For a record ninth consecutive year the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources pistol team has won the team competition during the 45th Annual Basil Irwin Memorial Pistol Competition held August 30 in Chatfield, Minn.
State conservation officer Greg Abraham of New Ulm took first place honors in the individual, bull’s eye, and tactical course competitions, as well as second place honors in the modified practical pistol course. Abraham also set new course records in the individual and bull’s eye categories.
Other conservation officers receiving awards included Brent Ihnen of Waseca finishing second in the bull’s eye category, Kevin Neitzke of Fort Snelling taking third place honors in individual competition, and Sam Hunter of Park Rapids the third place winner in the tactical course. The DNR team also included conservation officers Mitch Boyum of Rushford, Thor Nelson of Bloomington, Greg Oldakowski of Wadena, and retired CO Fred Peterson.
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.