Rambling From A Past President and Pistol Competitor
By: Clark Vargas
The Dixie Matches in Floridadate back to 1955 and were hosted by the Jacksonville Police Pistol Club (GR&PC). The Dixie Matches were then hosted at the JacksonvillePoliceRangeby Gateway Rifle and Pistol Club member, V.V. Voght, who passed January 27th, 2002.
For many years, the winter circuit which started the Nations shooting year for over 400 competitors were the Annual Dixie Matches at Jacksonville, followed by warm up at the Flamingo Matches in Miami Trail Glades Shooting Park, then the ”Big Top” at Mid-Winters at Tampa and finally the fun match in Fiesta of Five Flags at Pensacola. These were the matches that made up the nation’s conventional pistol “Winter Circuit”. The two matches fired the weekends preceding were hosted by Von V. Vought at theJacksonvillePoliceRangeand Clem Theed at theTrailGladesRangeinMiamithe National Mid-Winter championships were hosted by Henry Huerta, these 4 matches served as a Mid-Winter’s warm-up to the National Matches. The Fiesta of Five Flags was a post Mid-Winter fun match and was match hosted for many years by renowned physician and Pistol shooter, Dr. Nat Arenson, atPensacola,Florida.
TheFloridamid-winter circuit matches were in preparation for the National matches atCampPerryin July, they were well attended by 800 to 1000 attendees if you counted the 4 services support personnel with their 3 to 4 each “Gun Smith” support trailers, and personnel.
The mid-winters matches themselves ceased atTampain early 1990’s with the closing of theTampaPoliceRange.
The Dixie Matches were held annually from 1955 through 1971, a total of 16 matches, at the oldJacksonvillePoliceRangeat Imeson airport. After an absence of 20 years, the GR&PC, under the guidance of National Champion Joe Carrapellotti (Navy) and Clark Vargas, the President of FSSA, assumed sponsorship of the tournament. The first of the new series of Dixie Matches was held in March 1991 and it has since become an annual event at the Gateway Rifle and Pistol Club. In the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, the Dixie Matches have taken the place as the premier Mid-Winters Conventional Pistol Regional Tournament in the Nation.
Normal attendance to the Dixie Matches has been just over 125 more or less of the best National pistol shooters and service teams.