ROCKLEDGE, Pa. — Over the past 10 years, northeast Ohio has been home to one of the nation’s most unique marksmanship events.
What was first called the Cleveland Wheelchair Shooting Championships, has earned the nickname of the Blizzard Classic — the annual precision air rifle and pistol competition, which was held in early March, always seemed to be accompanied by a snow storm.
Traditionally, the Blizzard Classic was the first event of the 12-city NRA-Beeman National Tour for marksmen with disabilities. The tour was developed in 1994, by Dave Baskin, manager of the National Rifle Association’s Disabled Shooting Services.
But when Baskin retired in 2007, the NRA’s Competitive Shooting Division canceled the 2008 tour, leaving these remarkable athletes without a national platform on which to demonstrate their determination and exceptional marksmanship skills.
As 2008 approached, the organizers of the classic and its loyal supporters wished to continue the quality that had served the nation’s disabled marksmen so well.
Baskin agreed to conduct the event. In addition, he stated that he would bring along former United States Paralympic Shooting Team coach Bob Robertson to assist.
The organizers’ efforts to continue the Blizzard Classic were rewarded with a turnout of 42 entries from as far away as Atlanta, Ga.
The two days of competition were held March 13 and 14 at the Vienna Rod & Gun Club, just outside of Warren, Ohio.
The dual air rifle champions of the Blizzard Classic were Fremont, Ohio’s Greg Drown in Class I, while Barbaro Ponce of Atlanta, Ga., led all Class II marksmen.
The air pistol championship was taken by Frank Javorka from Lititz, Pa.
For more information on how to organize and conduct adaptive shooting sports events, call Baskin at 215-663-0102.
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