Wednesday, April 08, 2009

European Steel Challenge News

It's taking a lot of time to track down all the information and forms and so forth to get everything in order so I can take my race guns to Holland for the European Steel Challenge Championships.

If you are taking guns, or anything else with serial numbers on it out of the US, it's a really good idea (and pretty much required with guns) to take the items to a Customs office and have them fill out and stamp a 4457 Certificate of Registration form. The form doesn't establish you as the owner, but it establishes that you had the items in your possession in the US. That keeps Customs from trying to collect duty on your stuff when you come back into the country.

Holland seems pretty straight-forward. You fill out a form for each gun and fax it to the Custom's Office in Holland, along with passport info, your match registration, and travel dates and times. This way, hopefully, they can have everything checked over well before you arrive.

TSA also has their own set of rules to regulate getting on the plane, but they are pretty straight-forward. I have found the TSA people to be OK to deal with so far in my travels. The only problem I have ever had was with a ticket Agent at Alaska Airlines in Burbank, coming back from the World Championships las Summer. It was clear from her opening statements that she did not like anyone not of her color or gender, and if you failed on both counts and were trying to travel with firearms, she would go out of her way to make life miserable by making up rules of her own on the spot. Finally she summoned a TSA agent. I could see he was about fed up with her too. He inspected my case and race guns and told her everything was as it should be. The TSA guy was pleasant, courteous, and professional, the complete opposite of the ticket agent.

We've got our tickets purchased and hotels lined up for the Holland adventure. We arrive at 7:40am Amsterdam time, and will catch a 20 minute train ride from the airport to the train station in Amsterdam. From there it's either a three or four block walk to the hotel, or a short tram ride. We will have the rest of the day to have a look around Amsterdam. The next morning we meet up with some shooters in Amsterdam and ride with them out to Winterswijk, about a two hour drive. It's a three day match and I shoot on the second day, so I will miss part of the match early on Friday, the first day. I should still get a chance to watch some of the shooters in the afternoon of the first day and listen to the range commands a bit. It will be in English, but I'm sure the Dutch R/O's will have a bit of an accent!

Hopefully by Saturday I will be somewhat "Un-jetlagged", as Saturday morning I will be shooting the match. After the match KeeWee and I will be able to do a little sight-seeing in Winterswijk. We will probably get in a little more sight-seeing on Sunday, depending on the match schedule. Monday morning we travel back to Amsterdam, and do a little more sight-seeing. The next morning we board our return flight.

With a little luck this should be a great trip, even if we don't have the time (or money) to really spend much time in Europe.



At Wednesday, April 08, 2009 12:57:00 PM, Blogger Manfred said...

I will probably be in Philippines at that time, too bad :-(

I am not sure I'll be back to meet you and Keewee.

At Thursday, April 09, 2009 1:02:00 AM, Blogger James R. Rummel said...

am green with envy. Sounds like a great trip!


At Friday, April 10, 2009 10:58:00 AM, Blogger NotClauswitz said...

Amsterdam is a fine city! Don't drink too much at the Heiniken factory, but if you do there's a bit of grass by the canal across the street to take a nap upon. :-)
And watch out for gypsy pickpockets from Italy.

At Monday, April 13, 2009 10:25:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I fly in the US just about monthly and almost always carry a pistol. Of course that means you have to check baggage which often costs another 15-25 bucks plus wait for baggage if it's not lost. In Seattle the agents always act like they've never seen a gun before and don't know what to do so make a big fuss about it. However, coming back from Austin with a pistol last month was more routine than ordering a drink in a bar. Love them Texans!


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