European Steel Challenge - Part 1
Friday morning bright and early KeeWee and I grabbed an excellent, although horribly expensive breakfast at the Golden Tulip Centre Hotel in Amsterdam. Shortly after breakfast we checked out of our room and headed downstairs to wait outside the hotel for Wim, our designated driver, chaperone, tour guide, and just all around "Cool Dude" to ride out to Winterswijk, where the Steel Challenge Championships will be held. Winterswijk is pronounced approximately vinters - vike, but the Dutch W although pronounced mostly as a V, it has a little of the W still there. It's kind of hard to explain, you have to hear it. Regardless, no matter how hard I tried, I still couldn't get it to sound quite right. Too many years speaking "Americun" I guess.
Looks like most any other gas station, although they have LPG at the pump, and you don't need a key for the restrooms.
A working windmill we saw along the way. Built in 1851, and probably re-built and updated a few times, but still a working windmill.
The clubhouse where the match was held.
It's an interesting facility where the match was held. The upper floor houses a very nice bar, meeting rooms, and a small bore range. The basement is all pistol bays, where the match itself was shot. A huge fan and duct system sucks all the dust, smoke, and lead vapors out of the building.
The Club's bar. Is that Rob at the right end? I have a hard time reconnecting the names and faces, but a great guy, even if I'm not sure of the correct name!
The Golden Tulip Hotel in Winterswijk and the range and clubhouse were only a few minutes walk apart, so we didn't need a car at all. After checking in to our hotel in Winterswijk and checking out the range and clubhouse it was time to get something for dinner. A bunch of the range officers and officials were planning to have dinner together at a Chinese buffet restaurant across the street from the hotel, and they asked us if we'd like to join them. We forgot to take a camera, but the food was good, the conversations excellent, and a grand time was had by all!
After dinner we headed back to the hotel to get some sleep, as 8:45am the next morning was my start time. We had breakfast in the morning with some of the folks we had met last night at dinner, then headed out to the range. Between jet lag and the time zone differences, my body was fully convinced that I should be sound asleep.
A typical stage setup. The distances were the sameas, or even a little longer than the standard Steel Challenge dimensions, but the width was narrowed a bit to fit the range width. The plates were easy to see, but with the noise level, it was hard to hear hits. The tires around the plates keep lead splatter from knocking out the lights.
The night before at dinner we had a lot of fun kidding around, and I suggested that old slow shooters needed a little extra help, particularly on "Outer Limits" where you shoot two plates from one box, then move to a second box to shoot the next two and the stop plate. They suggested they could record my times with a calendar, rather than with the shot timer. Sometimes it feels like that!
When I got to the Outer Limits stage, on of the range officers came over with a hand truck to wheel me around from box to box!
This just might work!
By the time we stopped fooling around we were all laughing so hard it was difficult to focus on the shooting!
Closed stance, feet close together, weight on forward foot for a good push off towards the second box. Right foot pointed in the direction I want to go without looking down. Don't miss!
Keep the gun up, look through the sight for the third plate as you are moving. Three strong steps, weight on rear foot, right foot just inside the box. Shooting off of rear foot, don't shoot over the top of the targets. Push to the stop plate, it's the easiest to hit.
In spite of all the fooling around, Outer Limits turned out to be one of my better stages for the day. My fastest run was 4.03 seconds, which, I think, was the fastest single run on that stage for the match.
-- end of Part 1 --