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    Contributing Member Mark in Rochester's Avatar
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    Arrow Garand Picture of the Day #206 Camp Perry 2009

    Looks like relay #8 no rain and dry


    From the NRA

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    While the first National Matches held at Camp Perry, Ohio were in 1907, the first official National Matches were fired at New Jersey’s Sea Girt Range in 1903. Prior to that, the NRA had been holding Annual Matches as early as 1873, just two years after its establishment.

    As the popularity of the National Matches quickly grew, by 1905 it was apparent that Sea Girt was incapable of handling the increasing volume of competitors and a new location would need to be found or the program discontinued altogether. At the National Matches that year the Adjutant General of Ohio, Ammon B. Critchfield, helped the Ohio National Guard place third in the National Team Match, and had individual victories in the President’s Match and Leech Cup.

    Critchfield, a supporter of further marksmanship development in Ohio, was able to secure $25,000 from State Legislature that year through tireless efforts and enthusiasm to build a new rifle range on the southwestern shore of Lake Erie. The new range was going to replace the Ohio National Guard’s existing facility at Newark, Ohio, which had become obsolete due to the greater range and velocity of the Springfield 1903, the rifle that replaced the Krag-Jorgensen after the Spanish American War. The need to replace the Krag came from realizing it had inadequate low muzzle velocity, poor penetration power, and lack of a method to rapidly reload its magazine compared to the Spanish 7mm Mauser rifles.

    The new shooting range would serve to train Critchfield’s fellow Ohio Guardsmen in addition to other military and civilian shooters from across the United Statesicon. Naming it after Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, hero of the War of 1812’s Battle of Lake Erie, Critchfield himself would later become known as ‘The Father of Camp Perry.’

    At the NRA Annual Meeting in 1906, while trying to find a new location suitable to hold the National Matches, Critchfield offered use of his new Ohio range to the NRA. While the Ohio range was favored by the NRA, the War Department’s preference was leaning towards Fort Riley. Being one of the deciding factors in favor of Camp Perry, Fort Riley encountered delays in the expansion of its range and would not have been ready in time.

    On August 19, 1907, the first shot of the National Matches at Camp Perry was fired, and competition began with the Championship Company Team Match.

    In its first year, Camp Perry was crude but functional. Much of it was still being worked on, and only the essentials required to operate and run matches were complete.

    The first day of competition had great weather, but the second brought hefty winds, rain, and a 15-degree temperature drop. As early as the second day of its first year hosting the National Matches, Camp Perry established its reputation for unpredictable and challenging weather conditions. The rains off Lake Erie created considerable mud and wood planks had to be placed around the range to help shooters deal with the sudden change to swamp-like terrain. Competitors did not mind though, as they could see Camp Perry was a work in progress and would be a great range when finished.

    That first year in Ohio, Capt. K. K. V. Casey of Delaware took home the Wimbledon Cup, and Sgt. W. A. Berg of Washington state claimed the President's Match, becoming the first recipient from the West to receive the prize. In a new rule change that year, the aggregate winner of the NRA President's Match and the National Individual Rifle Match would be given the distinction of the military champion of the United States. Harold Travis Smith, a 20 year old midshipman, earned that honor. His teammate Willis Lee, 19, won the National Individual Rifle and Pistol Matches in the same day, and is the only shooter in National Match history to accomplish this feat.

    After a successful first year, Camp Perry had endeared itself to the National Matches, and began its long history of hosting the NRA National Rifle and Pistol Championships.
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    Last edited by Mark in Rochester; 08-31-2009 at 12:25 PM.
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