By Ed CarrollIt wasn’t the first game fair or double-gun shoot ever organized in the US, but the premiere example amid the resurgent interest in fine guns had the long-winded and superlative title of World Side-by-Side Championships and Exhibition. It came to be known, of course, as the Vintage Cup, and it was the progenitor of many variants and one-offs that have evolved—for 2016 at least—into a full calendar of fall shoots.
Some are new, some are well established and some are starting fresh after changing names, organizers or venues. All that follow look to offer a good gathering of double-gun enthusiasts after the summer heat has broken. It’s easiest to consider them chronologically.
North American Shotgun Classic
September 9 – 11
Ten Mile River Preserve, Dover Plains, NY
The second running of the NASC has moved five miles from Dover Furnace to the 3,000-acre private-club surroundings under the same ownership located only 84 miles from New York City. The 25-station sporting clays course is exceptionally lovely, set in hilly forest with open, panoramic views at the top. Shooting will include sporting clays, FITASC and 5 Stand, with competitions for side-by-sides, over/unders and semi-autos. The list of sporting exhibitors is expected to include many of the best-known fine-gun dealers. For more information: 845-877-3560; tmrp.org.
Tunnel of Trees Side x Side Tournament & Game Fair
September 16 – 18
Emmet County Sportsmen’s Club, Harbor Springs, MI
This is the first gathering for a new shoot in Michigan built around a 12-station sporting clays course set on 95 acres of rolling hardwood forest. The main event is side-by-sides only and will feature 72 “hunter clay” targets both Saturday and Sunday and 36 “crazy pigeon ring” targets on Saturday. There will be plenty of side events, with skeet, trap and “crazy quail” targets. Exhibitors are expected to display fine shotguns, sporting books, ammunition, sporting art, wingshooting destinations and clothing. For more information: 231-526–1135; emmettunneloftrees.com.
Orvis Game Fair & Country Sporting Weekend
September 17 & 18
Orvis Sandanona, Millbrook, NY
This event is the closest thing to the full variety of offerings of a British-style game fair and is held in the genteel setting of the country’s oldest shooting grounds. Orvis has refined and grown this event for a decade, and it now includes fly-fishing, dog-training and falconry exhibitions, plenty of kid-friendly family activities and a Range Rover driving course. The 10th Annual Orvis Cup, on Sunday, will feature a 100-target tournament on Sandanona’s sporting clays course, with entrants enjoying breakfast, a tote bag with ammo and a post-shoot lunch and awards ceremony. For more information: 845-677-9701; orvis.com/gamefair.
Northern Side by Side Challenge & Expo
September 22 – 25
Rock Mountain Sporting Clays, Meshoppen Township, PA
Here’s a thought on where the hardcore side-by-side guys go: four full days of shooting across an array of side and main events for side-by-sides only; and collectors’ groups exhibiting and competing that include A.H. Fox, L.C. Smith, Lefever and Parker enthusiasts. Cradled between the Susquehanna and I-81, the sporting clays course at “The Rock” has hosted NSCA divisional tournaments and the state championship. The main event, on Sunday, is 80 targets. For more information: 570-965-7625; rockmountainclays.com.
Vintage Gunners Cup World Side-by-Side Championship & Exhibition
September 23 – 25
Hopkins Game Farm, Kennedyville, MD
Names have subtly changed, but the intentions are the same: The Vintage Gunners of the Double Gun Society are successors to the original Vintagers (Order of Edwardian Gunners), and the competition and exhibition that started it all returns after a one-year hiatus to a new location on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. This will be the 18th World Side-by-Side Championship. Side events in every gauge will be shot Friday and Saturday, with additional competition organized by mens’ and ladies’ teams, American Classics, black powder and a flurry event. Rifle events will be shot on Friday. The main event will be Sunday. Exhibitors’ tents will feature sporting-arms collectors and dealers and related vendors of fine goods. For more information: 410-348-5287; vintagers.org.
Southern Side by Side Championship & Exhibition
The Fall Classic
October 21 – 23
Backwoods Quail Club, Georgetown, SC
An extension of Bill Kempffer’s spring shoot at his Deep River Sporting Clays, The Fall Classic offers a similar variety of shooting near the South Carolina coast. Shooting for the side events will begin Thursday, October 20, for those who really want to shoot. The main sporting clays event is 80 targets on Sunday; the schedule also includes competitions with pumpguns and American Classics plus a 30-target Compak Sporting event. The exhibition will include many wingshooting and fine-gun vendors and dealers. For more information: 843-546-1466; southernsidebyside.com.
Photographs courtesy Orvis.