Monday, October 28, 2013

Shooting Wire Article on Indiana Championship

Here's the press release about my trip to the Indiana Steel Championships.

Click to embiggificate

I'm kinda proud of it!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Peter Schouwink - Rest In Peace My Friend

The first time I traveled to Holland for the European Steel Challenge Championships (2009) I didn't quite know what to expect. I was happy to find that shooters are shooters, all over the world, and we are all part of one big family.

That first year I emailed Hans Wigger, the match director, and told him that if there were two other shooters not already on a Rimfire Team, I would like to also enter in the team event. Hans said he would take care of it! When I arrived in Winterswijk, Holland, I was totally surprised to see that I had joined Team Dragonballs, along with Hans Wigger, the Match Director, and Peter Schouwink, the Head Referee! WOW!

 I think we came in 4th that year. Not too bad considering that we were all Seniors, shooting against a bunch of younger shooters in the Team event. Team Dragonballs entered every year through this last Springs ESC13 Championships. In 2010 and 2012 we managed a third place and got a trip to the Awards Ceremony platform for our medals.

Hans Wigger, Peter Schouwink, and myself on the Award Platform receiving our 3rd. place medals for the Rimfire Team Event at the 2012 European Steel Challenge Championships in Winterswijk, Holland.

Over the years I got to know both Peter and Hans, and really enjoyed their company. Peter was smart, funny, and eccentric in a fun way.

Earlier this year I got an email from a friend in Holland that Peter had been diagnosed with a rapidly advancing form of terminal cancer, and that he had only a few months to live. I just got another email, and Peter had died a few weeks ago. I guess it's kind of a good thing that he went quickly, rather than going through a long and painful decline with the same result, but somehow that doesn't make me feel much better right now.

Goodbye, my friend, I will miss you in Winterswijk.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Indiana Steel Challenge Mementos

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Kokomo, Atlanta, and Indy State Championships

So, here I am in the Motel 6 in Kokomo, Indiana! Where??? Yup! The last week has been really interesting, and pretty hectic too. KeeWee and I had dinner with our friend Ray a few days before, and he told me about and their name your own price program. I had seen the poster for the Indiana State Steel Championships, and I thought that would be a fun match if I could figure out a way to get there. Probably see a little nice weather rather than the Western Washington rain, too. I ran the travel dates through the usual internet travel places, and the ticket would cost nearly $800! No way could I afford that. I tried the Priceline website, and put in a few possible travel dates and alternate airports, and I offered $275 for the round ticket. With Priceline you pick the date, but they choose the flight time and promise no more than one stop each way, and no more than a three hour layover between flights. They rejected the $275, but to my surprise they counter-offered $313 round trip to Cincinnati, about a 2 1/2 hour drive from Indianapolis. I contacted the match director, verified the match wasn't full, and bought the ticket! Some more research, and I found that Dollar Rent-a-car had some special pricing much cheaper than anyone else, and I reserved a car.

Wednesday morning early I was on the shuttle to the Seattle airport for my flight. It was a one stop in Salt Lake City, then on to Cincinnati, arriving at 11pm. I picked up the rental car, then headed towards Indy, or more specifically, Tipton, which is about 40 minutes North of Indy. I had located a reasonably priced motel in Tipton, which is only five miles from the range. They  promised to leave a key in the mailbox by the office for me. After some GPS navigational screw-ups, I arrived in Tipton at 3am. There was no key in the mailbox, and the office was locked up and dark. There was a phone next to the office door, but it only connected you to their answering machine. I had seen a police officer in his car, parked a few hundred feet away in a nearby parking lot. I walked over to him and told him the situation. He contacted his dispatch, and they contacted the motel person, and she opened the office. She had written down the arrival time wrong, she said. Actually, I'm sure she just forgot about the key. That's the kind of operation that it looked like. I got signed in and went to the room. It was really bad. Dirty towels, stained furniture, the works. I collapsed on the bed and got a few hours of badly needed sleep. After four hours of sleep, I tossed my gear back into the car, and checked out. The police officer suggested that I travel another 12 miles to Kokomo, as there were lots of motels in all price ranges.

Coming in to Kokomo I saw a Motel 6, and stopped to check it out. I told the manager about my experience, and he handed me a key for the available room and suggested I go check it out and see if it was what I wanted. I did, and it was a little thread-bare, but not bad, and it looked clean and didn't smell bad. It would do just fine!

I slept on and off most of the day on Thursday, recovering a bit from the previous day or so. On Friday I headed out to the range.  I spent Friday afternoon helping them measure out the stage target locations and so forth.  On the way back to the motel I spotted a Texas Roadhouse Restaurant, and had dinner there. The ribs were really good! Back to the motel for a good night's sleep, as I needed to be at the range at 7am on Saturday morning.

On Saturday morning I helped the club crew set everything up. After getting everything in place, all of the range officers and helpers broke into squads and shot the match. I was welcomed into one of the squads. Unfortunately it was chilly and raining pretty hard, making it difficult. It was difficult to shoot at full speed, so I concentrated on shooting reasonably fast and not making any expensive mistakes, and that worked out pretty well. At 1pm we were through shooting, and the regular entry shooters shot the match, while the range officers manned the stages. I spent the afternoon as a range officer helping with running the timer and helping to run one of the stages. Around six everyone was done shooting and we put the targets and stuff back into the storage shed, then went to the club house for pulled pork sandwiches and match results. They have a nice clubhouse, and they had a warm fire going in the fireplace. They had a nice prize table set up, and they gave every entry ten tickets. It was a bucket raffle,so you dropped your tickets in the buckets of items you were interestedin, and then they drew from each bucket to find the winner of that item. It worked well. The last thing I needed was to win a bunch of bullets or something else bulky or heavy that I couldn't bring back on the airplane. I won a speed loader for a S&W 617 10 shot revolver. Now I guess I have to go buy one!

After the raffle we got to the results. There were entries from Ohio, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan, and of course, Washington State. I think there were about 90 entries. When Eric, the Match Director, got to reading the Rimfire Optic class results, he started with third place. There were a lot of good shooters here, so I was hoping to get a little lucky and maybe sneak in with a third. My heart kinda fell when he announced the third place finisher. Then he announced the second place in Rimfire Optic Division, and it was me!! WOO HOO! I was awarded a really nice plaque. I had turned in the second fastest pistol time of the day overall.

After they had gone through all of the gun class categories they went to the special recognition categories such as Ladies, Juniors, Seniors, and Super Seniors. These awards were determined by how shooters finished in their division, so there would be one overall Top Junior, Top, senior, Top Lady, and so on. I was pleasantly surprised to have my name called as Top Super Senior! Double WOO HOO!! When I was awarded the Top Super Senior Plaque I asked him with a straight face if I got hug, but he replied that that was not part of the deal! We had a good laugh over that!

At the Awards Ceremony I got talking to Tom from Wisconsin. Tom shot well, and won some stuff with his revolver. It turns out that Tom was staying at the same motel 6, in the room next to mine! After the match Tom and I went out and had dinner, refreshments, and lots of gun and shooting conversation. A great way to end a really good day! Although Tom is a few years younger than I, he has all the makings of a very fine curmudgeon! Hope we meet up again next year!

It was a long any trying trip to get here, but well worth it. Met some great folks, had some fun, and got in some shooting too! Today I'm just hanging out, as at 4am I leave Kokomo for Cincinnati for my flight home.

Not looking forward to the trip, but it is what it is.......

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Gun Blogger Rendezvous VIII Pics

I apologize for not getting any posts up about this year's gun blogger rendezvous, which was held in early September.  Between working, shooting, traveling to and from matches, practicing for shooting, reloading, keeping the guns running, working, getting the new International Steel Shooting Association underway, and a ton of other things, I just haven't seem to be able to find the time to do very much blogging. Oh yeah, I also forgot to mention eating sleeping, and keeping the vehicles running!

Well,better late than never! here's the first batch of pictures.

Both the tables  covered with door prizes, and the raffle prizes table, were covered to overflowing! In less than 30 minutes, we sold $3130 worth of raffle tickets!  There were a lot of very cool items in the raffle, but one item that I sure would have liked to win was this beautiful stainless Ruger Blackhawk .357 revolver.  Unfortunately, it was not to be. Oh well, there is always next year!

 On Thursday morning we went out to the Reno Cabela's store for tour. After touring Cabela's, we all headed east to Fernley and the Roop County Cowboy Shooters range.  The Roop County Cowboys were also having a multi-day gathering filled with fun, cowboy outfits, cowboy guns, and lots of shooting!  This year the gun bloggers were invited to come out and join in on the fun on Thursday, which was their side match day. We got a chance to shoot some of their cowboy guns, and even try out some of their side matches. It was a ball!

Here's a couple of pictures of Ray shooting a 5150 rifle at a target for hundred yards away, and hitting it, to!

On Friday, the group went out to the wash to County public shooting range for some more shooting. Jim, the range master, who we have gotten to know over the years, kept a watchful eye over us and all of the other shooters at the range, making sure everyone had a fun and safe time.

looking down the shooting stations at some of the gun bloggers.

After the Friday range day,  we all headed back to the Silver Legacy hotel and casino  for dinner. After dinner in the hospitality room we had a one on one pistol match using a laser firing Ruger semi automatic pistol. For me, shooting a double action semi auto with iron sights in a fairly low light situation is pretty much a perfect formula for mediocrity! I did my best, head of a lot of fun, and only embarrassed myself only once in the match. I tried something that I thought might work, and it didn't.  Congratulations to Daniel, who showed us exactly how it's done!  After the pistol match we enjoyed a pleasant evening of socializing.

We did not want to stay up too late, however, as  Saturday morning we would again be going out to the range for more shooting. The Saturday shooting would be at an adjoining range, where we would be shooting steel targets with pistols as fast as we could go!  I did not take any pictures on Saturday, as I was fairly busy running the match.

I Will try to get more posted, including some more pictures, when I can...........

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