On July 19, employees of Federal, Remington and Vista’s shooting accessory brands congregated at Prince George’s County Trap & Skeet course in Glenn Dale, Maryland for the
Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation trap, skeet, and sporting clays competition. This annual event brings together Members of Congress to enjoy an American outdoor tradition and support CSF.
Though the competition is an annual event, this year it brought in the highest female participation in history, more than 30 members of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus and just as many competing teams.
“The event is a great way to get in front of representatives in districts where our facilities are – or outside of our area, too,” said Jon Zinnel. “It’s also beneficial to work with other organizations that support CSF, conservation and the Second Amendment. I appreciate the opportunity to meet and greet in a fun environment outside of a general meeting or conference.”
Vista Outdoor was one of many sponsors of the event. Fred Ferguson is Vista’s person on the ground in Washington, D.C. He works with the CSF and Congressional leaders each day to advance shared policy priorities.
And, while one might read the stats of this event and conclude it was comparable to most other years, Vista employees were a part of history and had a plethora of stories to share.
Competitors turn Collaborators
Any other year, participants found Federal and Remington in a grueling face-off. This year, a much different team configuration stepped onto the course. For the first time in history, Jon Zinnel (Federal/Remington), Forrest Wilson (Federal), Jon Langenfeld (Remington) and Kris Carson (Remington) joined together – co-branded – in the competition.
Langenfeld, who was new to the event this year said it was a great opportunity to be on the same team.
“So far, I’ve worked with a lot of Federal people, I’ve been to Anoka a couple of times, and it almost seems like we were never competitors. It’s like ‘great! Come on let’s go,’” he explained.
“To do this with these guys – it’s an honor to be invited, and to have both companies represented is really neat.”
Wilson, who has attended the event since 2012, joked how he had never been ‘green with envy’ but smiled as he slipped into the vest. Across its back: the Remington logo. As a long-time manufacturing engineer at Federal, Wilson shared his thoughts on the joined forces.
“This definitely feels different than other years,” he said. “I’ve been fortunate enough to meet some of the guys prior to this event and I visited the Remington facility late last year. It’s great to see the different ways they manufacture product, and great to compete on a team with them and have some fun shooting, too.”
And his co-worker Jon Zinnel summed up the team merger well:
“It’s the ammo business together moving forward. With everyone working together, it’ll only get better on all fronts – whether for Federal, CCI, Speer, Remington,” he said. “Vista has the smartest engineers and best marketing teams, it’s a great opportunity to lead the industry.”
Oh, Shoot. I don’t have my guns.
These four stellar shooters had an opportunity to display optimal teamwork off the bat, after Carson showed up in Maryland empty handed.
“The airline sent my guns elsewhere,” Carson reported the morning of the event, after arriving much later than imagined. His guns were unaccounted for on the day of the competition – unfortunate circumstances that would have sent most people over the edge.
“I’m just going to play puppets today instead,” Carson joked that morning. He took it with stride, and ultimately borrowed guns from his newfound co-workers through the day, shooting very well, especially considering the circumstances.
Taking Home the Trophies
Rep. John Rutherford (FL) was the Congressman CSF paired with the Federal/Remington team.
“No pressure, Congressman,” a scorekeeper at the event said. “But you’ve got a tough crowd here, today.”
It was a high-pressure situation that, according to his trophy case, Rep. Rutherford dealt with very well. He was awarded the “Top Gun” Member of Congress trophy and polished off the event winning Vista Outdoor’s raffle package, including a Champion Wheelybird 2.0 clay thrower. Catching him between his winnings, Jason Slinkard, Director of Shooting Accessories Sales, had a chance to visit with Rep. Rutherford at the Bragging Rights ceremony. Turns out they are both retired law enforcement officers, providing a connection with much to visit about. You might say this team configuration was a match made in Maryland.
In addition, Jon Langenfeld took home the Top Trap award, which was fitting. Langenfeld is a big proponent of fostering activity at the Remington Gun Club, a range near the plant built to foster interest in shooting sports. He has been shooting with his grandpa since he can remember, started shooting trap when he was 13 and learned to load his own shotgun shells in his teens, as well. He even found his soon-to-be-wife while working at a trap field.
Forrest Wilson has travelled home from this event with extra luggage more than his modest spirit is willing to admit. After some prying, Forrest added the 2021 “Top Gun” hardware to his shelf and reported back: it was his fourth. He was awarded the Top Gun trophy this year after missing an average of just one target per event!
Jason Brodbeck was hired by Vista Outdoor in December, 2020. Since he started employment during COVID, his focus of the event was two-fold: First, meet and interact in-person with team members and second, represent Vista Outdoor in a sponsored event advocating for the protection and advancement of recreational shooting rights through CSF’s network of elected officials.
The event was in good timing. Brodbeck did a healthy amount of shooting when he lived in Dallas but hadn’t had much of an opportunity to consistently participate in the hobby until picking it back up in the last couple of years living in Maryland. Others on the team enjoyed the opportunity, as well.
“This is the first time I have ever shot this event, and it was a great experience,” said Slinkard. “A highlight for me was getting to know our Vista team even better and making a few new congressional friends.”
Jason’s coworker and teammate at the event, Justin Smith, Trade Marketing Manager, agreed. “It was nice to get back to somewhat of a normal industry event and see people from all different experience levels enjoying some friendly competition,” he said.
Competition with definite variety – a highlight Monte Koenigs, Product Manager, says was one of his favorites.
“The format – 25 sporting clays, 25 Skeet and 25 Trap – were all thrown into one day of shooting. That will always keep you on your toes!” Koenigs also appreciated the opportunity to help a fellow shooter that had not shot Trap, Skeet, or Sporting Clays before.
He’s referring to the congressman the Shooting Accessories Team was paired with: Rep. David Valadao (CA), a man who happily wrapped up the day winning the “Top Trap” Member of Congress award for a best individual performance, hitting 23/25 clays – proof that Koenigs’ coaching was right on target.
Congrats to all members who attended the event and represented Vista Outdoor and its brands!