188. Oktoberfest - State Shooting 2023 München

The Oktoberfest and Its History

A carriage driver from the Bavarian National Guard had the idea to celebrate the wedding of Ludwig of Bavaria and Princess Theresa with a grand horse race. King Max I. Joseph of Bavaria was very enthusiastic about this idea and organized the first Oktoberfest on October 17, 1810, just a few days after the wedding.

The Oktoberfest took place on a meadow outside the city walls, and in honor of the princess, this meadow was named “Theresienwiese.”

After the first Oktoberfest, everyone agreed that the festival should continue. Initially, it was organized by the agricultural association. To this day, every four years, the “Bavarian Central Agricultural Festival” (ZLF) takes place in the southern part of the area. In 1819, the city fathers of Munich took over the organization of the festival, and it has remained so to this day.

It is one of the largest shooting festivals in the world. With the wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen on October 12, 1810, it became a permanent part of the Oktoberfest, hosted in the Schützenzelt.

Since 2022, the Oktoberfest Shooting Competition, along with the Oktoberfest Crossbow Shooting Competition, has been included in the state list “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Bavaria” by ministerial resolution.

The Shooting Competition

Until 1933, the Bavarian Zimmerstutzen Association existed. As part of the coordination of sports clubs, it was dissolved, and in 1950, the BSSB – Bavarian Sports Shooting Association was founded. The Oktoberfest Shooting Competition was established by the BSSB in 1950 after World War II.

Initially, shooting was done with Zimmerstutzen until the 1970s, then a shift to modern firearms such as air rifles, air pistols, and crossbow shooting took place. In 2023, two honorary discs were shot for the House of Wittelsbach. On the occasion of the wedding of Prince Ludwig of Bavaria and Princess Sophie-Alexandra of Bavaria, a festival disc was shot in honor of the bridal couple. Also, a festival disc was dedicated to the patron S.K.H. Duke Franz of Bavaria on the occasion of his 90th birthday, and a personal honorary disc was dedicated to the late state honorary member Manfred Lange of the Bavarian Sports Shooting Association, who passed away in April of this year. The award ceremony for the state shooting kings took place on the last day of Oktoberfest.

This year, 3,718 state shooters participated. Guest shooters can book shooting along with table reservations and receive a certificate. This certificate is brought to the table of the guest shooters and personally handed over. In 2022, there were 2,640 state shooters, and before the pandemic, there were 3,800 to 4,000 participating state shooters. One year before the attack, there were even over 5,000 participating shooters.

Anyone who is a member of a shooting club and organized under the Bavarian Sports Shooting Association can participate. Then, the shooters can register here, pay the entry fees, take the discs, and shoot at them. Clubs that are further away from the district, for example, from Franconia, Swabia, or Lower Bavaria, organize themselves and charter buses, arriving well-organized with many shooters on the Wies’n. The sports equipment comes through two entrances, so-called locks, which are controlled, and then the shooters come directly to the Schützenzelt. The clubs usually organize tables through the BSSB office, and if the shooters want to enjoy a beer and a chicken after shooting, the sports equipment is stored and locked under supervision until the shooters leave the premises through the locks with their sports equipment. If you just want to go to the shooting range, you have to make sure to get a reserved table. During the day, it might be possible without a reservation, but in the evenings and on weekends, it is advisable to have a table firmly organized.

1. State Shooting Master Christian Kühn

Christian Kühn has been shooting since he was 17 years old and still does. For 35 years, Christian Kühn has been an active sports shooter in the disciplines of air rifle and air pistol, shooting Zimmerstutzen only 1-2 times a year. Christian Kühn was treasurer in the Munich Solln section for 10 years. Today, there is only one section, and Christian Kühn is still the treasurer at SV Edelweiß Solln in Munich. For several years, he was an auditor when Wolfgang King was looking for a 2nd shooting master in 2008. In June 2019, Wolfgang King announced that he would no longer run for election. So, Christian Kühn became the 2nd state shooting master in 2008 and was elected from the 2nd to the 1st state shooting master in 2011.

The opening of the state shooting on the Wies’n is not a routine matter. “Stage fright is always present, and that’s a good thing!” Christian Kühn tells me. The atmosphere is very festive, everyone wears traditional costumes, and each individual strives to work in a way that ensures a smooth process. Many volunteers work diligently during the state shooting. It always looks straightforward, and that’s what distinguishes the hardworking people. The trainers who instruct, train, and supervise the guests during the state shooting must have the appropriate qualifications, expertise, and training. This experienced team consists of experienced male and female shooters who could better support the guest shooting than this elite team. Beyond this qualification, a lot of equipment needs to be delivered and installed. The perfect organization on the shooting ranges and in the Schützenzelt is carried out by several teams. These teams have been playing together and coordinating for many years, ensuring a smooth process of the state and guest shooting.

Christian Kühn takes care of the well-being of the shooters, ensuring that everything is fun and everything fits. Christian Kühn welcomes the honored guests from the city of Munich, politics, and sports and shooting associations. When clubs and districts are present, they exchange ideas. Bavarian traditional togetherness and coziness are extremely important, and now I wish all shooters and, of course, the youth who receive a chicken again, “Good shot, a great time at the Wies’n,” and all the best.


Abböllern der Wies’n

At the end of this unique event in Germany, there is the “Abböllern der Wies’n.” It was a dreamlike event without incidents. Political honored guests such as Hubert Aiwanger, Dr. Florian Hermann from the State Chancellery, and Mrs. Verena Diedl participate in the award ceremony.

The new state shooting kings of Bavaria are announced.

The new state marksmen kings of Bavaria were proclaimed at the Oktoberfest State Shooting 2023. The largest, regularly held free shooting event in the world took place over twelve days with a total of 80 shooting ranges and a variety of attractive prizes in the shooting festival tent. With great success, 3,781 marksmen demonstrated their marksmanship skills and competed for the title of state marksman king. The competition included shooting with air rifles, air pistols, and in the youth category.

As the grand finale of the Oktoberfest State Shooting 2023, the 1st State Marksman Master Christian Kühn announced the new state marksmen kings on German Unity Day, at the foot of the Bavaria statue, in front of tens of thousands of spectators, accompanied by music, gunfire, and salutes.

The State Marksman King with the Air Rifle 2023

Thomas Miesgang with a 13.1-divider from the Traunwalchen Shooting Guild e.V. (Upper Bavaria)

Thomas Miesgang has been a sports marksman for 42 years. He has previously held the title of district marksman king and has been a multiple-time marksman king at the club level. Currently, he serves as the acting marksman king in the association. With a 14.3-divider, Johannes Mayer from the Thannhausen Shooting Club 1881 e.V. (Swabia) is the State Vice Marksman King in Air Rifle. A shooter since 2012, he has previously been the youth marksman king in the club.

The State Youth Marksman King 2023:

Michael Werthmann with a 12.1-divider from the Royal Private Fire Marksmanship Society Kösching (Upper Bavaria)

Michael Werthmann has been a sports marksman for seven years. He has been the marksman king at the club level with the light rifle. He is a cadre member and serves as the youth spokesperson in his marksman society. With a 29.1-divider, Lukas Götzfried from the Saal an der Donau Shooting Society 1882 e.V. (Upper Palatinate) is the State Vice Youth Marksman King in Air Rifle. A marksman since 2019, he is currently the acting vice marksman king in his home club.

The State Marksman King with the Air Pistol 2023:

Tobias Trauner with a 20.0-divider from the 1898 Alpenrose Marksmen of the Achsheim Sports Club e.V. (Swabia)

Tobias Trauner has been a sports marksman for only a year, and the State Marksman King is his first marksman king title. He is actively involved in voluntary work as the club exercise leader, among other roles, in youth work.

With a 48.1-divider, Udo Hallmann from the “Edelweiß” Prutting Shooting Society e.V. (Upper Bavaria) is the State Vice Marksman King with the Air Pistol. A marksman for 41 years, Udo Hallmann is also actively involved in voluntary work, currently serving as the 1st marksman master of his shooting society. He has been awarded the marksman king title at the club level multiple times, including the current title.

The new state marksmen kings share their reign with three other marksmen kings who had already taken their king’s shots before or parallel to the Oktoberfest State Shooting.

The State Marksman King Traditional Weapons 2023:

Klausjürgen Jung with an 862.0-divider on the king’s target, shot with the fire blunderbuss at 100 meters already a week before the start of the Oktoberfest at the shooting range of his home club, the Royal Private Fire Marksmanship Society “Der Bund” Munich. The crown he achieved in his home game is a special highlight in his over 30-year marksman career for the multiple-time club marksman king, district marksman king, and district champion.

The State Marksman King with the Crossbow 2023:

Michael Haid Jr. from the Crossbow Marksmen Guild Fähnlein Rechberg in the Frundsberg Festring Mindelheim e.V., with 255 points, shot on the Theresienwiese at the target shooting range and additionally under the bird tree in Lochhausen. While Mr. Haid Jr. achieves the marksman king title for the first time, the State Crossbow Marksman King title goes to Mindelheim for the second consecutive time thanks to his success.

The Federal Marksman King 2023 of the Mountain Marksmen:

Anton Fichtl from the Mountain Marksmen Company Schliersee-Agatharied with a 256.7-divider, shot at the Federal Shooting of the Bavarian Mountain Marksmen Companies. In addition to his affiliation with the mountain marksmen company Schliersee-Agatharied, Anton Fichtl is also a member of several marksmen clubs. He serves as the 1st marksman master of the Old Marksmen Society Hausham.

The state marksmen kings and the federal marksman king now represent the marksmen culture of Bavaria for a year. 1st State Marksman Master Christian Kühn stated, “You stand for our volunteer work and our sport, but also for our marksmen culture as a whole. For this, I congratulate you and thank you at the same time.” After the proclamation of the state marksmen kings, the traditional “Abböllern der Wiesn” (shooting farewell to the Oktoberfest) marked the end of the Munich Oktoberfest 2023. The salute and gunfire were not only a thank you to all who participated in the Oktoberfest State Shooting but also a joyful anticipation of the next year.

Sincerely, Yours Susanne

Text and images Copyright by Susanne Panhans

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