Kitsap Steel Match/Mud & Rain Festival
As I've been a bit under the weather for the last five or six weeks, I haven't been getting in any shooting, so I was wondering just how rusty I was going to be when I got over to the Kitsap steel match. KeeWee, seeing that the weather forecast called for a lot of rain, decided to stay home and stay dry. Probably wise! The two ferry boat rides and the drive over to the KRRC range was uneventful, but gray and rainy most of the way. Fortunately the ferries were close to being on schedule, and I arrived just before the shooter's meeting got underway.
The regular monthly KRRC steel matches are six stages long, with some Steel Challenge layouts, some similar to Steel Challenge, and usually a couple of John's special "Creative/Evil" stages. Imagine four round plates, each partially overlapping the 18" x 24" stop plate. Since everything is really close together you have to shoot it fast, but a miss may well hit the stop plate, adding three seconds penalty for any of the four plates you hadn't hit yet! Actually, it was a fun stage to shoot. The temptation is to shoot it as fast as you can go, trying to shave off that extra few tenths of a second. There's a good lesson here for new steel shooters, though. You are always better off to slow down just a little and shoot it without any penalties since slowing down a little on a very fast stage will cost you very little in overall time. However, letting it all hang out for that super fast time and ending up taking some penalties is the exact opposite of what you want! In short, don't take high risks when the benefit is small.
By the time we got underway, the rain had increased a bit, and it steadily rained harder and harder as the day went on. The weather guys say that this is a "Pineapple Express" rain storm, which is why it was really raining, but not all that cold. Fortunately there was no wind, or the wind chill would have made it miserable. There was some shelter at each stage, so we could stay out of the rain most of the time. By the end of the day we were soaked to the skin, though.
It really felt great to get back out and do some shooting. Most of the regular gang was there, and I hadn't seen most of them for a couple of months, so that was good, too. Considering the time of year and the weather, we had a pretty good turnout, with 32 entries. I saw Brian there, from Liberty News blog, but didn't get a chance to visit as we were in different squads.
After the match some of us usually go get some lunch and socialize a bit, but since I was soaked and starting to get cold, and it would soon be getting dark, I opted to get on the road headed home and try to get in as much of the drive as possible before dark. I expected some parts of the drive to be "White Knuckle" anyway due to the rain, and they definitely were all of that! It takes me about 3 hours to get home from KRRC under normal conditions, and I figured the weather was going to add a bit to that. It took me only an extra half hour, and that wasn't bad considering the conditions. I was glad to be home, but it had been a fun day!
If you are interested in who was there or the scores, KRRC has the results posted here.
Thanks to John D. for putting on the match, and keeping steel shooting growing i n Western Washington.
Great Job, John, we really appreciate your work, even if it did rain!