Northwest Arkansas Spring gun Association (NASA) members Brian Groves and Arnold Smith visited NASA’s ancestral home, the Oil Capital Rod & Gun Club (OCRGC), on August 15th to attend the clubs weekly ten meter silhouette match. The pair left Northwest Arkansas in midafternoon for the scenic drive to Coweta Oklahoma where the OCRGC is located. The journey led our shooters through a number of diverse communities as they traveled through the Ozark mountains of Arkansas and Oklahoma. The first of which is Tontitown Arkansas. This largely Roman Catholic community was established by Italian settlers in 1895 under the auspices of Father Pietro Bandini, Tontitown’s first Mayor. Named in honor of the famous Italian explorer Henri de Tonti (1649 – 1704) Tontitown is known today for its friendly inhabitants, indigenous wines and the largest annual grape festival in Arkansas.
The pair then motored through Siloam Springs Arkansas. This historic town on the Arkansas / Oklahoma boarder was founded in 1882. Settlers were originally drawn here by the medicinal properties of the local spring water. A total of twenty eight springs feed the famous Sager creek which flows through the middle of down town Siloam Springs. This historic waterway was named for one of the city’s first inhabitants a farmer named Simon Sager. Home of the Christian liberal arts college John Brown University and the legendary 28 Springs Restaurant people now flock to the city for a first rate education and fine cuisine.
However, Cheatou Oklahoma may be the most interesting city that our adventurous duet moved through because Cheatou enjoys the largest of the four Amish enclaves located in Oklahoma. The Cheatou Amish community formed in 1910 consists of four church districts serving approximately 600 congregants. Although primarily farmers you’ll see a number of Amish shops when passing though the region such as the Dutch Pantry and Ropp’s farm and bakery.
Upon arriving at the Oil Capitol Rod and Gun Club Arnold and Brian were greeted warmly by Air Gun Sensei Bob Kelley and a host of airgunners who’d arrived at the match early to talk airguns while enjoying sack dinners. The NASA crew had purchased take away sandwiches from a famous deli in Inola Oklahoma and dined on delicious New York style hoagies before the matches began.
Brian Groves shot very well during the matches scoring a 37 in the first rifle relay shooting his P70 and a 39 in the third rifle relay with his JW60FB. It should also be noted that Oklahoma resident and friend of NASA Mark Welker achieved a perfect score in the 3rd relay shooting an HW97.
After five relays the NASA crew found themselves beginning the journey home very late into the night. They traversed the blue highways covered by a pall of darkness back through the sleeping communities that make the Ozark mountains great.
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