Toni Ann Rogers Spring Extrava- ganza The Last Shoot By Marty Froebel After six successful years, the Toni Ann Rogers Spring Extravaganza had its final tournament the last week in March at the National Shooting Complex in San Antonio, Texas. The event drew 273 shooters with 83 of those from outside Texas. Mike Harris, John Hewitt, and the Tulletts, Tina and Brian, came all the way from England. Harris from North Hampton said, “I shot with Gary and Babette Burley and this was my first time over here. This was my first time to shoot all of the gauges since we shoot only 12 gauge in England.” Shoot with the Stars Stuart Fairbank got the idea for Shoot with the Stars over a year ago, passed the idea on to Toni Ann and NSSA, and program was born. It has something unique that other shoots do not have. Twenty-seven lucky Class A-E shoo- ters’ names were drawn and they received free entry and ammunition for the shoot, plus squadding with some of the world’s best skeet shooters. This year’s stars were Sam Armstrong, Dave Starrett, Bob DeFrancesco, Tami Myers, John Shima, Stuart Fair- bank, John Herkowitz and Billy Williams. I talked to the only lady star, Tami Myers, who reported, “I got to shoot with the new shooters on my squad and I got to see their excitement in participating in the shoot.” I talked to some of those chosen to shoot with the stars and they told me they looking forward to the experience. Guy Ellison from Lafayette, La., said, “This is my first Toni and I just became a life member to NSSA. I have been treated like a king. I am going to shoot with the stars today and I am really looking forward to that.” Elizabeth Hoskins, a new member of Jo Ellen Collin’s Blonde Squad from Dallas, explained, “Yes, I cannot tell a lie, I am a member of the Blonde Squad. This was my first Toni. It was fun and delightful. I got to shoot with mul- tiple stars. Billy Williams was one we got to shoot with twice and he was wonderful. I learned tons of things just watching their form, their composure and their gracious nature. I also shot with Stuart Fairbank, Bob DeFrancesco and Sam Armstrong. It was a fun bunch, and they were all delightful. “I first touched a shotgun this past June,” Hoskins continued. “Today I found out I won HOA D Class. I shot my first 25 straight in a registered shoot. They shot my hat to smithereens. This has been a phenomenal experience. I want to thank Toni Rogers, the guys I have shot with at the Dallas Gun Club, Richard Whaley and Todd Bender, the current and former All-Americans who allowed me to shoot with them and the Blonde Squad and the terrific people here at the National Shooting Complex.” Mardy Kemmer from Denver has participated in every Extravaganza but one. He jokingly told me his main rea- son for attending was to get out of the snow in Colorado. Regina Tumbarello came to the National Shooting Complex because of her friends she shoots with in Uvalde, Texas. “Tom and Pat Hupp, David Lamascus, the buddies I shoot with in Uvalde, told me about this shoot. This is my first trip to the Toni. I have been shooting off and on for about two years. I am sorry to hear this is the last Toni.” Every shooter I talked to was sad to see the Toni Shoot end. Briley Stands Out As I walked by the fields, I noticed some shooters wearing colorful foot wear. Passing the Briley store I saw them again and went inside and talked to John Castillo, who runs the Briley store. He gave me the low down on the wild looking shoes. John explained, “The Briley Team all got together and decided to do something different for the shoot. So we de- cided to excite everybody with these awesome Ronald McDonald shoes.” The shoes were bright mixture of red and yellow colors, and they did exactly what the Briley guys wanted them to do. While taking a breather at the club house, and a man whose shirt read “Big Dog” pointed to a gentleman and suggested I talk to him. Big Dog was also wearing a cap that showed he was a former Marine so I really could not refuse. I met Paul Norton from Lafayette, La., and found out he has been shooting since 1968, some 41 years. Paul commented, “My first trip to the National Shooting Complex occurred in 1971. I have not been here since then and it’s changed a lot. This is my first Toni and I like it. It’s a very good shoot. Since this is the last Toni, I am glad I got to shoot one shoot. “In 1971,” Norton recalled, “there was only the upper and lower field, no grass and they were all mud. There was the club house, no Vendor’s Row, no museum, no admin building and no sporting clay fields.” Olivia Elizondo, from Taft, Texas, reported. “I shoot in Corpus Christi, and I am a member of the Lady Hot Shots. This is my first time to be here and I love everything about this place. I really like Vendors’ Row. A lady where I worked got me started in the sport. The Lady Hot Shots asked me if I wanted to come up here for the Toni. Rocky Goodman was helping me in the practice rounds and he is a good man and good teacher.” The Weather Factor On Thursday, before the shoot began, the San Antonio area was blessed by Mother Nature with some much needed moisture. The Shooting Complex got its share of rain and hail in the morning but by noon the sun came out, a gentle spring breeze fluttered the flags and practice conditions were perfect. After Thursday though, the weather just went down hill. On Friday, the Toni began with three rotations of doubles. Mother Nature played a big role in determining scores in the shoot. Gusty winds blew the state flags straight out and 35 to 40 mph winds altered the target flights and even moved the shooters on stations. Federal Doubles Event The end of the Federal Doubles Event found only two men with straights. Billy Williams and Bill Tanner met in the shoot-off field on Station 3. Mother Nature and her gusty winds decided the outcome on Station 5 of the first round of miss-and-out. Williams broke a clean pair on the station and Tanner broke the first low house bird and the high house bird was about 3 feet off the ground when he shot and missed. Williams was congratulated by sev- eral people from the stands. Tanner deserved his congratulations for shooting the other 100 in the challenging conditions. Billy W. wore a big smile for winning and Bill T. tried, once more, to get my Precision Fit Stock—a running joke every time he sees me. My answer was again, NO! Third place was decided by a shoot-off of 99s when Christopher Cook outlasted the amazing Wayne Mayes. Minka Williams took the lady championship over Jo Ellen Collin in their shoot-off of 95s. Babette Burley finished third with her 93. Tyler McMillian, on leave from the Air Force Academy were he will soon graduate as a 2d Lieutenant, won the military concurrent with a solo 95. He will be joining the Air Force Skeet Team when he completes pilot training ac- cording to USAF Team member Colonel Rick Davis. Browning 12 Gauge & Rio Sporting 28 Gauge Saturday’s Browning 12 Gauge Championship and the Rio Sporting Ammunition 28 Gauge Championship were still plagued by gusty winds, however nine shooters managed straights in the 12 gauge event. At the conclusion of all shoot-offs, Mayes added the 12 gauge championship to his vast collection of titles. Jim Speer was runner-up and also veteran champ, and Doc Biddle placed third. Rebecca McCumber’s lone 99 snapped up the lady championship. A pair of 98s shot off for runner-up and third with Myers winning over collegiate Talia Borg. McMillian, former Junior All-American, won collegiate honors after a shoot-off of 99s. Not too shabby for this talented young man who doesn’t get to practice at the Academy at all. The Rio 28 Gauge Event produced ten perfect scores. The shoot-off ended with Randy Bates open champ, Jerod Hicks runner-up and Rick Stockstill third. As NSSA Skeet Director, Rick was a busy man taking care of any shoot glitches that might interfere with the smooth progress of the shoot. Two teenaged phenomenons and Junior All-Americans shot off their 99s to determine lady champ. Young Allie Biedenharn took the title over her friend Bailey Glenewinkel (RU). Both young ladies are star students of Terry How- ard. McCumber was third after a shoot-off of three 98s. On Saturday night, shooters and guests converged at the Beretta Pavilion for the free party. Everyone had a roar- ing great time. White Flyer 20 Gauge & Remington .410 Sunday featured the 20 Gauge White Flyer Event, Remington .410 Event, Kolar High Overall Championship and Winchester 500 High All Around Championship. Shooters posted 16 straights in the 20 gauge White Flyer Event. The shoot-off narrowed down to Bob DeFrancesco as 20 gauge champion, Christopher Cook as runner-up and Shawn Scott third. Bob exclaimed, “It has been quite a while since I did this in a major shoot. I am really sad that this is Toni’s last shoot. She has been a great asset to skeet and a benefactor and I am really sorry she is not going to continue it. She is a great lady and I have known her for quite some time from the Dallas Gun Club. She is a real class act.” Glenewinkel shot the lone 100 among the ladies. Leeder won a shoot-off of four 99s to snare lady runner-up over Debra Perry lady (3rd). Something very unusual happened in the two-man team 20 gauge championship where two 199 shot off for the championship. Wayne Mayes and Mark Vaillancourt took the championship and but were actually booed by the spec- tators. It was a no-win situation for the gentlemen as they went up against young ladies Bailey Glenewinkel and Abby Leeder. It was a good natured boo and both men smiled when it happened. The wind played another role in the Kolar .410 Championship. Only four shooters hit the century mark. McCumber took the championship over John Castillo (RU), junior shooter Carter Wehrheim (3rd) and John Shima (AAA1). I got to Becky after a lot of congratulations and she said, “This is only my second Toni. Toni is a delightful lady and a sweetheart. I did not get to shoot much last year because of health problems. I am very well now and I am glad to be back. This was not the prettiest shoot-off, but who cares. “I have to say I am very sorry about Lori’s (Desatoff) not being here She is a good friend of mine, brings out the best in me and I am going to miss her in competition. She is not sick but is taking some time off.” Miss Becky took home the lady championship as well as the open title. Collin (98) was lady runner-up and Brenda Bangert (97) placed third. Kolar HOA & Winchester HAA Young gun Carter Wehrheim nailed the Kolar sponsored high overall championship with a 398 total. Back one bird, Mayes was runner-up and Biddle’s 396 earned third. Becky McCumber’s 394 took top honors among the ladies. Three 384 shot off for runner-up and third and saw Bangert outlast Biedenharn. Mayes and his 496 topped the high all around event sponsored by Winchester. Wehrheim (RU) shot a 493 fol- lowed closely by Armstrong (3rd) at 492. The Gracious Toni Ann I would be terribly remiss if I did not put the final ribbon and bow on this great shoot by interviewing Ms. Toni Ann Rogers. This vivacious and generous lady brought a special sparkle to her shoot just by just being there. I finally found her in her chauffeur driven Toni Taxi near the shoot-off stadium on Sunday. The interview was frequently inter- rupted by friends and participants. She warmly greeted each one as if she had known them all for a very long time. I learned some interesting facts as I listened to the banter of people who talked to her. I discovered her best friend and companion, Alan Steen, was a master of martial arts who participated in tournaments and even defeated the legendary Chuck Norris. She knew Stormy Weathers, a top notch ref, when he was a young shooter. She said, “He had the smoothest shooting movement for a kid I have ever seen.” He visited her during our interview as well as did Rayburn Rash, the former voice of the shoot-off stadium for the World. C.W. Dagnal, an old friend who played pranks on her in Dallas, also came by the Toni Taxi. Dagnal’s first prank occurred when he placed a Dallas Fire Station decal on her brand new shotgun. She said, “It ruined the look of my new gun.” Another prank happened in Tyler, Texas, at a shoot where the weather went cool. Toni had to wear the only pair of pants she had for three days. C.W. struck again. When the weather changed and she put on her shorts, C.W. re- trieved her pants, stretched them out and stuck them on a wall. Toni explained how her shoot came to be. “I wanted a shoot this time of year and this place is the very best place to have it. I also thought it would be good for the little clubs because people will start shooting and practicing earlier for competition, and they could get some early revenue. Most of the shoots don’t start until the weather is perfect. The big shoots start in June. “The first year I had the shoot,” Toni continued, “it turned out to be number 4 in the world. I hoped it would get to number 3. I knew it would never surpass the Mini-World and the Main World in attendance. “I like to go around and see all the ladies in the shoot and I give candy to everyone and doggie treats to the dogs,” she added. “As part of the shoot I wanted to give a free party to the shooters because there are not many free parties around at shoots any more. “The people who are selected to Shoot with the Stars have shot minimums and also were new shooters in the sport. Shoot with the Stars let them shoot with the big dogs, the stars. I give all the men and women who shoot with the stars a special gift each year. “This is my last shoot because my contract is up, and this is just killing me,” Toni concluded. “I have tho- roughly enjoyed and loved this shoot for its six years. I have shot with and been around some of these people for 25 years and I will miss very much not being a part of this game.” Toni added her personal thanks to many people who make this shoot the great success it has been. “My heart- felt thanks to the many people of NSSA, who administered the shoot, provided field support to make it the success it was. I also want to thank the sponsors whose participation added to the shoot’s great success. The refs also played an important role. To all the shooters, both new and old, who came to this shoot, my warmest of thanks to all of them.” I know from talking to shooters and hearing them talk to Toni they will miss this shoot as much as I will. But, like me, more than the shooting, I think they will miss the ambiance that this gracious, generous lady has brought to her shoot by her presence. Thanks for the great memories Ms. Toni Ann Rogers, and God bless you and keep you well.