Monday, October 12, 2015

Minnesota DNR pistol team repeats as champs

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources pistol team won the team title and three top spots during the 49th annual Basil Irwin Memorial Game Warden Pistol Shoot competition Sept. 9 at the Chatfield Fish and Game Club.

Minnesota team members included conservation officers Greg Oldakowski of Wadena, Mitch Boyum of Rushford, Thor Nelson of New Ulm, Steve Chihak of Spring Valley, Brent Ihnen of Waseca, and regional training officer Kevin Neitzke. The team also included retired conservation officers Greg Abraham and Larry Webinger. Abraham won the "Retired Wardens Jug" for the third consecutive year while Neitzke won the Individual Grand Aggregate and the Highly Modified Bulls-eye categories. Boyum was best in the Highly Modified Police Pistol Combat Competition. Team Minnesota finished ahead of a DNR team from Iowa.

"We're very proud of the accomplishments of our pistol team," said Col. Ken Soring, DNR Enforcement Division director. "These awards are both an honor and a validation of the commitment of all of our officers."

Basil Irwin was a Minnesota game warden in the Sandstone area for decades. In 1967, he challenged some Wisconsin wardens to a team pistol match. The inaugural event was called the "Minnesota-Wisconsin Wardens Pistol Match," but renamed "The Basil Irwin Memorial Game Warden Pistol Shoot" after Irwin's death in 1970. Since then, natural resources enforcement officers from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Wisconsin, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have participated in the event.

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