Shaun Barnes tops Sasco Sporting Clays
It was a shot to be remembered.
As many as 136 championship-hungry shooters went the distance at the inaugural Sasco Sporting Clays Championship, over a compact 16-station course, atop the picturesque Murphy's Hill property overlooking the resort town of Ocho Rios in St Ann on Sunday.
Shooters had to dig deep for marksmanship and composure to stave off challenges, as well as the trickery and naturally deceptive contours of a new course whose design was aided by master American shooter Theo Ribbs.
The start, set for 10 a.m., was delayed because of passing showers, but an hour or so later when men, women, teens, boys, and girls took to the course, only winning mattered.
In the end, the winner was four-time national champion Shaun Barnes, who described his return to winning ways as "overdue".
"It was well overdue; I've been having a lot of rough patches this year. My shooting has been up and down, but I started some mental preparation 21 days ago, so it has really paid off," Barnes told The Gleaner.
"How they set the targets... they were quite deceiving. They really used the landscape to the advantage, and it played out. I am glad I was able to finish with 82 ... proud of myself," continued Barnes, who maintains he is "far behind on points for national championships," and will be using the next few weekends to catch up.
Then, he is expecting stout challenges from Christian Sasco, Ian Banks, Bruce DuQuesnay, among other A-class shooters.
Meanwhile, B Class champion, Andrew Hopwood, who shot 71 birds, was promoted to A class.
"I am happy and proud; my hard work is paying off," he stated.
Ladies champion, 16-year-old Alysia Evans, was equally pleased with her win.
"I feel that my performance was satisfactory. It was a very tough course, the toughest I have experienced," noted the Manchester High School student. She will return to national junior championships in two weeks.
President of the Jamaica Skeet Club, Khaleel Azan, congratulated all the winners for good sportsmanship.
"The winning score by Shaun Barnes of 82 was an excellent score, as the course was very challenging with a lot of speed and distance. In my opinion, there were no easy stations. I think all the class winners shot well to win their classes," recalled Azan.
Azan added: "The Jamaica Skeet Club is always looking for new sponsors, and we are very pleased to partner with Sasco Distributors (our main supplier of shotguns and accessories) in hosting what could become one of the largest Sporting Clay Events in Jamaica."