Minnesota DNR conservation officers Sam Hunter, Mitch Boyum, Greg Abraham, Brent Ihnen, Thor Nelson, Kevin Neitzke and Greg Oldakowski.
The Minnesota DNR has again demonstrated it employs some very straight shooters.
For a record ninth straight year, the agency's pistol team won the 45th Annual Basil Irwin Memorial Pistol Competition. The event was held Aug. 30 in Chatfield, Minn.
CO Greg Abraham of New Ulm captured first place in the individual, bull’s eye, and tactical course competitions, and second place in the modified practical pistol course. Abraham also set course records in the individual and bull’s eye categories.
Other conservation officers receiving awards included Brent Ihnen of Waseca, finishing second in the bull’s eye; Kevin Neitzke of Fort Snelling, taking third in individual competition; and Sam Hunter of Park Rapids, third in the tactical course. The DNR team also included conservation officers Mitch Boyum of Rushford, Thor Nelson of Bloomington, Greg Oldakowski of Wadena, and retired CO Fred Peterson.
"We're very proud of the accomplishments of our pistol team," said Col. Jim Konrad, DNR Enforcement Division director. "These awards are both an honor and a validation of the commitment of all of our officers."
Basil Irwin was a longtime Minnesota “game warden” in the Sandstone area. In 1967 he challenged some Wisconsin wardens to a team pistol match. The inaugural event was called the "Minnesota-Wisconsin Wardens Pistol Match," but renamed “The Basil Irwin Memorial Game Warden Pistol Shoot” after Irwin’s death in 1970.
Since then, natural resource officers from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Wisconsin and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have participated in the event.