Derrick Mein of Kansas was crowned High Overall Champion after a shoot off in the Main Event winning $1,500 at the 2020 Georgia State Sporting Clays Championship held over four days this last weekend at the Meadows Gun Club. Mein scored 194 out of 200 clay targets at the event that ended Father’s Day afternoon. Bill McGuire tied Mein’s score, also breaking 194 targets, but came in as runner up in the shoot off. He took $750 back to Tennessee.
The Georgia Resident Main Event Champion was Jasper Copelan from Eatonton who knocked down 189 targets out of 200. Copelan said he has been shooting in this state competition since he was 11 years-old and makes his living as a shooting instructor for sporting clays. He said he’s living his dream. Zachary Kienbaum was runner up for Georgia champion, scoring 188.
There was over $35,000 in prize money divided up between winners of different events including, Overall, Georgia Resident, Non-Resident, Georgia Lady, Veterans, Juniors and many others. Also given away was a Berretta shotgun. Daniel Defense, a Georgia weapons manufacturer, helped sponsor with an AR pistol that was given to Jasper Copelan, Georgia in-state champion. The price was $250 to register for the main event which included a goody bag, a t-shirt and a Saturday night dinner.
Over 600 participants from 27 states were in attendance, filling up local hotels and buying lots of beverages from nearby food marts. The Georgia State Sporting Association is a part of the National Sporting Clays Association which includes members from all 50 states. Georgia’s event usually comes in 2nd or 3rd in attendance numbers, but this weekend’s event had the largest turnout in the history of the Georgia Sporting Club Association. Georgia residents made up the bulk of contestants with 342. South Carolina was represented with 56 attendees. On a day-to-day basis, the Meadows hires only 3 to 4 employees but 100 was needed to assist this event, loading targets, taking care of trash and shuttling visitors.
Kevin Demichiel, instructor at the Meadows and professional shooter, said Savannah will host the event next year and the following year it will be at the Big Red Oak Hunting preserve. He said it’ll probably be a three year rotation before coming back to Monroe County. Demichiel said he has been shooting the Georgia State Championship since 1998 and has won this event a couple of times in his career but this weekend he fell a little short. He explained there’s a lot to shooting a moving clay target. You must know your gun. You must have the proper lead. And wind can affect a frisbee-like target. Targets also come in different sizes. Demichiel said a clay target isn’t what it sounds like; there’s a process to manufacturing them and the chemical composition of one is complicated.
Dominic Bethel of Canton started off the new year by taking over ownership of The Meadows on Jan. 1, 2020. He said he has been shooting there for years and it had always been his favorite club and when the opportunity arose, he took it. The Meadows Gun Club is at 1064 Rumble Road. They are open from Wednesday thru Sunday and can be reached at 478-994-9910.