The Fine Firearms Find of the Century

“Call this a tangled web with a happy ending, a story that unfolds like the plot of a Russian novel toward a conclusion in which one of the most venerable Belgian gunmakers and the most venerable American gunmaker undergo a renaissance and in the process bring back to life one of the more visionary guns of the twentieth century ­- invented by a Belgian maker whose relative obscurity belies his genius.”

— Michael McIntosh

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Breaking Clays in the Other Napa Valley


This article is the second part of Deborah McKown’s four-part series on clays shooting in the San Francisco Bay area. Part I reveals a little-known skeet field inside city limits. Afterwards, Deb and friend Diane head to a nearby micro brewery with a stunning view of the Pacific Ocean. Now here is Part II…

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Breaking Clays in the Other Napa Valley

This article is the second part of Deborah McKown’s four-part series on clays shooting in the San Francisco Bay area. Part I reveals a little-known skeet field inside city limits. Afterwards, Deb and friend Diane head to a nearby micro brewery with a stunning view of the Pacific Ocean. Now here is Part II…

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4 Great Days at the Southern Side by Side Fall Classic

A new tradition started in the fabled chronicles of the shotgun sports.

The first Southern Side by Side Fall Classic took place over three days at the Back Woods Quail Club in Georgetown, South Carolina — with a spectacular pheasant tower shoot as the day-before opener.

At the helm of the new event was the steady hand of Bill Kempffer, the guiding force behind the Southern Side by Side Spring Classic held the past nine years every April at his Deep River Sporting Clays and Shooting School in Sanford, North Carolina.

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The Corkells, Charlie & Chris


Chris Corkell leads the way into the gazebo of station six at Pintail Point. She’s followed by her husband Charlie, instructor Wes Russum and their trapper, Kelly. The presentation is a report of outgoing crossers — in a breeze coming off the Chesapeake Bay — and Chris is up.

After Kelly pulls the lookers, Chris pauses to take in the shot. The landscape is flat with a trap house about 40 yards out, and beyond that a large dairy barn in the distance.

What she doesn’t realize is the conspiracy that’s developing behind her back. Charlie discretely took the three-button control from Kelly, and then he gets a sly, contagious grin.

Chris raises her Beretta 391 Teknys. It’s a serious gun. Stock cut down to fit her small frame, hydraulic recoil pad, impressive wood, and an extended ported choke that looks like the muzzle on a Howitzer. She’s in the moment — focused.


Chris is suddenly baffled by the simo pair criss-crossing away from her. She whips around…and there’s Charlie laughing — along with everyone else. Chris gives Charlie that look (Oh that’s so typical of you) and joins in the laughter.

Passionate About Sporting Clays

In a way, you begin to think its Charlie’s way of getting even with her. After 27 years together, they took up sporting clays about 18 months ago. Now, all Chris wants to talk about is shooting….

Charlie is watching NASCAR and Chris wants to talk sporting clays. Charlie is watching football and Chris wants to talk sporting clays. And when Charlie is watching baseball, Chris wants to talk sporting clays.

You can tell who’s taking the sporting clays lessons and who isn’t. Not because Chris outshoots Charlie (they both shoot about 60 out of 100). It’s simply that Chris has found a calling. She’s on a mission. She wants to shoot competitively. And she’ll do whatever it takes to become a championship shooter. She’s willing to pay her dues.

“I’ve never been competitive at anything, until I got into shooting,” she says. “But I fell in love with the sport, and I would like some day to be the Maryland State Champion.”

Dig a little deeper and she’s hard-pressed to explain precisely why she loves sporting clays so much. Maybe it is a means of relieving stress and being able to get outdoors as she has an office job at Talbot County Planning & Zoning/Board of Appeals. Maybe it’s because sporting clays gives her and Charlie more time together. Or maybe it’s because sporting clays is a heck of a lot of fun.

The Sporting Clays Habit

Whatever the reason, she’s going with it. The couple is up to a monthly habit of numerous boxes of ammo per month. And Charlie is 100% supportive (despite the antics)

He proudly says that Chris is doing “real good” with her sporting clays. But for him, sporting clays is a different story.

Ever since he was old enough to pick up a shotgun, Charlie’s been hunting in Caroline County, on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. He still hunts birds and deer there. For Charlie, shooting has always been a way of life.

It All Started with a Remington 870 Pump

Ironically, Chris has never even owned a gun until that fateful day Charlie gave her a Remington 870 pump (in camo). The way it happened is that Charlie manages a 130-acre estate called Essex Farm, located in Royal Oak. Chris and Charlie grew up in Caroline County. One day, the owner purchased a manual trap machine to use on the property. To get Chris involved, Charlie gave her the Remington.

“The guys were hitting all the targets, and I wasn’t,” Chris recalled. “Right after that, I started taking lessons.”

Her initial instructor was Bruce Ney — a member of the National Sporting Clays Association U.S. team, former World Champion and in 2007 inducted into the NSCA Hall of Fame . As Chris tells it, when she showed up the first time with that Remington, Bruce took it away and let her use his Beretta shotgun.

Chris Crushes the Targets

Right after that, he fixed her and Charlie up with a pair of custom-fitted Beretta391

Teknys — drawing on his experience as an authorized Beretta dealer, instructor and stock fitter.

Now, when she hits a target, she absolutely crushes it — far exceeding anything she could’ve done on the sporting clays field with that Remington 870 pump.

Charlie, meanwhile, is more sanguine about the sport. While he really likes it, he found that sporting clays improved his hunting (there’s plenty of excellent duck and geese shooting on the Eastern Shore.)

Sporting Clays Comes Full Circle

In the brief 18 months that Charlie and Chris have been shooting, sporting clays has come full circle in their lives…

They’ve become active members in the local chapter of Ducks Unlimited, and Chris is organizing her first sporting clays shoot at Schrader’s Bridgetown Manor.

They’ve encouraged their daughter, Chastity and her husband, David to take up the sport, so that “We can shoot as a family,” Chris said.

And after Bruce Ney hit the sporting clays circuit, Chris started taking lessons from Wes, the resident pro at Pintail Point. As it turns out, Charlie and Wes grew up together playing softball.

Today, you can see all three of them laughing and enjoying themselves as they move on to the next station.

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From the Visionary Who Brought You Benelli: The New Regionalism in America’s Shotgun Sports

Jack Muety

In the back lots of Hollywood, when you say Jack, everyone knows you mean Jack Nicholson. In the shotgun industry, when you say Jack, everyone knows you’re talking about Jack Muety.

If you ever owned a Beretta, Benelli, Franchi, Stoeger or Blaser, Jack Muety has helped you find the right shotgun — and made sure you enjoyed it.

You would be hard-pressed to find another person with more insight into the American shotgun market than Jack. So when he says change is imminent in the shotgun sports, you have to take notice. He has the experience, stats and instincts to know what’s coming down the pike — and how it directly affects you.

He served as CEO and President of Blaser USA for 18 months before retiring in January 2008. While at the helm of Blaser USA, he introduced the company’s F3 shotgun to American shooters. With Jack’s marketing savvy, the F3’s rave reviews served as a springboard for its continuing success.

Jack was an easy choice for the Blaser USA corner office.

Before joining Blaser, he held the position of Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Beretta USA. The Beretta spot was Jack’s hard-earned reward after six years as the Vice President of Sales & Strategic Markets for Benelli USA, where he created the most successful brand of semi-automatics in America. He also applied the same ingenuity and experience to increase the popularity of Benelli’s extended family of shotguns which includes Franchi and Stoeger.

Reaching the Top the Old-Fashioned Way

Jack’s achievements came the old-fashioned way — from spending quality time with customers. He’s been recognized for his countless hours of volunteer service with Ducks Unlimited, Quail Unlimited, Ruffled Grouse Society, National Wild Turkey Federation, Safari Club International and the National Rifle Association. He serves as a volunteer coach of the trap and skeet team at the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis.

Now that Jack is retired, he spends his days sailing, hunting and hanging out at his beach house with his wife and friends. And even though he no longer reports to work, he still lives and breathes guns.

We First Met Jack Pheasant Shooting

We first met Jack at a pheasant shoot on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. We began talking and discovered that we shared many ideas about the shotgun industry.

Since then the economy has changed fast. Suddenly, we were hearing people we shot with bring up the prices of gas and shells in our conversations. These are the same people who only bought premium shotguns, who never hesitated to drive hours for wingshooting and sporting clays, and who spend just about every weekend enjoying the shotgun sports.

Of course we knew gas and ammo prices were skyrocketing, but when you start to hear it from investment bankers, advertising executives and software developers you realize how deeply the problem has crept into the psyche of the shotgun community.

We thought it would be a good time to give Jack a call to get his big-picture take on what was going on.

We caught up with Jack at the Fador Irish Pub in Annapolis.

“Right now, in the current market, there are several influencing factors,” he said. He went down the list: the upcoming election, a sour economy, a drop-off in new shotgun sales and the decline of the dollar against the Euro.

The New Regionalism

Jack saw a potential convergence of political and economic forces that could give rise to what we call a New Regionalism in the American shotgun sports. Shooters would stay closer to home for their clays and wingshooting. The local gunsmith would see a growth in business as people put off new-gun purchases. And the corner shotgun dealer would have a better inventory of used shotguns.

In a way, it was a return to the fundamentals — forsaking the bling and getting back into the heart and soul of the American shotgun sports. New Regionalism could be a homecoming to simpler days.

“The [shotgun] market is in transition right now driven by the national economy,” he said.

Whether you shoot a Holland & Holland, a Beretta or a Benelli, the rising prices of shotgun shells, gas and airfare is a point of conversation that comes up. For some shotgun owners, the higher cost of shooting has absolutely no impact. They shoot the same number of rounds, travel to the same wonderful destinations and buy the best guns available. Other shooters, meanwhile, feel the pinch and they comprise the majority of the market who will embrace the New Regionalism.

What Louise Terry Wrote

You can already see it happening. In the June 2008 issue of Skeet Shooting Review, the National Skeet Shooting Association President, Louise Terry, wrote how the “economic conditions” are forcing shooters to “curtail their shooting plans, and they may not be able to participate in as many shoots as usual this year.”

She laid the resolution squarely on the shoulders of the local clubs to consider new alternatives for line-ups that could cut-down on driving. In effect, it’s a national problem with a regional solution.

Even Jack talked about how he and his shooting buddies have started car pooling for their annual wingshooting trip to New England.

And then of course there are the escalating prices of shotgun shells. The culprits are the war in Iraq and the surging prices of lead and copper.

For the majority of shooters, higher gas and shell prices are an economic reality. But the decline of the dollar is also taking its toll.

Here in the U.S., the most popular shotgun makers are British and European. People were always willing to pay a higher price for those guns because they are “perceived as being better than guns made in the U.S., Turkey or Asia,” Jack said.

For U.S. shotguns, the perception is not just about quality; it’s about a company’s commitment to its loyal customers. For example, Jack talked about how Wall Street investment bankers like Cerberus Capital Management bought Remington — after it acquired Bushmaster. The Cerebus portfolio also included Marlin and DPMS Panther Arms. Jack believed that when speculators come into a shotgun company, shooters began to question management’s commitment to quality and customer service.

The long shadow of private equity in the shotgun industry is, in some ways, heresy to grass-roots shotgun owners. Fiercely independent, there could be a gathering of sorts around the home fires — the gospel of New Regionalism.

From Jack’s perspective this also presents a unique opportunity for shotgun makers. It gives them a chance to get back to basics. While their sales slip, the biggest shotgun makers should place greater emphasis on customer satisfaction. “They just can’t count on volume alone,” he said. “They have to take the approach ‘How can I help?'”

Well, we thought that sounded downright neighborly. And after all, that is the foundation for New Regionalism.

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Exposed: The Georgetown Trout & Gun Club


The enigmatic, unfathomable and sphinx-like Georgetown Trout & Gun Club.

The phone rang and I got my assignment: track down the elusive chaps at the Georgetown Trout & Gun Club for a daring exposé in Shotgun Life.

Only in certain circles did the name Georgetown Trout & Gun Club ever bubble to the surface. It was the equivalent of the Order of Skull & Bones at Yale that counted presidents, spies and billionaires among its ranks.

The Georgetown Trout & Gun Club was a name never spoken — only whispered with great reverence.

Members valued their privacy above all else. If you were fortunate enough to ever find yourself in the company of a member, you could never ask about the club. His customary reply is that the organization was established to promote interpretive dance.

The national media was all abuzz when the Georgetown Trout & Gun Club turned down the Washington Post for an interview. And the group’s reticence doesn’t stop there.

Most queries about membership fall into a black hole of silence. Or if you did receive a reply, it’s usually one word.

In our Information Age, you have to really dig deep for the smallest scraps of intelligence about this private men’s society.

An Extraordinary League

They say it was founded 700 years ago and is now the oldest and most exclusive sporting club in the country — if not the world.

It is “the extraordinary league of very ordinary gentlemen,” yet when you dig into the annals of the organization the members seem far from ordinary.

A former FBI spy who is serving time on espionage charges was booted from the club for non-payment of dues since 2001.

The club’s Director of Fishing left for Denver (at least that’s what he said) as part of the Federal Witness Protection Program.

Then there’s the Chairman…

He is only shown in photos as Sir David Niven. The Rules Committee stipulates that members must stand when the Chairman enters the room. The Chairman is always the last to enter and the first to leave. And he is never to be addressed by his Christian name, only as Mr. Chairman.


The Chairman (David Niven, right) bestows the traditional ballerina trophy to the day’s champion.

The Chairman is known for reciting The Iliad by heart in local taverns. His favorite diversion on road trips is staying in Howard Johnson motels.

A Powder Keg: The Smith Endowment

And the club’s secret handshake? It’s only known by two people: the Chairman and the Director of Ops.

Despite its secrecy, there was one powder keg that the group managed to quietly extinguish.

It was started by the club’s Smith Endowment, after word leaked that some of them claimed to have fathered children with the notorious blonde bombshell, Anna Nicole Smith.

So now that I finished due diligence on the club, my next step was to make contact. How would I do it? Would I ever get through? Would they completely ignore me? Was bribery appropriate?

The Phone Number

As it turns out, I had an ace in the hole. After digging and digging and digging, I found a phone number. I did a quick Avé Maria before I called it. A man answered. It turned out apparently to be the Director of Ops, since he answered the phone “Ops.”

I politely introduced myself. There was a long pause. I continued that I was with Shotgun Life and could I do a story on the club?

“Sure,” he said. He explained that The Great Challenge was coming up in a few weeks and asked if I would be interested in a press pass.

“You bet,” I said.

“Consider it done. And by the way…”


“There’s one teeny-tiny stipulation.”

“Of course.”

“You cannot identify our members. You refer to them by their numbers. To shield our privacy, you understand.”

I couldn’t believe my good luck. I must’ve caught him in a good mood — or on the tail end of a three martini lunch. Regardless, I shot him off my email address. Over the next several days, I received missives about the upcoming Great Challenge. Finally, as we neared the date, the actual invitation arrived.

Attention able-bodied men — and The Chairman!

Remember that Saturday is our Great Society’s annual Sporting Clay Tournament in Remington, VA. Due to the success of last years event, we have many more guns attending and it will be much fun as we shoot and eat while enjoying the companionship of our fellow lads in the field. Several non-resident members are traveling from California, Pennsylvania and The Democratic Republic of Congo to compete.

Schedule of lively events:

8:00 am

Arrival, coffee and registration

8:30 am

Identity and gender check

8:45 am

Knife fight

9:00 am

Practice shoot through the APC course

12:00 PM


1:30 PM

The 2008 Challenge begins

3:30 PM

Awards Ceremony

3:30 PM



Sonnet reading

another knife fight

Be sure to see the Shooting League page on the club’s website for details, directions, convoy and late breaking news of the event.

This event will define, defy or defile you as a man.



Knife fights? What was I getting myself into?

I laid awake nights leading up the Great Challenge. Knife fights was all I could think about. I obsessed over the knife fights. During the day, the distractions of daily life kept my fear at bay. But at night, when I turned off the lamp and lay my head on the pillow and the silence welled up around me…knife fights…glimmering steel in the darkness — and blood!

The final email before the Great Challenge revealed that this manly day of action would be staged at the Shady Grove Kennel and Hunting Preserve. Owned by the renowned trainer, Mr. R.N. Selby, Shady Grove was the venue for the prestigious 2007 Master National Retriever Trial hosted by the Rappahannock River Retriever Club.

Smelling the Pedigree

I could already smell the pedigree of the members.

On the appointed morning I donned my Harris Tweed shooting jacket, tattersall shirt, pheasant tie and Barbour hounds-tooth cap. My shotgun of choice was a 20-gauge Caesar Guerini Magnus — a lovely gun ideal for the highly anticipated Great Challenge.

In addition to packing ammo, water and a clean towel in my waterproof shooting bag, I added a roll of sterile gauze, white adhesive tape, antiseptic ointment and a fresh change of boxer shorts.

Finally, I removed my razor-sharp buffalo knife from its crocodile sheath for a quick once-over: mirrored stainless steel, full tang, trailing point blade with a polished buffalo horn handle. It had been a gift from my beloved uncle, my namesake, Cletus Clapp. I slipped the knife into my bag. There, I was set.

I departed from home just north of Baltimore in the wee hours of the morning, and some two hours later I arrived at Shady Grove in rural Remington, Virginia.


The Trout One jet (pictured here in an extremely rare photo) has shattered numerous global air-speed records under the steely headship of its Captain, Chairman.

The First to Arrive

The gravel parking lot was empty, but upon my arrival a rugged-looking man pulled up in a sporting-clays cart. With his long Southern drawl, he introduced himself as Mr. Selby. Yes, indeed, I was the first to arrive, he confirmed, and then suggested I take a stroll down the pasture to the safari canopy in the distance, which would serve as the nerve center for the Great Challenge.

The canopy stood under a tree ringed by the sporting- clays stations. There was an underbelly of ominous storm clouds, with the heady scents of imminent rain and fresh-cut grass. The club’s coat of arms waved in the breeze from a low branch.

The hospitable and witty Mrs. Selby introduced herself as she applied the final touches on a beautiful spread of pastries, juice, fruit and coffee. Mr. Selby joined her to help attach the table skirt with Velcro.

Cup of coffee in hand, I mentioned that this was my first time shooting with the gents, and Mrs. Selby chuckled — shooting her husband an all-knowing glance.

Prodding Mrs. Selby

I prodded Mrs. Selby with a few delicate questions about the knife fight, but all she said is that I would enjoy the company of the boys. Mr. Selby remained mum as he worked the Velcro around the table. At the first opportunity, he hopped in his cart and sped off.

With the conversation clearly closed, I decided to reconnoiter the property on foot. The club house was a converted drive-up ATM booth with a sagging wood porch. A few pick-up trucks were parked nearby, some with kennels in the beds. Two Porta Potties stood sentry against the looming storm.

A pair of retrievers frolicked with each other as their owners attended to the property.

The sporting-clays stations looked like short-range shots, but experience taught me that these types of presentations could be tricky with deceiving quartering angles, sudden drops and small windows of visibility. My analysis later proved correct, but I couldn’t possibly foretell what our gonzo trapper had in store for us.

As I walked back to the canopy I noticed two men had arrived. They turned out be members 454 and 302. At the same time, a fetching member of staff in snug jeans named S. had taken to tending the food and beverages. Of course, the lads were preoccupied with S. — a slender, raven-haired beauty with penetrating eyes and a really, really tight body.

What About the Knife Fight?

Introductions all around. One of the members was obviously English, and the other, a former college roommate of the Director of Ops, had flown in from California specifically for the Great Challenge. They gave the impression of being decent sorts. At the first discrete opportunity I asked about the knife fight and everyone seemed to laugh at my expense.

After some chit-chat, a convoy entered the parking lot. The two members took leave for the convoy and I quickly followed.

About 10 gentlemen piled out of the vehicles. The Director of Ops immediately identified me as the new face and extended a hail-hearty welcome. A dashing and hospitable fellow, we walked together back to the canopy in an affable manner. I thought it indelicate to broach the subject of the knife fight with him, not wanting to blow the opportunity for this exclusive exposé at the risk of being pegged a chicken.

So as we sauntered along, he introduced me to members we encountered by their three-digit numbers. Of course I was the picture of decorum, but I judged each handshake by its strength and firmness, assessing whether or not I could take that guy in a knife fight.

Finally, the Chairman

We bantered about under the canopy when, out of the corner of his eye the Director of Ops saw something that turned his countenance sober. “I want you to meet the Chairman,” he whispered.

I glanced in the direction of the Chairman. All I could see was his back. It was a distinguished back, probably hairy based on the thickness of his mane. The Chairman was in the middle of a lesson with the resident pro.

As the Director of Ops accompanied me, he listed all the rules and protocols of greeting the Chairman. After each one, I had to say “Yes I understand” or “No, I do not understand.”

We deferentially waited until the Chairman acknowledged us. Shaking hands I said “A pleasure to meet you Mr. Chairman,” thinking that I could definitely take this guy.

“Welcome, Fielding-Clapp.” And the Chairman returned to his lesson.

“Good form,” the Director of Ops told me as we returned to the canopy.

The Practice Shoot

Soon, the Director of Ops had convened everyone for a pairing of the teams for the Practice Shoot of the Great Challenge. I was in a squad with the Director himself and member 327, a tall chap with an excessively long reach and big hands. Hmmm, I thought.

Ready with gun at hand, I observed the chaps as they prepared themselves. It was 09:00 and since the scheduled identity and gender check had not taken place yet I wondered if the men did it in the cars on the way up here to save time. As for me, well, they either didn’t care about my identity and gender or they had much bigger plans to spring on me.

And what about the knife fight? It too was behind schedule. Everyone seemed blissfully blasé about it as the team-up coalesced. One thing was absolutely certain: I had no intention of bringing it up.

We convened at station 3 for the kick-off of the Practice Session of the Great Challenge. The Chairman prepared to take the first shots. As skill and fortune would have it, the Chairman ran the station, followed by a genteel applause. The 50-round Practice Session of the Great Challenge commenced.

Our Wily Trapper

Our trapper proved to be a husky fellow with a booming laugh named B. We discovered that he worked full time for a military contractor in Virginia. His expertise was submarine logistics. He enjoyed trapping to spend quality time outdoors. He obviously took his profession quite seriously because B.’s trapping skills were every bit as wily and stealthy as a submarine.

He would give us the lookers then change their order when we called for them. He threw targets upside down, the centers punched out, midis, minis, battues — concocting any combination of simos on a whim that would take a contortionist to hit. He especially liked to tilt forward the portable platforms that held the manual throwing machines so the targets angled straight into the dirt. Nothing was too devious for that big lug of a chap and each round would be punctuated with his great booming laugh.

Now that we had the defilement out of the way, I look forward to a hearty lunch.

She Squeezes Between the Lads

We took to our vehicles and drove the few miles to the lodge. The house had a sprawling country kitchen and wide verandah where we ate our build-your-own sandwiches, wraps and savory side dishes. S. would squeeze between the lads ready to fill a glass or take an empty plate. It was a picture-book spring afternoon in this part of Virginia, and everyone was of lively disposition.

I was just about to ask about the knife fight when the Chairman stood and announced that it was back to Shady Grove for the Great Challenge.

With backslapping and fanfare we repaired to our vehicles. I wondered, which I would encounter next: define or defy? Or perhaps I would be defile all over again. Either way, with a full stomach and a perky attitude I was ready for whatever lay ahead in the Great Challenge.

The three-man teams were different this time around. My squad consisted of members 351 and 409, and we were accompanied by trapper, J. — a short wan fellow who was an excellent instructor.

The Chairman Chokes

Once again, the Chairman led with the opening shots followed by a polite applause after choking big time and missing all the targets.

The character of this squad and the Great Challenge itself was markedly more serious. Fifty rounds, and may the best man win.

The pressure of the competition compressed time. Before we knew it, the Great Challenge was over. I fared second in my squad — behind the architect and ahead of the movie producer.

No doubt, we were more than ready for the alcoholic beverages, cheese and crackers and more desserts. It was back to the lodge.

The Dreaded Ballerina Cup

Unbeknownst to me there was a palpable trepidation among some of the members. What I was about to discover is that the man with the lowest score of the Great Challenge wins the dreaded Ballerina Cup.

On the verandah we quenched our thirst with beer, wine and just about anything within reach that contained alcohol. The Director of Operations called the meeting to order with a slam of the gavel. Past, present and future business was covered in true parliamentary procedure, yet the well-lubed lads broke out into rollicking laughter as we moved to the prizes.

The Great Challenge of 2008 would prove to be the biggest upset in the 700-year history of the club. The Chairman took the floor and announced the results. The ace shooters didn’t place at all. The winner’s cup went to member 428. The second-place ribbon was awarded to member 305. And much to my own surprise, yours truly placed third.

Member 413 accepted the Ballerina Cup with fortitude and magnanimity.

Another Heaping of Defilement

The Chairman returned the floor to the Director of Ops. It was time to announce new members. He read off six names followed by their numbers, each garnering a round of applause.

The Director of Ops then called for silence. I felt certain that the knife fight would begin, with yet another heaping of defilement coming my way. This was going to hurt bad.

“We have one more new member to announce,” the Director said. “This is a big surprise, but the decision is unanimous. Let us welcome to the Georgetown Trout & Gun Club, Cletus Fielding-Clapp.”

It certainly generated the biggest applause of the day and I beamed with pride. A few words were called for. The Chairman stood beside me and I thanked everyone for acknowledging me as a member. It was a heady moment, indeed, to be standing right within spitting distance of the Chairman.

The group began to disperse. What an incredible feat, I thought, to become a member of the Georgetown Trout & Gun Club.

As we filed into the parking lot, I managed to find a moment to buttonhole the Director of Ops.

“What about the knife fight?” I whispered.

He looked at me in amazement, then broke out laughing.

Cletus Fielding-Clapp is a Nobel Laureate in the art and science of journalistic writing who is widely credited with coining the maxim of 21st century media: “I never let the truth stand between me and a good story.” You can reach him at

It’s at great peril that we publish the link to the web site of the Georgetown Trout & Gun Club: Please be advised that the photos of gentlemen depicted on the group’s web site are professional models paid to shield the real members from the prying eyes of the public.

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