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New Richmond buck hunter celebrates world championship

Trevor Gartner, an ER nurse at Westfields hospital, takes aim at some virtual deer on a Big Buck Hunter machine in his home bar. Gartner won the Big Buck World Championship in November and used his prize money to build a home bar. (Photo by Micheal Foley)1 / 2
Trevor and Mandy Gartner pose in the home bar they built using money Trevor won from the Big Buck World Championships in November. (Photo by Micheal Foley)2 / 2

A lot of towns in the area post signs at the city limits announcing their high school state championships or famous natives who have gone on to achieve great things.

If the City of New Richmond had such signs, it may consider putting one up for Trevor Gartner, the 2013 Big Buck Hunter world champion.

Gartner’s name was added to the Pappy’s Jug trophy and he was awarded a giant ceremonial check for $15,000 at the Big Buck World Championship event in Chicago in November.

His life has changed a little since then with all the attention he has received from national magazines and other media outlets, including Field and Stream, Men’s Health and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Gartner even filmed a segment for MTV’s Nitro Circus Live recently at the Target Center. There’s no word yet on when the segment might air.

“One of the coolest things is that you can actually Google my name,” Gartner said.

For those unfamiliar with Big Buck Hunter, it’s a popular hunting-themed arcade game in which players shoot bucks and other game for points. Shooting a doe ends the opportunity to earn points on a particular board.

Gartner, an ER nurse at Westfields Hospital, qualified as the three seed for the championships, and defeated 2012 champion Matthew Garver from Houston to take home the big prize.

Household competition

Trevor’s wife Mandy Gartner, an ER nurse at Hudson Hospital, competed in the ladies world championship event the day before and placed 19th as an 11 seed.

Mandy said she was disappointed with her showing this year. She placed eighth in 2011, and sixth last year.

On the flip side, 2013 was the first year Trevor had placed better in the men’s championship than his wife placed in the ladies championship. Trevor managed to place 17th in both 2011 and 2012.

The couple have been trying to one-up each other at Big Buck Hunter since 2008 when they played for the first time at a nursing conference in Madison. The game has a special place in their relationship, and they even rented a Big Buck Hunter machine to play at their wedding at Ready Randy’s last May.

“I am so unbelievably proud of him,” Mandy said.

Sconnie Snipers

The Gartners weren’t alone at the event. Two other members of their New Richmond-area team, which calls itself the Sconnie Snipers, also competed in the event while other teammates, friends and family came along for support. Joe Miller of New Richmond placed 34th and Nate Boyer of Star Prairie placed 19th in the 64-man championship tournament.

Having a team of elite players to practice against and share tactics with helps give the Snipers an edge.

“We like to beat each other, but we help each other out too,” Boyer said. “When we’re playing together, we give each other tips to help each other. We compete hard, but we’re friends. We like to win, but we like to see each other do well, too.”

They also take pride in representing Wisconsin against top teams in Minnesota.

“I’d like to see us do well as a Wisconsin team and take down the Minnesota guys,” Boyer said. “There are a lot of nationally known top players in the Twin Cities area, and we’re trying to take it over a little bit.”

New basement bar

The Gartners took a portion of Trevor’s $15,000 prize money to build a sports bar in their basement, complete with an 8-10 seat tiled bar, 60-inch and 24-inch TVs and, of course, a Big Buck Hunter machine.

The Gartners rented a second machine for a party they held for about 50 friends on Jan. 25, to celebrate Trevor’s championship, Trevor’s birthday and the completion of the home bar. Mandy chipped in by putting together the fancy checker pattern tile bar and painting a city skyline mural.

During the party, friends and fellow Sconnie Snipers took turns on the rented machine while Trevor’s giant ceremonial check for $15,000 hung on the wall beside them as a constant reminder of what they are shooting for.

Micheal Foley
Micheal Foley worked at RiverTown Multimedia from July 2013 to June 2015 as editor at the New Richmond News. 
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