For the first time ever, Rose Hill Farms last week hosted the N.C. Sporting Clay Championships.
The Sporting Clay State Championships began in 1991 and is held every year at different locations across the state. Rose Hill Farms had the largest participation of any sporting clay championship event in North Carolina history with a total of 302 shooters in attendance.
Shooters came from 13 states to compete in this year’s competition, which featured seven shooting classes that ranged from E class shooters, which are the lowest level, to masterclass, which are the highest-level shooters.
Mike Oliver, who is in charge of sporting clays at Rose Hill Farms, said that this is the ultimate competition for shooters in the state.
“This is the biggest event in North Carolina as far as state championships are concerned,” he said. “This is the ultimate event for North Carolina … and people come from all across the state to compete for the title of state champion.”
There were several events that featured different ranges of skill levels during the four days of the tournament. Thursday and Friday featured the preliminary events, but the main events for the master class shooters took place on Saturday and Sunday.
The main events included the 12-gauge competition, 20-gauge competition, 28-gauge competition, the 5-stand competition, the pump competition, the side-by-side competition, the super sporting competition and the .410 competition. Each competition had winners based on classes, and the masterclass winners were eligible for a large payout and the chance to become the masterclass champion.
The winner for the highest score and payout of the competition was Richard Cheek, who finished with 180 points and received a total payout of $1,000. He was able to accumulate 180 points by scoring 90 points on both Saturday and Sunday.
The highest scorer from Saturday was Shawn Kempter, but he was unable to have the same success on Sunday when he scored 88 points to finish in third place with 179 points to win a total payout of $450. Michael Luongo came in second place with 179 points after he beat Kempter in a tiebreaker to win a total payout of $500.
In the women’s division, 22 shooters participated in the championship event. Courtney Jones won the event with a score of 152 to win a total payout of $500. Katelyn Alligood came in second place with a score of 151 to win a total payout of $350.
The total payout for all divisions was $10,600.