up from the south and the afternoon was warm, but the tourney dodged the rain bullet a third time. Saturday evening’s weather was perfect for the reception and banquet.
Returning shooters likely remember the Saturday shoot festivities from last year, when a cold front barreled through that delivered 25mph winds and a temperature drop of almost 35 degrees. This year it was no challenge to keep the reception’s crab cakes, truffle mashed potatoes, chutney-covered lamb lollipops, or tomato caprese skewers warm, and no one had to brave the elements to enjoy the banquet’s main course of beef marsala and chicken chardonnay with grilled asparagus and vegetable risotto.
But then there was Sunday. The morning started out sunny, although a black horizon quickly formed to the west that foretold what was to come. The worst of it hit about lunch time. Radios crackled the ‘come on in’ for the shooters before wind gusts topped more than 35 mph, blowing sheets of horizontal rain. It could have been a game closer, but after two hours the rain stopped. With the kind of fancy footwork GHSC is known for, the show went on. The last of the shoot-offs ran until about 7:00pm, a long day for both the club and the competitors.
Of the many high points from this year’s shoot, several are particularly memorable. One was the buzz on the field about the great target presentation, and it had to give Mike Boire a real sense of satisfaction in this, his first year as GHSC’s Operations Director. Another was the crowd reaction to Vietnam War medic and veteran Bruce Nied’s 28-gauge D-Class win. It was the Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipients personal best, and his score of 90 was 11 targets ahead of his nearest competitor.
GHSC was honored to host the 2019 20th Anniversary Browning-Briley. The club extends a sincere thanks to Browning and Briley, sponsors Lincoln/Long Range and White Flyer, and all the attendees who made the event a success. The 2020 B&B is sure to be as much fun as this year. Follow the event schedule at www.greaterhoustonsportsclub.com and be ready to register at www.winscoreonline.com!