2015 Montana State Steel Championships
It was barely a week ago when I found out that there was going to be a Montana state steel championships held in Boulder Montana this last weekend. Boulder is located in the Boulder River Valley half way between Helena and Butte Montana. I checked Google maps and from Whidbey Island to Boulder Montana was only about 11 1/2 hours each way. That is, if traffic isn't too bad! Fortunately, my beat up old Honda civic is in pretty good shape and I had just put new front tires on it, and it gets an honest 33 to 35 miles per gallon. I made a few phone calls to some of the guys in Montana to get more details about the upcoming match. I located an economical motel in Boulder that was very basic but clean and had everything I needed, including a bed that is what that was much better than what I had expected at that price.
I got my entry forms entered through practicscore, loaded some 9 mm ammunition for myTanfoglio, and got set to hit the road early last Thursday morning. I caught the 4:40 AM ferry and was on the road bright and early and before most of the heavy traffic plugged everything up. Through Eastern Washington, northern Idaho, and across Montana it was miserably hot driving, since the air-conditioning no longer works on my Honda. All that it really needs is to be recharged, but the refrigerant that it uses is no longer permitted so to get the air-conditioning to work again it costs 3 or $400 dollars. God save that ozone you know!
I arrived without incident in Boulder about 5:30 Thursday afternoon and got checked in to the motel. Fortunately, the air-conditioning in the motel room worked just fine so I cranked it up and crashed! Friday morning I went out to the range and helped the gang with match set up. After set up, I headed back to the motel, grabbed a hamburger at the burger joint next door, and hit the sack early, as I was still pretty worn out!
Friday evening the temperature dropped a bunch, and it even clouded up and rained. Saturday morning it was partly cloudy and much cooler.
|Looking towards the freeway from downtown Boulder Montana.|
|The O-Z Motel 6 in Boulder Montana. that's my little Honda Civic parked in front of my room.|
|Looking the other way in downtown Boulder.|
The match itself was a good one, very well run, and a bunch of fun to shoot! My first 2 stages were a bit ragged, as I think I was still in something of a sleep deprived mode. Fortunately, once some adrenaline kicked in, I started to shoot a bit more normally, and I finished the day with 4 good stages. halfway through the match, we broke for lunch, and it was one of the best match lunches I have ever had! Granted, I saved it and ate my lunch after the match was over, but it was still very tasty. I am not quite sure what you call it, but it was perhaps a flat piece of deep-fried bread with sort of a taco chili meat sauce, lettuce, tomatoes,cheese, salsa, and sour cream on top. It was prepared by volunteers from the Semper FI Fund auxiliary.
|1st Place in rimfire!|
|Centerfire, 7th place overall.|
Just as the match was winding down and we were finishing up our last stage it clouded up even more and a thunder shower came over us dropping some rain. fortunately it was a fairly small cell, and it blew over quickly, so the rain was not much of a problem. It did, however, cool things off a bit, and the temperature, at least for me, was quite pleasant.
After the last stages had been shot we all pitched in and broke the stages down so the stands steel and so forth could all be put back into storage for next time.
Since most of the people at this match I had never met before nor had I shot with them before, so I had no idea how my scores would stack up overall. There were definitely some very good shooters here and the final results bore that out for sure!
After everything was put away we gathered in the picnic lunch area for the awards ceremony. To my surprise, I had come in 1st overall in the rimfire, posting the fastest overall time for the entire match. For the super senior division, trophy-wise, it was decided entirely amongst the center fire divisions, but even so, I was the 2nd super senior overall, not far behind Frank Cook, an old friend who I had not seen in years, who lives in nearby Butte, Montana. Any time I can finish within shouting distance of Frank in open I consider it a good day! That did still put me as the fastest rimfire super senior. They did award centerfire trophies for 1st through 10th place overall, and the new Briley barrel that I put in the Tanfoglio allowed me to shoot well enough to come in 7th overall in centerfire.
After the match was over, I headed back to Boulder, where I had some ice cream, and then hit the sack. Sunday was going to be a very long day!
Sunday morning I was on the road by 5:30 AM, and stopped only for gas on the way back. I picked up a sandwich at a truck stop and ate that as I was on the road. I was really tired, and I wanted to get back home as quickly as possible so I could get some sleep. I'm writing this on Monday morning, and I am still pretty tired! I have a suspicion that there is a nap or so coming up in the very near future!
It was a long drive, everything was put together at the last minute, and at times it got a bit frantic trying to make it all happen, but it was well worth the trip, and I had a great time at the match. The match was very well run, and the Montana guys are some of the nicest shooters ( sometimes funniest, too!) that you could hope to meet! I plan to do my best to come back for next year. It was a blast, except for the driving part, of course!