While technology has improved greatly, and over/unders have become the double barrel of choice for many, but there is still a loyal following for side by sides. The Southern Side by Side was started in 2001 by Bill Kempffer of Deep River Sporting Clays and in 2007, Rick Hemmingway, owner of Back Woods Quail Club, joined to host a second annual event. The two events, the Spring Classic at Deep River and the Fall Classic at Back Woods, celebrate the love so many Southerners have for the side by side shotgun.
Throughout the three day weekend, there are multiple opportunities to shoot your hammer or hammerless double barrel of choice. Hundreds, if not thousands of competitors participate in events such as the Holland & Holland Small Gauge, Famars 10 Gauge, Griffin & Howe Compak Sporting, and Connecticut Shotguns American Classics. Some events like the Holland & Holland limit the competition to small gauge shotgunners (20ga, 28ga, 32ga and .410), while others like the Main Event are open to anyone who wants to compete, as long as they have a side by side.
At the Spring Classic, one of the highlights of the competition is the Parker Brothers/L.C. Smith Challenge Cup. Shooters with either a Parker or L.C. Smith qualify to compete on five-man squads by participating in a series of qualifying events. The 10 highest scoring gunners of each gunmaker then represent their team in a shoot-off. At the Fall Classic, it's time for American Classics Team Challenge, similar in format to the Parker/L.C. Smith Challenge, but you aren't limited to having a Parker or "Elsie".
Dave was so excited to be there!
What Dave kept saying to me throughout the weekend.
Gorgeous custom engraving.
You can't shoot without ammo!
Dave admiring a custom engraved Fausti Magnificent. He was thisclose to pulling the trigger, not litteraly, when I told him that I'd really like to be able to pay our mortgage for the next couple of months.
Hunky Holland & Hollands
Of course you have to look good while you're shooting.
I bet I'd break at least 20% more targets wearing this adorable madras shooting vest! It's custom made by Ermilio. P.S. His daughter is fashion designer Katie Ermilio.
The Winchester Model 21 belonging to my awesome instructor, Elizabeth.
Dave in his version of a candy store, the Connecticut Shotgun Manufacturing bus.
While this was the first "Southern" for Dave and me, it certainly won't be our last. Our hotel is already booked for the Fall Classic in Georgetown, SC at the end of October.