Sporting Clays Champion
For Randy Montgomery, describing his favorite sport is simple. “Sporting clays is like golf with a shotgun,” Montgomery said. And as it turns out, that’s a pretty accurate description. “And it’s a lot of fun,” he adds.
According to online encyclopedia sources, sporting clays is a form of clay pigeon shooting that is considered to be more difficult than trap or skeet. It involves the shooter shooting at clay targets coming from multiple stations and going at different angles, speeds, elevations and distances.
And while it seems a bit complicated for those who may have never handled a double-barreled shotgun, Montgomery just smiles and says, “It does involve a lot of mental ability.”
And that’s something he uses to his advantage. Montogomery is one of the highest-ranked sporting clays sportsmen in the United States. He got involved with sporting clays nine years ago when he helped his friends, David and Debbie Rippetoe, build structures and shooting areas for Silverleaf Shotgun Sports on some land between Edmond and Guthrie.
“I’ve been hunting all my life and this seemed like a lot of fun,” he said.
It didn’t take long for Montgomery to discover he was a natural when it came to sporting clays. He started out as a delegate for the state before moving on to become the president of the Oklahoma Association of Sporting Clays. From there, he went on to being on the sporting clays’ advisory council in San Antonio.
“I’ve been a master shooter for six years,” Montgomery said, adding that he’s won the state championship and is ranked sixth in the nation as a sporting clays shooter. Interestingly, Montgomery is a southpaw, meaning that he’s at more of a disadvantage as a shooter.
Being a good shooter apparently runs in the Montgomery family. His wife, Denise works at Silverleaf and his son, Luke is a master shooter and All-American.
On this particular afternoon at Silverleaf, Montgomery took the Edmond Outlook on a tour of the property, showing off the different stands and target locations while riding in his customized four-wheeled golf cart. One of the sites was a pretty vista, near the edge of a valley where a shallow creek ran through. Trees could be seen in all directions.
At a few stops, Montgomery demonstrated his crackshot shooting abilities. At the pull of the release, two orange-colored clay discs are released from the trap and sail in front of the tree line.
BOOM! BOOM! And the clay pigeons explode, with the pieces showering to the ground. Montgomery hit his targets with expert precision.
“You have to really focus on the leading edge of that target to shoot the clay successfully,” Montgomery said. He adds that good hand-eye coordination also plays a major role in becoming a successful sporting clays sportsman. Montgomery’s double-barreled shotgun also has a special release that lets him shoot one shell followed by a second shell.
“Not many people do that,” he said of his shooting method.
When Montgomery first started out, he was placed in the ”D” and then “C” class but quickly moved to the “B” then “A” class, right on up to the “AA” class, receiving points or “punches” all the while.
“Some people don’t want to move up and will pretend to be worse than they really are. That’s because they have to compete with other (sporting clays shooters),” Montgomery said. “When they do that it’s called ‘sandbagging.’”
Montgomery said that while the majority of sporting clays shooters are men, plenty of women compete as well, including his wife.
“My wife loves it when we all couple shoot,” he said. “[She] has improved so much this past year.”
The forty-seven-year-old, Guthrie-based contractor, also instructs people in the finer points of sporting clays shooting, “He’s one of the best instructors out there,” said Silverleaf employee Kenzie Rippetoe.
In the near future, Montgomery will be spending less time at Silverleaf and in Oklahoma in general. Having inherited a hunting and fishing camp called Pleasant Point Lodge near the Canadian town of Kenora, Ontario, Montgomery will be spending half the year north of the border.
For more information on sporting clays, go to the Sooner State Sporting Clays Association at www.sssca.net.