While some alterations were made to contend with COVID-19, sports once again played a role in the U.S. Army Military Police School’s 2020 Regimental Week, with competitions taking place at Piney Valley Golf Course, the Outdoor Adventure Center and the Lake of the Ozarks Recreation Area.
With 60 players competing Friday, the annual Military Police Regimental Association Golf Tournament was half its usual size due to COVID-19 precautions but nonetheless received a warm welcome from PVGC staff members.
“It’s usually about 120 players, but we had to limit it to the number of carts we had, so we have 60 players today,” said Steve Belton, PVGC manager, as he addressed players before the tournament began. “Everybody was obviously excited about getting a golf tournament in, and we’re just as excited as you are — this is our first tournament of the year here at the end of September. So, we’re happy about that.”
Col. Niave Knell, USAMPS commandant, said the tournament was a chance for MPs to “take a little bit of a break” after a week of events celebrating the MP Corps.
“This is a chance to relax, enjoy each other’s company and share the camaraderie,” she said. “It is important to be able to do all your events — that’s why we didn’t want to just cancel them. So, we did a fishing tournament, we did trap and we’re out here golfing, which is (a great sport) for social distancing.”
As an added precaution, tournament organizers did not hold an awards ceremony this year, opting instead to post the results on the MPRA Facebook page.
According to the site, the team of Greg Kleinholtz, Debbie Kleinholtz, Mike Salazar and Brandon Hatchell took first place in Flight A, while the team of Mike O’Neil, Xavier Romo, Matthew Carlson and Timothy Outzen took first in Flight B, and the team of Micah Ambrose, Joshua Jordan, Michaela Lang and Eric Napier finished first in Flight C. Complete results are listed at https://www.facebook.com/MPRAOnline. Winners can pick up prizes at PVGC at their leisure, Belton said.
Friday’s golf tournament followed the annual Regimental Trap Shoot, which drew eight teams to the trap ranges at the Outdoor Adventure Center Sept. 23.
The 701st Military Police Battalion team of Matthew Ewert, Landon Titman, Cody Sullivan, Michaela Lang and Joshua Shields took first place, shooting down 181 out of a possible 250 clay targets. Each player took five shots from 10 different positions along the ranges’ 16-yard and 20-yard lines.
“It was awesome,” said Ewert, who led all players with only two misses to earn a 48. He and Sullivan, who shot a 37, were recognized as the team’s “top shots.”
It was the second consecutive top-shot title for Ewert, who said he developed his skills shooting trap and skeet growing up in Wisconsin.
“Trap and skeet are both (my favorites), but when you get good at one, you get really bad at the other — so, you have to stay in practice,” he said.
The TD’ers team, which included Christopher Jasper, Lawrence Cleveland, John Barnhill and Orlando Ochoa took second place with a 164. Cleveland, who shot a 39, and Ochoa, who shot a 37, also earned top-shot honors.
Third place came down to a shootout after the Retirees, made up of members Don Payne, Dorsey Newcomb, Paul Millius, Paige Pfeiffer and David Giles, and Team BMPTD, which included Jeremy Calvin, Joshua Bennett, Scott Howard, Benjamin Ashmead and Christopher Haubrich, tied at 162. With one representative from each team given five shots for the tiebreaker, Payne knocked down the first four targets but missed the fifth, then waited as Howard missed his first shot, hit the next three and shot just short of the final target, giving the Retirees the win.
“I wasn’t too worried,” Payne said later, adding “I had fun. This was a blast.”
Rounding out the finishers were the Sergeants Major, who placed fifth shooting a 132, Team LTC with a 123, Team Colonel with a 115 and Team Traphouse with a 106.
Noncommissioned officers with the Basic Military Police Training Division, who organized the event, presented the top three teams with plaques and prizes.
Regimental Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Bennett thanked all participants for coming out.
“It was great that we could come out here and utilize (the OAC),” he said.
The MPRA also held its annual Bass Tournament Sept. 22 at the Lake of the Ozarks Recreation Area as part of MP Week events.