Thursday, August 23, 2007

World Steel Challenge - Part 4

The next stage was called "Smoke & Hope", and I was familiar with it. It is perhaps the easiest of all the stages, but it can fool you as the large plates encourage you to shoot a little faster than you should. The small stop plate is easy to miss, and you need to slow down just a little bit to be sure you hit it. I had three good times, one not too good, and one that sucked, but was thrown out, thank goodness!

Smoke & Hope

After Smoke & Hope was the stage I had been worrying about all day, "Outer Limits". This was the only stage where you had to shoot two plates from one box, then move to the center box and shoot the remaining three plates from there. I had tried this stage a few times in practice, and had nearly fallen down because of the loose footing in the middle box. Right handed shooters had kicked most of the loose brass and dirt to the right side of the center box when they stepped into the box from the left. That put it right where I needed to step when I entered from the right, being left handed. I decided it would be a lot smarter to slow down a bit and be sure of my shots and footing, rather than trying to go faster and having some potentially terrible results if it went wrong.

Outer Limits

Although my times on this stage were nothing to write home about, I hadn't incurred any big penalties either, and it went just as I had planned.

Hawk just leaving the left shooting box.

It was with some sense of relief that I left Outer Limits. Next up was Roundabout, and this was one I had shot a couple of times in the past, so it wasn't totally foreign to me. This was the last stage of the match. I shot five solid runs, nothing spectacular, but not too bad, either, with less that half a second variation. I even drew some applause from the spectators! That was really cool, as I'm more used to wise cracks from the guys I usually shoot with!

Roundabout - Two on each side, with the stop plate in the middle.

For me, the competition part of the match was now over, and even though I was starting to get a bit tired, I also felt like I was just getting warmed up! In some ways I wish I could have re-shot some of the stages, as I was disappointed with how I had done in a couple of them. I knew I could have done better, but this was my first try shooting at the championship level, being primarily a small local club shooter. It was an amazing experience shooting with this squad, and their courtesy, respect, and humor were greatly appreciated. I now know what I need to practice, and hopefully by next year I will be able to return and do a bit better. Now that KeeWee has watched a complete match, she now realizes that she can shoot as well or better than some of the other ladies, and maybe next year there will be TWO entries from Whidbey Island.

I hope this series of posts has allowed you to experience some of what it's like to shoot in a match such as this, as I've tried to share what I was thinking and how I approached the individual challenges, sometimes successfully, and sometimes not. If you got some of the feel of the competition from these posts, then I've been successful. If a club in your area is putting on a steel match, or a steel challenge, why not go give it a try and experience first hand the excitement, the highs, and the lows of steel challenge. You might just find that it's as much fun as I do!

KeeWee and I at the last stage of the day. The match is over for me for the year, but KeeWee seems to think I did OK!

The next day they had the results posted for the rimfire limited and the rimfire open classes, and in rimfire open I had placed 46th. out of 63 shooters. Not exactly the sort of placing that's going to generate any telephone calls from gun manufacturers wanting to sponsor me! None the less, I had a fantastic time of it all, and I can hardly wait until next year!!



At Saturday, August 25, 2007 6:25:00 AM, Blogger The Conservative UAW Guy said...

A great series, Mr. C and KeeWee.
Thanks for sharing it with us. :)


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