Mess Hall returns to Camp Perry

For the first time in several years, the Nationals at Camp Perry will feature a dining room for the competitors. Shooter’s Mess Hall will be managed by WP Catering and will offer a breakfast buffet and boxed lunches.

WP Catering owner Mike Miller owned the popular but now closed Waldo Peppers restaurant in Port Clinton, Ohio for several years. He is a longtime caterer for the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP).

“I have served CMP for 12 years,” Miller said. “I attended the NRA when they were there, the national youth at Gary Anderson and the volunteer luncheons.”

The perimeter walls were titled and placed when the original Camp Perry Mess Hall was built in 1909.

The breakfast buffet will include eggs, breakfast meats, breakfast breads, hashbrowns, and beverages. Shooter’s Mess will offer boxed lunches of deli sandwiches or salads. Breakfast customers may dine on site, but lunches may be picked up only. Miller chose lunch options that will stay fresh during competitions.

“They can pick them up and take them to the shooting range, and they’ll still be stable to have them out there,” he said.

Soldiers gathered in Camp Perry’s Mess Hall (1915).

Shooter’s Mess customers must pre-order meals the day before. Pre-orders must be placed in person at Shooter’s Mess, which is located in the 2607 building. Pre-orders will give Miller much-needed feedback for next year’s diner menu.

“We’re trying to meet customers in person so we can get to know their likes and dislikes,” Miller said.

Miller’s desire to connect with his customers reflects the history of the diner at Camp Perry, where generations of soldiers could take a break from their service to enjoy a quick meal and the camaraderie of other service personnel. When Camp Perry’s first mess hall was completed in 1909, it was considered an architectural marvel. The commissary dining hall and storage building were erected using a revolutionary tilt-up construction technique created by Robert Aiken, an Illinois contract architect. The concrete walls were precast and set into place with leveling screws.

Prior to the 1998 National Matches, the Mess Hall was damaged and the structure was eventually demolished.

During World War II, Camp Perry served as a prisoner of war camp. German and Italian prisoners housed in the camp lived in relatively comfortable conditions with unexpected privileges, such as access to a canteen. Some of the prisoners worked in the mess hall, where they were provided with the ingredients to cook their native meals.

The architecturally significant 1909 dining hall was damaged by an F2 tornado just weeks before the 1998 National Matches Opening Shooting Ceremony. The structure was eventually demolished, but the commissary storage building, now renamed Building 2009, still standing and recently renovated.

Competitors enjoy a meal in the Mess Hall (1910-1920).

Now Miller and CMP embark on a new era in dining history at this year’s National Parties. Miller said he is limiting Shooter’s Mess hours this year, but may expand them in the future.

“We will only have breakfast and lunch the first year so we can get our feet wet,” he said.

Shooter’s Mess will be open from July 7 to August 5 at the times listed below. Times are subject to change.

July 7 8 am- noon

July 8 7 am- noon

July 9 6 am- noon

July 10 6 am- noon

July 11 6 am- noon

July 12 6 am-noon

July 13 6 am-noon

July 14 6 am-noon

July 15 6:30 am-noon

July 16 7 am- noon

July 17 6:15 am- noon

July 18 6:45 am- noon

July 19 6:45 am-noon

July 20 6:45 am- noon

July 21 7 am- noon

July 22 6 am-noon

July 23 6 am- noon

July 24 5:30 am- Noon

July 25 5:30 am-noon

July 26 5:00 am- noon

July 27 4:30 am- noon

July 28 4:30 am- noon

July 29 4:30 am- noon

July 30 4:30 am-noon

July 31 8 am-noon

August 1 7:45 am- noon

August 2 7:45 am- noon

August 3 7:45 am-noon

August 4 7:45 am- noon

August 5 6:45 am- noon

The Civilian Marksmanship Program is a federally chartered 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. It is dedicated to firearms safety and marksmanship training and the promotion of marksmanship proficiency for United States citizens. To learn more about the CMP and its programs, log on to