CAMP PERRY, Ohio – Three generations of the Williams family were represented on the fields of Camp Perry this summer. The group, hailing from Greensburg, Pennsylvania, came to the historic site to participate in the 2022 National Games Matches, following in the footsteps of many others who have made the series of events an annual pastime.
“It’s a tradition that was ‘rebooted’ in 2002,” said David Williams, 52, of National Games Matches. “My father wanted to shoot again, and with Garand Match he found that opportunity.”
For David, a 3-gun competitor, participating in the Ancient Games events seemed like a great way to improve his basic marksmanship skills, and shooting them at Camp Perry brought back childhood experiences that have lasted a lifetime.
“Camp Perry was where I spent my birthday until I was 13,” David said. “Every year on Memorial Day, my birthday, we were there.”
The patriarch of the Williams group, Gerald, 84, is a veteran. His extensive marksmanship career includes time as a member of the 1st Army Rifle Team and the 99th Army Reserve Command. His time with the teams took him to Camp Perry for games, when he would bring David along for the ride. .
David remembers those days clearly, remembering biking around the base as Gerald shot at the 600-yard line at Camp Perry’s Rodriguez Range. David’s first shots of his own at Perry were between the 300 and 600 yards at Rodriguez on the night after games ended, with the compound bow he received for his birthday. After Memorial Day, the family would return to Camp Perry for national games to create even more lasting memories and fun.
This year, Gerald competed in Modern Military Unlimited with his 17-year-old grandson/son of David, Cole, and shot the Vintage Sniper Match with David. It was Cole’s first year participating in National Rifle Games events, although he has been shooting in the National Rimfire Sporter Match (also shot at Camp Perry each summer) since he was 12 years old.
Along with the Springfield and Modern Military Games competitions, David shot in prestigious National Trophy Matches such as the President’s Rifle Match, National Trophy Individual Match and the Hearst Doubles team event (where he was paired with his cousin).
“We keep coming back every year because we get to spend a week together doing what we enjoy with family and friends,” said David. “Plus, we all agree that Xing 600 in a 25 mph wind is better than anything at Cedar Point.”
It’s never too early to start planning your own trip to the Camp Perry National Games! The National Matches, organized by the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP), have been a staple at the Camp Perry National Guard Training Facility since 1907. With its many exciting offerings and patriotic roots, the event has attracted thousands of repeat visitors over the years. often sparking a tradition for family members.
Located along the western shores of Lake Erie, Camp Perry is tucked away within Ohio’s Vacationland, a region filled with stunning views, beaches, lighthouses, thriving local businesses, and even one of the world’s largest amusement parks, Cedar Point. Those in the area stay busy during the summer months, especially when July and August roll around and the four-week schedule of pistol, rifle and air pistol events including the annual National Matches attracts guests. from across the country to the shores of Lake Erie.
There are several worthwhile competitive and educational opportunities presented during the National Matches, but the National Games Matches are CMP’s unique lineup of modern, recreational-style rifle competitions that are perfect for those just starting out in the sport, as well as for more experienced competitors. . The event roster contains such recognizable names as Springfield, Vintage Military and the popular John C. Garand matches, providing exceptional challenges to competitors while also looking at the legacy of each notable firearm.
Learn more about each phase of the event and view the full match schedule for 2023 and beyond on the CMP website at https://thecmp.org/cmp-national-matches/.
The Civilian Aim Program is a federally chartered 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. It is dedicated to firearms safety and marksmanship training and the promotion of competitive marksmanship for United States citizens. For more information about the CMP and its programs, log on to www.TheCMP.org.