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6649 Gillis Rd.
Victor, NY 14564
(585) 924 4427

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  PO Box 165

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  Thurs 5-9

  Sun 9-1

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Ian Smingler “Three-Repeats” as JTH Agency Classic Champ

By Wes Bailey

Victor, NY -- Victor Rod and Gun Club proudly hosted the JTH Agency Classic from June 9-11th.  This year’s event was the 14th consecutive year that John and Elizabeth Hessney, owners of the JTH Agency, sponsored this doubles and four gun event.  It was the 29th anniversary of this registered skeet tournament.  Shooters arrived at the Victor Rod and Gun club from Western and Central New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Canada.   The shooters arrived at the club and saw first-hand how the many months of preparation and numerous capital improvements provided a first class shooting venue.  The club does it’s best to support the tag line that the JTH Agency Classic is the “Biggest Little Shoot in New York State”.

The JTH Agency Classic started with the doubles competition on Friday afternoon with 40 shooters taking to the fields under clear skies and a slight breeze.  Canadian doubles champ Dan Morris let one bird escape, but his 99 was enough to win the doubles competition without the need of a shoot-off.   Both Steve Wood and Dean Herzberg took their 98’s to a shoot-off to determine the doubles runner-up.  In a lengthy shoot-off, Wood prevailed, with Herzberg becoming the A1 class champ.   The other doubles winners were Don Lewandoski (AA), Ed Freedman (B), Brian Quealy (C), and Victor Stirpe (D).  After the conclusion of the shooting, all of the shooters, referees, and volunteers were invited into the club house for an excellent Italian style meal donated by the owners of the very popular Otto Tomotto’s Good Italian restaurant in Victor, NY.  Otto Tomotto’s is one of the highest rated Italian style restaurants in the area and the shooters thoroughly enjoyed the delicious meal.  

The spring weather in Western New York was filled with historic amounts of rainfall.  Saturday’s weather did break with a threat of a shower, but fortunately all of the showers passed around the club and the day turned into a warm and very breezy summer day.  A total of 49 shooters took the field for Saturday morning’s .410 bore event.  Ian Smingler bagged 98 targets to best the field and claim the .410 bore champ spot.   The balance of the .410 field of winners were; Des Ivanov (AA), Mat Kelley (A), Ed Call (B), John Mutchler (C), and Al Morris (D).      

The 20 gauge event concluded the shooting on Saturday afternoon.   Five shooters were perfect in crushing 100 targets.  After a spirited shoot-off, Canadian Dean Herzerg won the 20 gauge championship, with junior shooter Hunter Dickerman close behind as the runner up.  The balance of the class winners were, Joe Strazzeri(AA), Justin Aldrich (A), John Mutchler (B), Michael Cawley (C), and Al Morris (D).

Again this year, shooter Randy Cook generously donated $300 in added money for a special 20 gauge handicapped event for B/C/D class shooters only.  Junior shooter Michael Cawley had the top handicap score and won the first place money, with John Mutchler and Al Morris splitting the runner up cash prize.  We really can’t thank Randy enough for his generosity and his support of this very popular event.   We need more thoughtful and generous shooters like Randy that give back to the sport that they love so much.  

At the conclusion of the shoot-offs the shooters, family members, and gun club neighbors  enjoyed a great happy hour with free refreshments and hors d’oeuvres featuring sushi.  How many shoots have sushi?   Needless to say, the sushi was a big hit.  The shooters and guest were then treated a great steak dinner, donated by Dick Evans, Don Lewandoski, Mark Snyder, and Joe Strazzeri.  Jim Hunter emceed the night’s events and got the festivities started.   The shooters and their guests had a great time renewing acquaintances and catching up with their skeet friends.  

Clear skies and warm temperatures greeted the 50 shooters for Sunday’s lead-off 28 gauge event and closing12 gauge event.  The high scores continued with three 100’s and two 99’s.  In a three way shoot-off, Ian Smingler bested Dennis Lehman (runner up) and Mat Kelley to take 28 gauge champ honors.    Mat Kelley finished the event as the AA class winner.  Other winners included; Justin Aldrich (A), Dave Eckert (B), Mark Snyder (C), and Jim Fox (D).  

On Sunday afternoon, the scoring continued with Ian Smingler, Mat Kelley, and Steve Wood all posting 100’s in the 12 gauge event.   In a shoot-off lasting into the third box, Ian Smingler emerged as the 12 gauge winner.  Kelley took runner up honors with Wood becoming the AA class champ.  Other 12 gauge winners were Colin Smingler (A), Hunter Dickerman (B), Jim Johnson (C), Michael Cawley (D), and Al Morris (E).


After the conclusion of the four gun events the HOA champ was decided without the need for a shoot-off.  Ian Smingler’s only dropped two targets to register the top score of 398 x 400.  Mat Kelley was three targets behind to finish as the HOA runner up.  Other HOA honors went to Ivanov (AA), Joe Strazzeri (A), Hunter Dickerman (B), John Mutchler (C), and Al Morris (D).

For the sixth consecutive year, the HOA competition featured the added handicapped “JTH Agency Classic HOA Challenge”.  All four gun shooters were automatically entered to win premium prizes for the event.  Joe Strazzeri won this year’s HOA Challenge event and took home a certificate for a full set of Briley matched weight tubes.  Al Morris claimed the second place prize of a premium Perazzi gun case.  The third place prize of a Beretta gun case was earned by Ian Smingler.  Congrats to all winners of this special event and thanks to John Hessney for the donations of these fine prizes in addition to the added money for the shoot.

The JTH Agency Classic is a great source of pride for the members of the Victor Rod and Gun Club. The club is very fortunate to have such a group of dedicated volunteers that devote countless hours to making this shoot the best that it can be.  It is very gratifying to know that the shooters notice the effort and show their appreciation.  We truly appreciate that the shooters keep this shoot on their shoot calendar and return each year.

Special thanks go out to shoot chairman Andy Nolan who manages the shoot project.  He has strong support from Keith, Max, Hilda, Don C., Gary, John Y, and the many others.  Also, thanks to Dan Caryl for being the chief referee and to his great crew of fine referees.  Many thanks go to the advertisers in the shoot program.  We believe that we have one of the best quality shoot programs in the country.  We can’t thank shoot sponsors John and Elizabeth Hessney enough for their support and generosity.  Each year they give back to the sport by sponsoring this fine shoot.   

Please go to VRGC web site ( to check out pictures of the shoot.  The club continues to make a number of capital improvements so as to make the shooting experience next year even better.  See you in 2018!