Three shooters share lead at Hillbilly Open

BLUE SPRINGS – Perennial Gun Champion Mike Boyd broke 200 of the 200 targets thrown to win both the 12-gauge and 20-gauge competitions on the opening day of the 40th annual Hillbilly Open at the Whitetail Ridge Outdoors shooting center in Blue Springs on Saturday.
But he is not alone atop the leader board.
Brian Rishel and Chris Simmons also ran 200-straight targets, but lost to Boyd in miss-and-out sudden death shoot-offs in both gauges.
“We had a good squad that was shooting well,” said Boyd. “You have to be pretty sharp when it comes to the shoot-offs, but the targets were great under perfect shooting conditions and we all had a good day.”
The crowded leader board has the field of nearly 40 shooters excited about the second day of competition as Open Director Dick Hollaway anticipates a highly-competitive chase to the open championship.
“The key to Day 2 is always the .410,” said Hollaway. “It always boils down to that part of the competition. We’ll probably have at least two guys with 300 straight going into the .410 competition and then it’s anyone’s ballgame from that point forward because whoever shoots their .410 the best usually wins.”
Caile Bradham and Tim Hopper are just one target off the lead while Mike Gray and Hopper are still in the chase for the high-over-all (HOA) championship heading into the final day of competition.
“I got a little nervous,” said 16-year-old Bradham who is only in his third year of competitive shooting. “I just had to keep on working throughout the whole thing, keep my mind right, and not let anything easy slip away.”
Bradham, finished runner-up in last week’s Rebel Open in Jackson, broke 100×100 in the doubles in the opening stages of the day beating out Michael Schmidt and Boyd who broke 98×100 targets. Schmidt earned second place in the shoot-off.

Adam Gore/Special to the Journal