|Ben Galioto, John Zema and Paul Billings winners at NJ State Championships
As many of you know our 2016 State Shoot was rescheduled from Labor Day weekend to September 16th-18th and it turned out to be a beautiful weekend (thank you weather gods). The tournament started on Friday with Doubles. Last year’s doubles champion John Zema was not ready to give up his title, he broke a solid 96 winning the championship uncontested. Class winners were Galioto A1, Billings B1, James Luts C1 and John Pownall D1.
On Saturday morning we had cool temperatures, a slight breeze and those lovely puffy little white clouds for our 12 gauge event. All of this did not deter or intimidate two experienced shooters, Paul Billings and Tony Veil. Both gentlemen broke 97’s and made their way to the shoot-off field where Billings won, sealing his 4th State Championship. Class winners were John Zema AA1, Ben Galioto A1, Anthony Viel B1, James Luts C1, Andrew Harman D1 and upcoming junior superstar Vincenzo D’Aquanno.
On Saturday afternoon the weather improved for the 28 gauge event and your 2016 & 2017 NJSSA President Ben Galioto hammered 98 targets to win his first 28 gauge title uncontested. Class winners were Bob Clark AA1 who broke a 97 using a pump gun!! Nice shooting Bob and welcome back to the State Shoot. Other class winners were Howard Matthews A1, Dick Lukasik B1, Thomas Surman C1, Howard Mann D1.
On Sunday morning the nice weather continued for the 20 gauge event, and so did Ben Galioto, who grinded out another 98, winning his first 20 gauge title, again uncontested. Class winners were John Zema AA1, Rick Bagni A1, James O’Connor B1, Nick Pino C1, and Howard Mann D1.
The 410 event had Dick Lukasik, Mike Costello, John Zema and Ben Galioto all tied with 94’s and heading to the shoot-off field. After two stations, Zema claimed his second State Title of the weekend. It should be noted that John has represented New Jersey well this year by winning multiple gun championships at top 100 shoots. Nice shooting John!! Class winners were Howard “Buttons” Matthews AA1, Ben Galioto A1, Michael Costello B1, Nick Pino C1, Greg Khalaf D1. Before the weekend started Ben Galioto was overheard saying to Hank Bauer and Ricky Bagni that he always wanted to win a NJ State HOA Title. Well, congratulations Ben, you won your first HOA championship and your 6th career State Title! The HOA Runner-up was won by John Zema. Class winners were Buttons Matthews A1, Rick Bagni B1, Nick Pino C1 and Howard Mann secured D1.
Your 2017 officers are President Ben Galioto, Vice President Paul Billings, Treasurer Nick Pino and Secretary Russell Paul. A special thank you to our referees, Raymond Cronk, Hank Bauer and my daughter Sophia Galioto who did an outstanding job on the button. I would like to thank the officers for lending a helping hand over the entire weekend, I would like to thank all of you for coming out and supporting your state. We would also like to thank Joint Base staff and management for hosting the shoot.