Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Man of Steel - Part One

Driving South to just South of Portland Oregon was uneventful, just as I like it. The weather was a little showery, but only in spots, so it was mostly not too bad of conditions for driving. We arrived at the Tri-Counties Gun club range mid-afternoon on Saturday and parked the land yacht in our favorite spot, barely a hundred feet from the match location.

The weather looked a bit threatening, but not too bad, so I grabbed my ears, mags, and gun case and walked to the far end of the pistol bays for a little practice. They open the stages for practice the afternoon before the match. That way you can get a feel for the range and make sure your gun is still sighted in and ready to go. There was some standing water in some of the bays, so I could see they'd got some pretty good rain earlier.

I shot a few magazines at each stage, then moved to the next stage, and so on. I was at the stage just across the driveway from our land yacht when it started to rain. Then it started to REALLY rain, and the wind started blowing. In minutes it changed from almost completely calm and shirt sleeve weather to 65 mph gusting wind, sheets of heavy torrential rain and hail. I was standing under the tent/shelter and hail filled walls of water were coming in horizontally. There was no place to get out of the rain since it was traveling horizontally!

In barely two minutes I went from being dry to being thoroughly soaked to the skin and both shoes were full of water. It was like standing under a waterfall. One tree blew down over the road. I decided to run to the RV and get some shelter. By now tree branches and leaves were swirling around in the air and falling to the ground around the area. The RV was parked right along side of a 40 foot shipping container, so we had a bit of shelter from the wind. Once in the RV I put on some dry clothes and had a cup of coffee with KeeWee, who had been watching the whole thing through the RV's picture window.

Shortly thereafter, the rain stopped, the wind stopped, and the clouds opened to a partly cloudy blue sky and pleasant shirt sleeve weather! The whole thing, from start to finish probably didn't last a full hour! WHEW!

After the weather settled down I walked back to the pistol bays and shot the last two stages a couple of times so I would have them sort of familiar, come match time. By now it was starting to get dark, so we turned in for the night, since the next day was going to be a long one, eight stages of steel, then a long drive home.

The next morning we were up early, got some breakfast, got signed in, squadded up, and headed out to the first stage of the day. It was REALLY foggy!

This old guy kept wandering into the pictures.

Pistol Caliber Carbine class.

"Steel Presidente" Double tap all three plates as fast as you can. It's harder than it looks!

This one, "4 T 5" was what you might call a "Survival" stage. Just get through it without any major time loss. You shoot the four rectangular plates from the first box, re-load and move to the second box, re-shoot the rectangles, then shoot the round stop plate. Nine shots, if you don't miss, plus a moving re-load.

Pistol Caliber Carbine class again, plus our primary Zombie Shooter, if any Zombies show up.....

This old guy kept showing up in the pictures. Probably some local vagrant or something. Is that a paint ball gun? Very cool sight mount, though!

This young lady was a relatively new shooter, and she did just fine!

A little Steel Shootin' action!

Another unusual stage, "Triple Your Pleasure". One shot on the left plate, three on the middle plate, and one on the right stop plate.

"Speed Option", although slightly modified to change it up a bit. It's 35 yards to the rectangular stop plate. You MUST aim on this one!

"Drag Strip" The stop plate is the top plate. Only 8 yards, but still easy to miss when you hurry!

We finally found a job for the old guy. We figured he probably couldn't hurt himself with the spray cans, so we let him repaint the plates after each shooter.

We all had a grand time shooting the match. The weather cleared off and it was just right for shooting, not too hot, not too cold, and not raining. PERFECT! Even with eight stages it seemed like it was over far too soon. I packed everything back into the RV, and KeeWee and I had a cold soda for refreshment as we awaited the results to come out. As we were sitting there in the sun having our soda, one of the shooters from our squad walked by and said "There's a side match going on, and you need to go get your gun!?" More shooting? OK, if you insist! I walked back and picked up the gun case, some ammo, and some magazines. The match was very simple. There were three rectangular plates and perhaps ten yards. One on the extreme left, one in the center, and one on the extreme right. The course of fire was to double-tap all three plates, shooting the center one last. That meant swing hard to one side, double -tap, swing hard to the other side, double-tap, then back to the center for the third double-tap. There would be a prize for the single fastest time in each class, so you could throw out two bad runs trying for a fast time. When I was called to the line I was really starting to get tired after a full day of shooting, but adrenaline can be amazing. The buzzer went off, and I took my six shots. 2.27 seconds, the timer announced. Not too bad, I thought. Now to try and crank it up a bit! Second run was terrible ugly! Third run, better, but slower than the first run. For the time being that put me in first place in rimfire class. Second was a 2.29. Fortunately those times held up, and I ended up winning a very nice BenchMade pocket knife.

After the side match we walked over to the tent where the results were going to be announced. After a few minutes visiting with folks, exchanging email addresses and so forth, the results sheets were handed out. I knew I had shot some fast runs, but I had also had some that were best forgotten. I was surprised to see my times had been just good enough to squeak out the win in rimfire open class! WOO HOO!! I not only won a really nice plaque, I also won another beautiful BenchMade pocket knife of a different design.

I can't say enough about what a fantastic job Nick and Ryan Leonard did putting on the Man of
Steel Championships. Everything was smooth and organized, and we couldn't have had a better day. Great job, and a big "Thanks!" to Nick, Ryan, and all the folks who helped to make this match happen.

It had been a really fun day, but we still faced a long drive home, so shortly after the trophy presentations we climbed back into our land-yacht for the drive home. Again, it was a fairly uneventful drive back, although that's just how I like it.

-- End of Part One --

All photo credits to KeeWee.

I've got some video from the match, and I'll try to get some of them posted shortly.

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