David Thompson Black Powder Shoot (2023)

This April 28-30th, The Tobacco River Muzzleloaders club hosted the 45th annual David Thompson Black Powder Shoot, first started by Jim Kirsch and Joe Nelson. While Jim was present this year in the flesh, and continues to impart much wisdom, Joe passed away three weeks after last year’s Rendezvous and is much missed. He returned in spirit, however, and managed a perfect score, leading in all three events.

Joe Nelson reminds us of what proper shooting looks like.

While the shoot had a rough few years due to Covid-19 regulations, things seem to be improving once again. This year, 71 folks competed in some mixture of the three events (Muzzleloading Rifle, Muzzleloading Pistol, and Tomahawk & Knife). There is no obligation to participate in all three, and many folks opt for one or two.

It was a pleasure to see that more Canadians were present this year, thanks to relaxation of border-crossing regulations. But to me, the greatest joy was to see several generations represented, and old shooters mentoring young kids just starting out in the hobby.

In the final shooting group, Kaelan Yanak scores a hit on one of the last three pistol targets.

Folks are encouraged to get most of their events taken care of on Friday and Saturday, but participants are allowed to compete in one event on Sunday morning prior to distributing blanket prizes and striking camp.

Blanket prizes being brought out on Sunday morning.
A fine mixture of prizes this year – knives, horns, leatherwork, and traditional cookware, to name a few.

Participation in blanket prizes is optional, but quite enjoyable. To join in this year, one was advised to bring a gift relevant to traditional muzzleloading culture, and worth at least $15. At the blackpowder shoot’s conclusion on Sunday morning, the combined scores were read, starting with the highest, and those who’d brought blanket prizes were able to select something from the table when their name came.

Afterwards, a drawing was held for this year’s grand prize, a muzzleloading pistol kit donated by the family of a gentleman no longer with us. An experienced shooter won the draw, and straightaway gave the kit to a young boy just starting out in the hobby.

Rifle and pistol targets regathered, awaiting the next rendezvous.

After prizes were distributed, shooters helped take down the remaining targets and ensure the grounds used were free from trash.

We’ll hope to see you there next year,

Jedidiah McCurry

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