Addieville Farm East in Mapleville, Rhode Island, saw the shooting action this year at an event noted for Vintagers members appointed with fashions and long guns that harken back to the United Kingdom’s Edwardian era, which began with the death of Queen Victoria in 1901and lasted through the end of World War I in 1918. In the spirit of the group, Vintagers Founder Ray Poudrier is legendary for closing club correspondence with “Hammers Back” — a reference to traditional shotguns and rifles that employed external hammers to strike the firing pins.
Turning back the clock, the Vintagers’ inaugural event was held at Addieville Farm East in 1997, and again in 1998. For the next eight years, the Vintage Cup shifted to Orvis’ Sandanona Shooting Grounds in Millbrook, New York. After Sandanona, the Vintage Cup took place at Pintail Point in Queenstown, Maryland before returning in 2012 to Addieville Farm East, its home for the next four years over a September weekend in keeping with tradition.
The Vintage Cup is the group’s national, annual gathering. At 18 years old, the Vintagers was chartered as a non-profit corporation to promote the enjoyment of fine game guns, period attire, discriminating dining and good fellowship.
Vintagers membership, at approximately 400, has remained stable since the mid-2000s. “It’s a select bunch of people who want to do this,” explained Mr. Poudrier in the Vintagers tent at Addieville Farm East. “Most of our members are in their sixties and they have the time and money to participate.”
With its preponderance of gray beards, ongoing viability of the group would appear endangered. But Mr. Poudrier said that the Vintagers is attracting younger enthusiasts in their forties and fifties. He elaborated that the economy, more than natural attrition, has impacted participation.
Vintage attire is not required for competing in the Vintage Cup, and in fact some gun buffs just browse the exhibitors’ booths of antique firearms and book dealers as well as like-minded organizations.
To capture the spirit of the Vintage Order of Edwardian Gunners, see our photo album that follows.
As Mr. Poudrier would say, “Hammers Back.”
The Vintagers Order of Edwardian Gunners web site