Teams from four different country clubs participated in The Country Club of Buffalo’s inaugural Sporting Clays Invitational on Nov. 4 and 5. A team from CCB was joined by squads from The Country Club in Brookline, Mass., The Longue Vue Club located near Pittsburgh and The Country Club of Rochester in Rochester, N.Y. The CCB group — consisting of Kevin Clarke, Chris Randall, John Dandolph, Michael Grace and Bill McDermott — won the team competition. Rick Knapp of The Country Club won Top Gun honors with the overall best score and Clement George from Longue Vue was the tournament’s best trap shooter.
Officials with The Country Club of Buffalo (CCB) said they received rave reviews for the club’s inaugural Sporting Clays Invitational from all of the participating clubs—The Country Club in Brookline, Mass. (Host of the 2022 U.S. Open), The Longue Vue Club located near Pittsburgh and The Country Club of Rochester in Rochester, N.Y.
The four teams met on Nov. 4 and 5 for two days of friendly competition with a team event that showcased CCB’s four primary clay fields, including the one-of-a-kind Brushwalk. Each team was required to shoot a total of 625 clay pigeons.
Taking advantage of being the host squad, the CCB group — consisting of Kevin Clarke, Chris Randall, John Dandolph, Michael Grace and Bill McDermott — won the team competition. The Country Club in Brookline finished a close second, followed by Longue Vue and The Country Club of Rochester.
CCB also had a strong performance in the individual events led by Dan Slawson, Grace and Randall. Rick Knapp of The Country Club won Top Gun honors with the overall best score and Clement George from Longue Vue was the tournament’s best trap shooter.
All of the competitors raved about the complexity and breadth of five clay fields, the service afforded to them, as well as the one-of-a-kind champions dinner planned, prepared and served by Chef Joe Piazza and his staff.
Nick Markel, General Manager and Chief Operating Officer at CCB, supported the shooting committee’s efforts to launch this multi-club competition through two COVID-19-related stops and many more obstacles.
Members of participating clubs shared many positive thoughts about this first-time event.
“On behalf of The Country Club, I wanted to extend our heartfelt thanks for a fantastic event,” said Richard Knapp, who chairs the clay shooting program for The Country Club in Brookline. “The hospitality and food were superb, the company excellent, and the shooting program was incredibly enjoyable. Please pass our thanks to all the clubhouse staff, range officers and everyone else involved with making the event such a success. If we are lucky enough to be invited back, I have no doubt that we will have a long list of interested shooters from Brookline.”
Knapp praised Chris Simmons, a Country Club of Buffalo employee, for putting in “a Herculean effort over the course of the two days.”
Knapp’s thoughts were echoed by his counterpart with The Country Club of Rochester.
“Congratulations, and thank you for hosting this wonderful event at The Country Club of Buffalo,” said Mike Amico, who chairs the clay shooting program for The Country Club of Rochester. “The accommodations, hospitality, graciousness of the staff and attention to detail created a welcoming environment which made our stay both memorable and comfortable. Please extend a special thank you to Chef Joe Piazza and his staff for an extraordinary meal which complemented a wonderful day of competitive shooting. We also thank you for your time and effort in establishing this event. It was a significant project which included extensive planning and execution and your efforts were acknowledged and appreciated. The shooting team of the Country Club of Rochester would like to thank you once again for including us in this competition. We look forward to participating in this event in the future to rekindle the many friendships made.”
The winner of the trap competition said he and his teammates are still talking about how much they enjoyed the first-time event.
“The CCB invitational was a great event in all aspects, George said. “The Longue Vue team is still talking about how much fun it was weeks later. We would like to thank Kevin Clarke and Chris Randall for hosting an extraordinary event, as well as the CCB staff for their friendliness and professionalism. LVC is definitely planning to field a team in next year’s invitational.”
The participating clubs all want to return to CCB for the second competition in 2023 and have committed to helping CCB expand this event to eight of the most recognized and prestigious clubs with a great history of clay shooting.
Each team has already committed to returning to our 2023 invitational event because of the strength and breadth of our Five Clay fields coupled with the best in class service they experienced from everyone at the Country Club of Buffalo,” said Kevin Clarke, Event Chair. “Our team was proud to represent CCB in this event and greatly appreciate every club team member that helped make this an overall success.”
Clarke, who previously served as the CCB’s shooting chair, said he advocated launching this event more than three years ago.
“We are proud to have a longstanding tradition of clay shooting at CCB and we believe we are the only private country club with five unique clay fields – and [are] proud to have been referred to as the ‘Pine Valley of Clay Shooting’ for private country clubs in the USA by several of our visitors,” Clarke said.