Rendezvous Celebrates Industry, Western Style.
If records are meant to be broken, then the 2013 Shooting Industry Masters set about doing just that. A record number of sponsors, side matches and auctions contributed to a record amount of money raised for the shooting sports. In addition, 313 competitors and 74 industry “pardners” enjoyed a record amount of fun — western style.
“When I looked out over all the anxious faces that first morning of the Masters, it was comforting to see so many friends who have supported this event for years. What struck me was how many new smiling faces were in the crowd. It reaffirmed the importance of the Masters and how symbolic it is we do everything we can to bring new faces into the industry. First Shots helps us infuse and grow our ranks,” said Randy Molde, Masters chairman.
Owned and operated by FMG Publications, the Masters was held July 19-20 at the Cody Shooting Complex in Cody, Wyo. A record 53 sponsors helped to make this 11th annual industry-only event a smashing success.
“The Shooting Industry Masters helps us stop and appreciate each other’s friendship while enjoying shooting activities that make this industry so much fun,” Molde said.
Featuring three stages — handgun, rifle and shotgun — the Shooting Industry Masters raises money for the NSSF’s First Shots program and provides a “homecoming” of sorts for the industry to come together and enjoy some time on the range.
“This is the one time a year when we can come together as friends, as an industry, and shoot. We can leave the business at the shop and get some fresh air. For all these guys normally in suits and ties it’s fun, it’s unique. We really appreciate FMG putting this together because no one else does it. Don’t stop!” said Stephanie Pastusek, XS Sights marketing director.
(Top) Alongside log cabins and wagon wheels, Mark Lang, Ruger VP, reflects the
Old West at Cody’s Old Trail Town. (Bottom) Celia Crane, LaserMax public relations
manager, lines up the next shot with a sixgun on the “Cowboy Trio” portion of the
More Than A Shooting Match
The city of Cody gave Masters attendees one of the warmest welcomes they’ve experienced. The night before the match, Masters attendees were treated to an evening at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, hosted by Barron Collier II, chairman, and the center’s board of trustees. As part of the evening festivities, curators opened major parts of the museum, which has an impressive array of historical firearms.
“We have what we consider the largest comprehensive collection of firearms in the U.S. and we were ecstatic that a group like the Masters would come to Cody and stop by the museum and see what we had to offer,” said Bruce Sauers, Buffalo Bill Center of the West director of revenue.
After the first day of shooting, FMG hosted an evening reception — a western hoedown at Cody’s Old Trail Town. The evening featured a walk-through of the historic western town and a BBQ cookout. Many participants came dressed in their best cowboy attire.
(Top) Stephanie Pastusek of Team XS Sights brings some western flair with a levergun on the handgun stage. (Bottom) Complete with red bandanas and spurs on tactical boots, Team LaserLyte — from left, Aaron Moore, Larry Moore, Jeremy Selting and Ryan Guildehaus — presents a spirited take on the Old West.
Supporting First Shots,USA Shooting
The industry came out in full force to support the shooting sports, evidenced by the impressive $81,250 raised at this year’s Masters.
This year’s event raised $70,000 for the NSSF’s First Shots program — money raised through raffle ticket sales, side match admissions and several Shooting Industry Masters auctions of custom guns on GunBroker.com. The auction on GunBroker.com, the official online auction site for the Masters, raised over $23,000.
Industry manufacturers and supporters contributed to the largest collection of prizes in the 11-year history of the match, with 64 companies donating product for 72 raffle prize packages.
The Masters has raised a total of $211,000 for First Shots since 2008.
“We come because we support the NSSF and we want to support the First Shots program. It’s an awesome program and if you are a member of NSSF and not here, you’re making a tremendous mistake,” said Scott Grange, Browning public relations manager.
“This is a great time for the industry to get together and attend a great fundraising event. It’s a wonderful annual event that we look forward to every year,” said Carol Franklin, Beretta national accounts manager.
The Masters raised $11,250 in support of USA Shooting, through the popular Rent-A-Ringer program and live auctions at the Masters Awards dinner. An auctioneer added a bit of flair to the auctions.
This year’s Rent-A-Ringer program featured six athletes from the USA Shooting Team, including four 2012 Olympians. The athletes who attended the match and the teams who added them to their roster were: Jamie Gray (Colt’s Manufacturing), Matt Emmons (Redring), Amanda Furrer (Daniel Defense), Will Brown (European American Armory) Frank Thompson (Shooter’s Supply Team-1) and Jake Turner (Shooter’s Supply Team-2).
These industry ambassadors conducted themselves with poise and shared their expertise with their teams. The Rent-A-Ringer program will return again next year, and teams are encouraged to act quickly once sign-ups become available.
“We’re proud to support an effort such as this, to not only support the shooting industry, but to also enjoy the camaraderie of the industry and the sport itself. Having an opportunity to shoot with Olympic Gold Medalist Matt Emmons was an added bonus — which we’ll never forget,” said Rob Walzer, Redring managing director.
USA Shooting athletes also provided firearm safety and shooting instruction during the Masters First Shots Orientation, held the first morning of the match for new shooters.
(Top to bottom) Team CrossBreed’s Justin Murray takes aim on the “Rimfire Rodeo” part of the handgun stage. Colt’s Side Match, featuring an 1877 Bulldog Gatling gun, was an instant hit at the Masters. Danielle Shovel, of Team CORBON, couldn’t wait to get shots downrange.
Value Of Networking
One of the hallmarks of the Masters is the opportunity for attendees to network in a relaxed environment and to take a break from their busy day-to-day schedules.
“You will learn a ton of things by attending the Masters; we learned things here by talking to our accounts and to other executives we wouldn’t learn in other situations. It’s a good exchange of information as we have a lot of the same problems and we can get better by learning from each other,” said Mark Thomas, Walther Firearms director of marketing.
“It’s been great getting to meet people I’ve traded emails with or spoken to on the phone — people I talk to a lot. It’s nice to put a face to a name. It’s like SHOT Show, but a lot more relaxing,” said Wayne Dobbs, Team Aimpoint and first-time Masters attendee.
“The nice thing about the Masters is, it’s a lot more relaxed and casual and you have the time to sit down and talk with people. It’s supposed to be somewhat of a social event, so there’s a lot more time to get to know people and further some contacts,” said Matt Foster, Ergo Grip marketing manager.
“You want to come to the Masters because it’s not like any of the other shows. It’s a time to get together with people and you can do it in a relaxed environment and have fun. There’s business too, but not much,” said John Vehr, Timney Triggers president.
“It was a great time and I really enjoyed myself at the events, as well as having a chance to do a lot of shooting,” said Joyce Rubino, Colt’s vice president of marketing.
FNH USA’s Cowboys & Aliens Side Match garnered a lot of attention. My Gun Culture’s Tom McHale takes aim with the FN grenade launcher. Chris Killoy, Ruger VP of Sales & Marketing, sticks a tomahawk in the Benchmade Tomahawk Throw Side Match. Members from Team XS Sights stand out at Old Trail Town.
Side Match Fun
Colt’s remake of an 1877 Bulldog gatling gun and an FNH-USA grenade launcher highlighted a field of fun-filled side matches. Where else could attendees shoot a gatling gun, grenade launcher and a Sharps rifle — all in the same afternoon?
The 17 side matches at this year’s Masters set a record for the number of side events and the $20,000 raised from side match ticket sales broke another record.
The Crazy Quail Shotgun Side Match raised more money than any other side match — collecting nearly $5,000 for First Shots. The company will receive a free team entry to the 2014 Masters. Colt ($3,779) and FNH USA ($1,390) rounded out the top three side matches.
“We were so excited to be at the Masters and to help raise money for the First Shots program. New shooters are vital to our industry,” said Barry Bourdage, Crazy Quail president.
“We decided to host a side match this year because we felt it was a good chance for us to highlight some OEMs we’re working on with customers and let some other gun companies see what new things we’re doing with lasers,” said Kristen Oxley, LaserMax director of marketing.
Industry Class High Lady Team Browning
Industry Class Top Shooter Team Oneida Molded Plastics
To keep the Masters a “just-for-fun” event, the shooting scores are not published — so all of those near misses on the handgun, rifle and shotgun stages can lead to tall tales of triumph, which is also part of the fun.
The top three teams and individual shooters from the Open and Industry classes were announced at the Masters Dinner and Awards Night at Cody’s Riley Arena.
The 2013 top team in the Industry Class was Team Browning: (Scott Grange, Rafe Nielsen, Nick Schafer and Tennille Chidestar). “Next Best” went to Team Smith & Wesson-1 and Versacarry came in third, or in Masters’ lingo, “Not Last”.
In the Open Class, Team Hornady Pro (Rick Porter, Bennie Cooley, Jeff Cramblit and Tate Moots) took first place. Team Shooters Supply-2 captured second place and FNH USA Team-1 rounded off the top three teams in the Open Class.
The top individual shooter in the Industry class was Jared Milinazzo of Team Oneida Molded Plastics and Tennille Chidestar of Browning earned the Industry Class High Lady accolade.
Jim Clark of Team PolyOne/DPMS was the highest-scoring individual in the Open Class for the second consecutive year and a record fourth time overall. Susan Sledge of P2K Shooting Range, with her consistent performance across the three stages, was the Open Class High Lady.
Team Browning — Industry Class Team Champion
Team Hornady — Open Class Team Champion
Abounding Spirit Of The Masters
Teams brought the classic “Old West” with them to Cody, complete with an assortment of cowboy boots and hats, spurs, chaps and smiles all around.
In 2012, the Shooting Industry Masters created a new award — the Spirit Award — to recognize the team that exemplified the enthusiasm and lightheartedness of the Masters during the match and evening events.
This year’s Spirit Award went to Team LaserLyte, as the team wore a fun ensemble of “unique” western wear — including bright red bandanas, spurs on tactical boots and festive sombreros — and laughter at each stage.
“We are very proud to have received this year’s Spirit Award. Our team put a lot of thought and energy into our costumes to keep with the theme and spirit of this year’s Masters,” said Aaron Moore, LaserLyte vice president.
“We shot twice as better, twice as fast and looked better doing it — well, at least we thought we did!”
New for this year, individual awards for Best Costume and Best Dressed Couple, were presented to Tanya Gorin of XS Sights, Rich David of Ruger and Joe and Penny Cramer, also of Ruger.
Open Class Top Shooter Team DPMS/Poly One
Open Class High Lady Team P2K Range
Why Teams Attend
Teams waffling on attending the 2014 Shooting Industry Masters should consider the impact of supporting the shooting sports and strengthening industry partnerships.
“This was our sixth Masters, we missed last year. It’s nice to see the event has gotten so big that if you don’t sign up early, you don’t make it — that’s what happened to us last year. We’re going to sign up early next year and tell all the other teams to sign up late,” said Kevin Langevin, Colt Defense director of engineering.
“We come for two reasons: One, it’s a good time with everybody in the industry and the other reason is we get to see shooting ranges around the country and have a blast for two days,” said John Vehr, of Timney Triggers.
“This match is so well-run and so well-organized, everything ran on time with no hiccups. We’ll absolutely attend next year, regardless of where it’s held,” said Joe Bartozzi, O.F. Mossberg & Sons senior vice president and general counsel.
For those undecided on attending the Masters in 2014, Kristen Oxlay of LaserMax asked this question, “What’s the cost of not going, and being a part of the community?”
The “Prairie Dog Pandemic” portion of the Rifle Stage featured a
break from guns of the Old West with a more modern S&W M&P15-22.
Join Us In 2014
The 2014 Shooting Industry Masters promises to deliver an abundance of fun and surprises, according to Randy Molde.
“FMG Publications is pleased to announce the 2014 Shooting Industry Masters will be held at the Indian River County Shooting Range in Sebastian, Fla. Plans are well underway to make 2014 another record-breaking event. Be sure to save the dates of July 18-19 for another fun-filled two days,” Molde said.
For more information on the Shooting Industry Masters, visit www.shootingindustry.com/masters. Participants are invited to “Like” the Masters on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ShootingIndustryMasters to receive up-to-date information and the latest announcements.
By Jade Molde
>> Click Here << To Read The Shooting Industry October 2013 Issue Now!