Hans and Ray Apelles battled heat, humidity and skeeters during the recent Great Lakes 100 field target event hosted by the Western Wayne County Conservation Association Airgun Group.  After two days of competition, Ray finished on top in WFTF Class with a score of 89 and placed second in Pistol Class.  Hans placed 5th and 4th, respectively.

“This was a good event and a fine warmup to the World Championships in Italy,” said Ray.

The duo depart tomorrow for Vicenza, Italy along with winners of the past two Northeast Regional Field Target Championship Hosted by Crosman WFTF winners Harold Rushton (2010) and Greg Sauve (2011). Three more shooters from the United States will round out the U.S. contingent that will compete in the September 2-4 event.

“We prepare for the World Championship by competing,” said Ray.  “Practice is for making sure the gun is sighted in and operating properly.  Only by shooting under match conditions and match stresses can we be properly prepared.”  Ray and his father, Hans, first participated in the World Championship in 1997, when it was held in Michigan.  The team competes in the WFTF Class in regional events because they are the same rules used at the Worlds. “It’s part of the practice-by-competing process,” said Ray.

The 2011 World Championship has 218 registered participants, six from the United States.  The terrain is expected to be somewhat hilly, adding an additional challenge as shooters must walk between lanes with their gear in addition to the stresses of world competition.  Big on Team Crosman’s mind is protecting their equipment. “You can’t win if you can’t finish” said Ray regarding keeping equipment operational. Keeping their guns away from potential accidents, as is removing temptation to tamper with them is paramount. “It may mean more strain to carry our guns in cases during the competition, but it will ensure they will make it to the end.”

Ray and Hans will be shooting Benjamin Marauder .177 rifles featuring their own custom stocks and electronic triggers. “We created these stocks with this specific event  in mind in order to reduce airline luggage fees,” explained Ray.

Photos from the 2011 WWCCA Great Lakes 100: