Ashland Lake Gun Club

30th Anniversary Francis Marion Memorial Swamp Fox Assault Match Scores

August 21, 2010

I know that year after year, match reports say things like “this was the best year ever”. Having been involved in the shooting and running of this event since the early 90s, I have to say that this year’s 30th anniversary event can easily lay claim to that title. Excellent and extremely challenging courses… lots of help for a smooth set-up and tear-down… plenty of help with SO’ing and range support… and an anniversary dinner that put the events of the past to shame.

The only aspect that we couldn’t claim “best ever” status on, was the muddiness of the swamp. As Ashland Lake begins to resemble a prairie more than a body of water, there is less swamp to work with during the dry months. Luckily, the hard-working and intrepid course designers manufactured their own muck in the dreaded Tunnel of Mud, and managed to find a chest-deep hog wallow in the middle of the swamp, from which shooters had to fire their last shot. “Chest-deep” is NOT an exaggeration.

Another thing that we see year after year which never fails to amaze me, is how close the competition is at the very top. This match required numerous physical challenges requiring speed and strength, 20 short and long range slug targets, 45 buckshot targets, 8 Chi-Com assault weapon targets, plus the usual “environmental stresses” which cause both man and machine to fail, (including one gun rendered inoperable, with its barrel buried in the mud). Over the course of all of that, on three different stages, the top 3 shooters (from all divisions), were within slightly over two seconds of each other, with Tony “The Mechanic” Lavalle edging out everyone, and taking the Swamp Fox Shotgun division title.

Roy “FNG” Mitchell completely dominated the Stock Riot Gun division, winning all three stages. Nathan “The Ironmaker” Goebel took top honors in the Enhanced Tactical Shotgun Division.

Of special note, was the youngest shooter in Francis Marion history, Gino “The Frogman” Lavalle. This 9 year-old, with the enthusiastic and extremely vocal support of his father, Tony, handled everything we threw at him with the energy and good spirit that only comes with youth. That chest-deep hog wallow that was mentioned earlier? At its deepest, it was over Gino’s head. Luckily, he managed to negotiate it without the use of scuba equipment. When Gino gets a little more size on him, the Old Guard had better start looking over their shoulders.

Tim McGowan also ran a side-match on the bowling pin range, to cater to some of the more “distinguished” Francis Marion alumni. Many soon realized that 6” plates are VERY small at 15 yards.

My special thanks to John Moson, Tony and Gino Lavalle, Stony Smith, Jason Henthorne and Nathan Wilson for coming out on Friday to set-up, as well as working on match day. It’s punishing work, which never gets easier. Tim McGowan took a vacation day and welded up four new knock-down plates stands, which came in very handy in the swamp and will get a lot of use in the future. And finally, big thanks to Paul LeMassena, and the Fine Chefs of Combat Cuisine for the culinary masterpiece that topped off a perfect day.

Photos         Videos           Scores

Course Description and Equipment Requirements:
  • All standard ALGC T R & S rules apply
  • There are some changes in the shotgun classes and ammunition rules, effective immediately.
  • There are three classes now (see Francis Marion Rules for 2010):
    • Stock Riot Gun
    • Enhanced Tactical Shotgun
    • Swamp Fox Shotgun
  • There will be a minimum of 50 steel targets (see T R & S rules for buckshot / birdshot equivalent rules) and 15 slug targets. Be prepared to shoot slugs out to 75 yards. Bring extra ammo.
  • Standard ammo carrier rules apply. Be prepared to have to load your gun quickly from NON-standard ammo carriers, which will be supplied to you.
  • Slings will be required on all stages.
  • As always, wear clothing and shoes appropriate to the swamp venue. Hearing and eye protection is required at all times.
Feel free to contact the match director with questions or comments:
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Ashland Lake Gun Club, 206 US Rt. 42, West Salem, OH 44287.
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 39121, Solon, OH 44139
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