Mess Hall Returns to Camp Perry

For the first time in several years, the National Matches at Camp Perry will feature a mess hall for competitors. The Shooter’s Mess Hall will be managed by WP Catering and will offer a breakfast buffet and boxed lunches.

WP Catering owner, Mike Miller, owned the popular but now-closed Waldo Peppers restaurant in Port Clinton, Ohio, for several years. He is a longtime caterer for the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP).

“I’ve been catering for CMP for 12 years,” Miller said. “I catered for the NRA when they were there, for the junior nationals at Gary Anderson, and for volunteer lunches.”

The perimeter walls were titled and put in place when the original Camp Perry Mess Hall was built in 1909.

The breakfast buffet will feature eggs, breakfast meats, breakfast breads, hashbrowns and drinks. The Shooter’s Mess will offer boxed lunches of cold-cut sandwiches or salads. Breakfast customers are welcome to dine in, but lunches are pickup only. Miller chose lunch options that will remain fresh during the competitions.

“They can pick them up and take them out to the range, and they’ll still be stable to have out there,” he said.

Soldiers assembling at the Mess Hall at Camp Perry (1915).

Shooter’s Mess customers must preorder meals the day prior. Preorders must be made in person at the Shooter’s Mess, which is located in building 2607. Preordering will give Miller much-needed feedback for next year’s mess hall menu.

“We are trying to meet the customers in person so we can know their likes and dislikes,” Miller said.

Miller’s desire to connect with his customers mirrors the history of mess hall at Camp Perry, where generations of soldiers could pause from their service to enjoy a quick meal and the camaraderie of other service personnel. When Camp Perry’s first mess hall was completed in 1909, it was considered an architectural wonder. The mess hall and a commissary storage building were erected with a revolutionary, tilt-up construction technique created by Robert Aiken, an architect-contractor from Illinois. Concrete walls were prefabricated and tilted up into place with jackscrews.

Prior to the 1998 National Matches, the Mess Hall was damaged and the structure was eventually torn down.

During World War II, Camp Perry served as a prisoner of war camp. German and Italian prisoners housed at the camp lived in relatively comfortable conditions with unexpected privileges, such as access to a canteen. Some of the prisoners worked in the mess hall, where they were supplied with ingredients to cook their native foods.

The architecturally significant 1909 mess hall was damaged by a F2 tornado just weeks before the 1998 National Matches Opening Shot Ceremony. The structure was eventually torn down, but the commissary storage building, now called Building 2009, still stands and was recently refurbished.

Competitors enjoy a meal at the Mess Hall (1910-1920).

Now Miller and CMP are embarking on a new era of mess hall history at this year’s National Matches. Miller said he is limiting Shooter’s Mess hours this year but may expand them in the future.

“We’ll only have breakfast and lunch the first year so we can get our feet wet,” he said.

The Shooter’s Mess will be open July 7 – Aug. 5 during the times listed below. Times are subject to change.

July 7th 8 a.m.- noon

July 8th 7a.m.- noon

July 9th 6 a.m.- noon

July 10th 6 a.m.- noon

July 11th 6 a.m.- noon

July 12th 6 a.m.- noon

July 13th 6 a.m.- noon

July 14th 6 a.m.- noon

July 15th 6:30 a.m.- noon

July 16th 7 a.m.- noon

July 17th 6:15 a.m.- noon

July 18th 6:45 a.m.- noon

July 19th 6:45 a.m.- noon

July 20th 6:45 a.m.- noon

July 21st 7 a.m.- noon

July 22nd 6 a.m.- noon

July 23rd 6 a.m.- noon

July 24th 5:30 a.m.- noon

July 25th 5:30 a.m.- noon

July 26th 5:00 a.m.- noon

July 27th 4:30 a.m.- noon

July 28th 4:30 a.m.- noon

July 29th 4:30 a.m.- noon

July 30th 4:30 a.m.- noon

July 31st 8 a.m.- noon

Aug 1st 7:45 a.m.- noon

Aug 2nd 7:45 a.m.- noon

Aug 3rd 7:45 a.m.- noon

Aug 4th 7:45 a.m.- noon

Aug 5th 6:45 a.m.- noon

The Civilian Marksmanship Program is a federally chartered 501 (c) (3) non-profit corporation. It is dedicated to firearm safety and marksmanship training and to the promotion of marksmanship competition for citizens of the United States. For more information about the CMP and its programs, log onto

The post Mess Hall Returns to Camp Perry appeared first on