2022 Reflections:
A 2022 Pictorial End of Year Essay


Bobby Tyler of Tyler Gun Works in his showroom with some fine scatter guns.

The year 2022 ended in a blur of activity for me. The beginning of October found me in the Texas panhandle visiting Bobby Tyler of Tyler Gun Works to see his operation firsthand and squeeze in an antelope hunt.

Flying into Amarillo was uneventful with Bobby picking me up at the airport. From there, we drove through Deaf Smith County and Hereford — the Beef Capital of the World. For Skeeter fans, you know the significance of these places. Corny as it sounds, I got a lump in my throat thinking of all the stories I read about this area from Skeeter. Then, it was on to Friona — home of Tyler Gun Works.

TGW Shop

Seeing Bobby’s shop was no surprise. It’s a flurry of activity, much like a beehive. Inside is the shop itself where guns are given facelifts, accurized, stylized and made worthy of the Tyler Gun Works roll mark. The shop also houses the finishing room where those trademark TGW color case finishes are applied to both factory and customers guns. There’s also a large selection of used guns, complete with showroom, for customer perusal. While I was there, there was a steady flow of people coming in to pick up guns they had purchased.

Guns beautified by Tyler Gun Works.

Cover boy Bobby Tyler with the same gun used in the photograph.

The Hunt

Jason Cloessner, the vice president of product design at Lipsey’s, and his son, Evan, flew in from Louisiana to join us on a hunt. Evan scored first, making a beautiful shot on his goat with a lightweight Barret bolt-action rifle chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor. I was up next, taking my goat with a borrowed vintage 1905 1886 .45-70 rifle Bobby acquired from a mutual friend.

After a hectic chase/stalk we anchored the weird, wide-horned goat. It was a great day full of wonderful memories. Bobby was kind enough to let me purchase the gun after blooding it, and for that I am grateful. It proudly sets in a rack with my other lever guns.

Tank, Bobby and Jason Cloessner of Lipsey’s with the antelope taken with a vintage 1905 1886 .45-70.

Nick and Marcia’s cabin is a beautiful place indeed!

Yuengling Hershey Porter combines two of Pennsylvania’s finest resources
along with Red Hot Sweet Chili sauce, it is delicious and a new staple.

Ohio Hunt

Next up, my friend Nick Rukavina invited me to deer hunt the rolling hills of Ohio. He and his wife, Marcia, have a cozy cabin, shared with two great dogs. While I didn’t get my buck, it was a wonderful hunt in a cozy cabin with a warmth not only fueled by the wood stove, but the hospitality of Nick and Marcia.

Whenever traveling I enjoy picking up hints or habits of my hosts to remind me of the pleasantries experienced. This occasion exposed me to some new favorites, Yuengling Porter beer with Hershey’s chocolate and Red Hot Sweet Chili sauce. The chili sauce is the perfect condiment for chili and the beer a fine way to end a hunt in front of the wood stove. I’ve stocked up on both.

Pull ups on the rope for style.

Patrol formation and small arms explanation.

The happy graduate with my daughter Samantha.

Ranger Graduation

9 December 2022 saw me at Ft. Benning, Georgia witnessing Ranger class 1-23 graduate. My interest stemmed from my daughter’s boyfriend’s successful completion of the grueling course. I know our generation grumbles and moans about the latest generation, but witnessing these wonderfully patriotic men giving it their all to accomplish completing this tough program gave me hope and pride such people still exist.

I couldn’t be prouder of these two young adults as they are both giving it their all to be responsible, successful adults. It was amazing seeing how much my daughter’s boyfriend could eat and sleep after graduation. Going over 80+ days on 30 minutes to 3 hours sleep a night while pushing yourself to the limits with a minimal amount of food (MREs) really taxes the body’s system.

Graduation was complete with zip lining, rappelling, C4 explosives, patrol tactics, hand-to-hand combat and small weapons demonstrations. It made you proud experiencing such devotion and dedication by our young soldiers. I’m mighty proud indeed!

Christmas eve dinner was nice! Tis’ the season …

Samantha and Aaron at Filomena’s.

Maisie moose, one of our rescue mutt’s keeping guard of the house.

Christmas Eve

Christmas is always big in our household. My wife is a Christmas fanatic, and having my daughter come home from Veterinary School is always the highlight. Her recent Ranger School graduate came with her, and I was genuinely impressed watching him continue to eat, trying to regain weight he lost in Ranger School. We had a wonderful Christmas Eve meal at a favorite local restaurant and unwound at home, waiting for Santa.

About sums it up …

Turning 60 …

My birthday is Dec. 26, and this year was a big one. How I managed to turn 60 is beyond me. It just happened. We celebrated in style, continuing from Christmas Day and had a scrumptious dinner at Filomena’s — a fancy Italian restaurant downtown D.C.

They really deck their place out for Christmas and the food is to die for. As a matter of fact, my daughter’s boyfriend said he was craving it while in Ranger school from last year’s meal. Now there’s an endorsement!

Beauty and the Beast

Wedding Anniversary

As you can see, December is a busy month with Christmas, my birthday and wedding anniversary within 5 days of each other. This marks number 33 for us. How she’s managed to put up with my shenanigans is beyond me! I’m truly blessed to be married to Camille and would do it over in a heartbeat.

People ask how we manage to do it and it’s simple really. Neither one of us are quitters and we both know marriage is between two imperfect people and you need to be willing to compromise.

After we married, my wife told me I’d make all the big decisions and she’d make all the small ones. When people ask how you determine what’s a big or small decision, I’m honest. I say my wife lets me know …

I hope 2023 is a prosperous and great New Year for all of you and you enjoyed a peak into my end of year activities.

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