Rattlesnake Mtn., Benton City, WA
As usual in Rattlesnake fashion, this year’s Palma Championship was a nail biter until the last string of the last day at 1000 yards. As you can see from the scores this place is not easy to shoot at. Most Palma matches across the country will have clean scores or no more than 5 or so points down at the end. At Rattlesnake these results that you see are decent scores. The entire weekend the winds came from directly behind us and would drift between 10:00 – 2:00. In fact the last day at 1000 yards I started with 6 minutes right and within seconds I watched as the mirage and flag dropped then went went 4 minutes to the other side. This was right after the first shot for record. I actually caught the change and waited it out about 4 or 5 minutes knowing it would come back. It had been that direction all day. It had to come back. And it did. Slightly lighter and I moved my sight to 5 minutes and I came up with a 10. Whew. Others on the line were not so fortunate and got caught in the first change and then never could follow it. This is where the nail biter match comes in.
Friday was the first day of the match. Palma matches are shot at 800, 900 and 1000 yards each day. After day one James Obermeyer and Wayne Budbill were shooting incredibly well. They each had a clean string at either the 800 or 900 yard lines. For the day James was down 11 and Wayne 13. But Mike Mauer was only a few points behind them. For myself I thought I was out of the game since I had a rough time of reading the wind. At 1000 yards I dropped about 12 points. Ouch. Come to find out that even with 24 points down for the day I was still in 5th place. Scary. Day two Mike Mauer made a big come back and picked up some points and was match winner of the day. Overall Agg at this point had Wayne in first, James in second place and Mike in 3rd. At this point in time there was only a 3 point spread between them. One more day to go and anything can happen. For myself I had an even tougher day and was down for the day but still towards the top in the Agg. Sunday brought us the same weather conditions of sunny and windy from behind us. The top scorers all get put on the same relay and we were put on relay 2. Usually relay 1 will have the calmest conditions at the first part of the morning. It gives others a chance to catch up. Then it also puts us at 1000 yards at the last string of the day when it is most windy and gives us a chance to screw up. Or should I say instead, another chance for others to catch up. At the 800 yard line great scores came out from all 3 of the guys. At 900 though things changed a bit. Both James and Mike faltered a bit and Wayne only dropped 2. So Wayne looked like he would take the prize. Then came the last string at 1000.
Yes it was a blowin. Like I said earlier, There was a 10 – 11 minute change in wind direction. Mike saw the change and held up. Like I did he waited it out for several minutes. When it came back to the direction and speed we had started we cranked out the last of our shots. I was happy with only dropping
9 points. Unfortunately James and Wayne struggled and dropped too many points to keep their spots. Mike had an amazing 147/150 on that string. Nobody could touch him. Congratulations Mike. I believe his name will be on that frightening Snake trophy for a 4th time. James Obermeyer took second and Wayne Budbill third place. Congrats to all for a hard fight. I managed to stay in the 5th High Master spot. Congrats to Glen Taylor winner of the F-Class group.
Thank you John Hauptmann and Bob Gudgell for running another fun match. Hopefully ammo components won’t be as much of an issue next year so we can have more participants. This was one of the smallest turn outs in some time. This is the first time we did not have enough participants to have team matches. That was a bummer.
We normally have a large group from Canada but they were having fun in Barbados at their Nationals. None of our juniors showed up either. My goal for next year is to get participants from other states to make the trip. Everyone avoids this range like the plague. Hey, if they don’t like the weather we provide then they at least have hundreds of local and amazing wineries to hang out at. Perhaps we need one of the wineries to donate a prize package of a free wine club membership.