Inter-Club Challenge Match Report
Every year the three gun clubs on Whidbey Island, the Oak Harbor Sportsmen, The Central Whidbey Sportsmen, and the Homes Harbor Rod & Gun Club, have an inter-club match for bragging rights for the year. Each club fields a four man team. Each year a different club hosts the match, and the host usually picks a match format that favors the type of handgun shooting done in their club. Usually the host club ends up the winner!
This year's host was Holmes Harbor, and they shoot a lot of long distance silhouette and target matches. Central Whidbey and Oak Harbor pretty much are action pistol clubs, and never shoot this sort of match at all. Needless to say, Holmes Harbor had a big advantage, but our Central Whidbey team was not going to go down without a fight! We had Evil Al, who's always one of our best shooters regardless of the type of match, Big Joe, who has done some bullseye shooting in the past and is an excellent shooter, Lou G. who has also done some long distance hand-gunning and has his very own Thompson Contender. Ah yes, but it's a FOUR man team! Filling in the 'Four Spot' was yours truly! (Boy, they must have been desperate!) I had never even fired a Thompson Contender, nor had I even tried to hit anything with a handgun beyond 50 yards! 100 yards is a REALLY long ways away, hard enough off a sand bag, but no, this had to be shot unsupported. Once again, Mr. C. is in WAY over his head!
The week before the match I got a chance to shoot maybe a dozen rounds through Lou's Contender just to see what it shot like. Since I am somewhat used to shooting from a modified 'Taco' hold, it didn't feel entirely strange, although having a sight with magnification was going to take some getting used to! At first I had the magnification turned up too high, and I couldn't even hold it steady enough to find the dang target at all! After turning it down to 3x, it was a lot better, but still challenging.
Even reloading it was something new to me, as you have to pull the trigger guard down to release the latch, then it breaks open like a shotgun.
Evil Al shooting with Big Joe spotting, and an Oak Harbor shooter in the background.
We were allowed to have a spotter watching our shots and reporting where each shot had hit. That gave me a chance to make adjustments from shot to shot, and learn to shoot the pistol in the match as I went along, sort of.......
Joe was shooting extremely well, and Al was also doing a good job. Lou was shooting some decent shots. At 50 yards I actually was one point above Al's total, but as the targets were set farther out, reality set in! The gang from Holmes Harbor, however, were already starting to run away with it.
At 75 yards Joe continued to shoot well, and so did Al. Lou had some problems at that distance, and I managed to improve a bit over my score at 50 yards! After the second round Holmes Harbor had pulled so far ahead that they almost could have skipped the final distance! Oak Harbor was doing their best, but they were solidly in third.
The final distance was 100 yards. My goal was to try to keep as many as possible on the paper, and hope for a few lucky scoring shots. This was clearly way beyond any distance where I had much confidence of even hitting the target, but I managed to only 'lose' two or three, and the rest were on the paper. WOOO HOOO! I was amazed! Joe and Al again shot decent scores, and Lou had sorted out the problems that had plagued m at 75 yards, and shot decently too.
When the team scores were added up, to no one's surprise Holmes Harbor had won it all by a big margin. Central Whidbey had turned in a solid performance beating out Oak Harbor. Last year Oak Harbor had won the Club Challenge. I had scored well enough to place 7th. out of the 12 shooters. More importantly, I had a whole bunch of fun trying out a new facet of handgun competition.
After the match we all headed to the Holmes Harbor clubhouse for burgers, baked beans, salad and refreshments. Over lunch we all discussed the match and decided that for next year we would incorporate three different events, with each event similar to matches shot at one of the individual clubs. Maybe targets at 50 yards, falling plates, a steel challenge or Glock GSSF stage, hard to say this early, but it sounds like it could be three times as much fun, and really close competition, too!
I can hardly wait until next year!
Hope I can make the team........
Thanks to KeeWee for the great photos, and for providing moral support for the CWSA team!