I was quite impressed with the performance of the 17th Virginia at this last National, so I emailed H.P. Gregory to ask him about the National and his thoughts about fellow competitor Ben Waits. Here is my interview:
SN: Congratulations to you and your team! How would you rate this National Skirmish for the 17th Virginia as a whole?
H.P.: I feel all our teams did great across the board. All of our guys and gals should be very proud. We don’t put a lot of pressure on anyone to win. If the desire is there it will show up in the qual scores. The qual system we use has been looked down on by many. We use the two Potomac’s and the two Nationals for qualifications. It takes a new member almost a year to find his or her spot. So our team develops rather slowly. It’s almost like an initiation process. But it seems to work well for us.
SN: What was your confidence level going into the Revolver match?
H.P.: We felt that if we did what we were capable of, we had a good chance to win it. However, you never know how well other teams will do. As it turned out we shot good solid scores so we feel like we won it instead of backing into it. Next time we might not be as lucky. Our A team consisted of Mike Moss, Bobby Elk, Tim Throne and myself. We had 3 Rogers’s revolvers and one Remington on A team. I would like to mention that our B team placed 1st and C team placed 2nd so it was a full team effort for us all.
SN: How did the Carbine team react to winning the carbine championship and what type of carbines did you use?
H.P.: Our carbine teams did very well this trip. On the A team we had one Sharps, one Smith, 2 Model Two Maynards and the rest were Model One Romano Maynards. Our team was very proud to win the carbine championship. Anytime you shoot against the best teams in the N-SSA and do well you should be proud. Our B and C carbine teams placed 2nd and were very happy with their performance.
SN: Was the team satisfied with the 4th Place Medal the were awarded in A-1 Musket Team?
H.P.: Our musket performance was pretty good this time. We were 4th A, 1st B, and 2nd C. We were in the mix for the championship until the pots. We just about doubled the time we had hoped for, so that took us out of it. 4th is pretty good compared to what we have done at some other nationals. If anything this performance gave us confidence that we can do better in the future. We always try to look for positive things to take away from a national.
SN: Did the team celebrate their victories after the matches on Saturday or Sunday?
H.P.: There was no huge celebration. Our team is sort low key when it comes to that stuff. Everyone just took personal satisfaction in the part they played helping the team have some success.
SN: H.P., How well do you know Ben Waits, the 124 National Grand Aggregate Winner, and how would you compare his shooting ability and/or style to your own?
H.P.: Ben is one of the best shooters in the N-SSA. He is a true sportsman who takes his sport very seriously. Ben is well rounded with all the different guns. He works hard at what he does and it shows. When it comes to the Grand Aggregate you have to think of been as being the favorite to win it. The one gun that I think stands out for Ben is revolver. This National I think he shot a 91 at 50 yards. Yes, that’s some strong medicine. The only good news for me on that is that I built that revolver for him. So what do I think of Ben? I think is a fine gentleman and a credit to this sport.
SN: What was the significance of the photo taken with You, Ben, and the other two gentleman?
H.P.: There are only 4 people that have passed 200 points in Grand Aggregate competition. Since I’m the youngest at 61 they wanted to get a picture of the 4 of us while they still could. Larry (Brockmiller), Al (Riehle) and Ben (Waits) and I are very fortunate to be in the category of Master Skirmisher.
SN: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. I’m sure the readers here on SkirmishNotes appreciate hearing your thoughts, and as always, good luck at the next National Skirmish!