Categories
Hall of Fame

2004 – Gary Wehlage

Award scan

Wisconsin State Titles

28 Gauge (2 times) – 2001, 2007

.410 Bore (1 times) – 2001

Zone Titles

12 Gauge – 1997

Doubles – 2000 


With the hope of improving his field shooting skills, Gary joined Middleton Sportsmen’s Club around 1970.  Initially trap was the game, but he soon saw that the guys on the skeet field were having more fun.  He bought a skeet barrel for his 87- trap gun and joined in.  In those days at Middleton, instruction in how to shoot skeet wasn’t available.  Shooters just copied someone who seemed to break quite a few targets and, of course they acquired some bad habits along the way—such as shooting heavy loads through the 870.  Eventually the recoil took its toll on Gary and he eventually developed the dread “flinch.”

In 1979 he registered his first NSSA targets and during the early ‘80s he mainly shot the 12 and 20 gauge events.  It wasn’t until about ’85 that he began to take the game seriously, but flinching kept him from shooting those elusive hundred straights.  In 1992 he went to the World at Savannah and among the scores he posted were three ninety-nines—each miss the result of a flinch.  That winter he began shooting a “release” trigger and has used one ever since.

Gary made the All-State second team three times in the early nineties, but then work got in the way and his shooting schedule was light for several years until he retired from UW-Madison in ’97.  With retirement he had time to practice and take in more shoots.  It was in the fall of ’97 that “coach” Bruce Ramos convinced him to register another hundred twelve-gauge targets so that he would be eligible for the NSSA All American Senior team, and he was subsequently names to the Honorable Mention squad.  In following years he was named second team All American twice and first team once.  Over a seven-year span beginning in ’98, he made first team once.  Over a seven-year span beginning in ’98, he made first team All-State five times.  During this stretch he managed some major wins: two Zone 5 gun titles, two State Championships, and two wins against some of the country’s top competitors at the Kachina Open in Phoenix.  For one of the latter he squared off against a long line of shooters that included Todd Bender, Robert Paxton, and Mike Schmidt.

Gary’s skeet career doesn’t stop here.  Gary spent several years on the board of Sauk Prairie Gun Clun running their skeet leagues as well as their registered programs.  He also spent several years as the Vice President of the Wisconsin Skeet Shooting Association.  His dedication to promoting as well as shooting skeet makes Gary a welcome addition to our Hall of Fame.