This may be one of the more difficult blog entries I have written. In fact I am not sure I am
ready to talk about it. I write as I am on the plane back to Seattle with a heavy heart. Sounds so dramatic I know. But this blog has always been a sort of diary for me and there is going to be the bad with the good that I write about. This trip to Perry has been both humbling and a huge learning experience hopefully to never be repeated. Of course I had some wonderful experiences as I always do here. I get to see many of the friends I have made over the years in this sport and I had the pleasure of meeting new ones from the the international teams. The week of competition ended yesterday with the America’s Cup Team and Palma Team championships.
Before I arrived at Perry the team captains put together squads that would shoot together throughout the week. Then at the end of the
day of the Palma Individuals they decided the final squads for the America’s Cup team and the 4 person Palma Teams. I shot well during the week on the other team matches and I was chosen for Palma squad A for the final event. I was honored to shoot with Nancy Tompkins, Justin Skaret, Jon Rhynard and our coach Phil Hayes. Captains are already starting to analyze everyone for the 2015 World Cup. Wednesday we started at the 800 yard line and we shot a clean score. Back at 900 is where my day went horribly wrong. We were on target 86. Trust me I will never forget it now. I fired a round in the middle of the string and my target did not go down. The one next to it did. Target 85. This seems to be my Perry curse. I cross fired the day before on my individual match and I did it two years ago in my shoot off. I have never done this anywhere else! I knew that as a team we were down about 4 points at 900 even without my mistake. But I felt now that we would be out of it completely. How I finished the string I am not sure. We walked back to the 1000 yard line and I lost it. Phil did everything in his power to calm me down and reassure me that it happens to everyone at some point. Bless his heart. He managed to get me through the last string. I knew Nancy and Justin were in the pits pulling our target when it happened and I could only imagine what they were thinking. My friend Trent came by and gave me the “buck up” pep talk as well. But you can’t recover from that. I shot fine on the last string at 1000 but that last trip down to pull targets was way too long. Bad enough to do this on your own match but on a team you just can’t imagine the feeling. I went back to the hotel and showered quickly to make it back to the awards ceremony. I was dreading showing my face.
Due to the sudden rain storm everyone was huddled under the deck of the patio where the awards were to take place. In typical fashion as the rest of the week the ceremony was delayed about an hour. This was a good last opportunity to hang out with people before everyone left for home. I was still not recovered but put on my best face. Both Justin and Nancy, who I had not seen since my cross-fire, came to me and shook my hand. Nancy gave me a hug and said some words that made me feel a little better. But here is the kicker. I assumed the loss of those 10 points would have put us at the bottom somewhere. They announced the bronze medal Palma team and then started to announce the Silver medal and said Team Hayes. That was us. I was stunned. I quickly went over to the score board and saw we lost the gold by 3 points. Without my mistake we would have won. This will take me awhile to get over this. Well, this makes the team that won the better team. I congratulate Bud Solis, Steve and Shirley McGee, Lusty Cebula and coach Tom Whitaker. Job well done and well deserved. Of course a really big high five to our USA team members that won the America’s Cup. This was the first time it was held at Camp Perry. They beat the GB team by 3 points. As I mentioned earlier there were some awesome highlights to this trip so I will try to finish this depressing entry on a happier note.
Awhile back I received a reply to one of my entries from a man who’s first and middle
name is Perry Vialle. His father was such a devoted Camp Perry participant he named his son after the range. He searched Camp Perry and my article from 2 years ago came up and he contacted me. Apparently his father’s ashes were buried at the 1000 yard line of the Vialle range and there is a plaque there somewhere. I tried and tried to search for it so I could take a photo of it for him but I could not find it. My apologies Perry. If you can tell me where it is I will try harder next year to find it for you. Then to Abe and Nikki, congratulations to you as young newlyweds and thank you for offering your leftover wedding cake to the several hundred
shooters present. I think it fed everyone. That thing was huge. And yummy too. I finally was able to use the rifle rain guard I made! We had a few rainy moments this week. I got to use it during the first team match on Sunday. It worked perfectly and kept the action dry and did not get in my way of loading or opening and closing the bolt. My favorite part was meeting the people from the international teams. Although the Japanese team hardly spoke a word of English they were certainly entertaining. Could have been my imagination but the Brits did not seem to be too social. The Canadians were great and my favorite were the Australians. At the official Meet and Greet dinner I barged right in to their circle and introduced myself. All of them were charming and how can you resist the accent? That is if you can understand them. Mike Chad you are such a gentleman and Dave Waters I will put you in another category of “You make me laugh”. Nancy Tompkins and I were in tears as he told his stories of Walmart employees and their reaction to the accent. You had to be there but Nancy and I now have the joke between us and we laugh every time we see each other.
I am happy to be going home. I have been away from Charles for almost 3 weeks. We will be going on a small vacation to our favorite local place in E. Washington called Lake Chelan. We will do nothing but be on the boat and in the water, visit as many wineries as possible and I am looking forward to the 80’s flashback concert of Foreigner at the local Indian Casino. So tacky but oh so fun. Something tells me a few glasses of wine will be needed to put this week behind me.
30CalGal – “Shoot Like A Girl! If You Can…..”