May 17-18 2014, Kettle Falls, WA
I am slowly accumulating precision rifle matches under my belt. Last weekend was my 5th big match and my first team event. Charles and I teamed up together to compete with about 40 other teams. The match was located in the beautiful North Eastern side of Washington State and put together by Carl Taylor of Inmotiontargets.com and his awesome crew of volunteers and RO’s. No prize table, just a great excuse to get out with others and shoot steel for a good cause. Proceeds of the match went to Camp Patriot. They take combat wounded and disabled vets on outdoor adventures. I was thrilled to see so many women competing at this event. A total of 7! Believe me that is a lot. Most were part of couple’s teams but we had Angie and Roxanne as an all ladies team. They are the two in the boat in the pouring down rain in the photo below. My favorite photo of the this match. Rain played a big part on Saturday. And it was miserable. I don’t think a single person came out of that day dry. Even my waterproof shoes were soaked. The backpack was soaked and at one point we had to get out the cotton swabs and dry out the action. I had a pool of water in the chamber. We would not have checked it but the shooter in front of us had blown primers from the moisture. Sunday surprised us all with mostly sunny skies and warm temps. The forecast was telling us rain again but thank God it was wrong! You could feel the collective sigh of relief.
I’d like to congratulate Kevin Dittoe and Scott Satterlee, the winners of this year’s
event. Thanks guys for putting the West side of the State on the map! One thing I love about this game is that there are many great competitors and I learn so much from them at each match I go to. This match was so far the most challenging for me. I thought a team format would be easier but I was wrong. If you are not in sync all hell can break loose. And Charles and I worked well together but we also together, did not know how the heck this format worked. And the terrain of trees, brush and steep hillsides of this area were difficult. All of the matches I have shot so far have been in wide open hillsides of sage brush. The only obstacles were the props built to shoot from. This match used the environment as its props. There were several stages here that required experience and creativity. I believe this is where the winners stand out. A couple stages stood out to me that reminded me that this game is about, well, gaming. On the B range (there were two areas of Kettle Falls that the match took place in) there was the moving target stage where you shot from a pile of rocks. Photo below shows early
stages of shooting from the rock before any thing was moved around. I thought we were creative to use our packs and Wiebad bag for extra support in the awkward position. I learned later that teams completely rearranged the rock formation to the point of almost a flat surface to shoot from. They bridged the gap with boulders. Lesson learned. At the A range on Sunday we had a stage that was at the edge of a cliff with only a tree standing at the edge. Your first thought is how difficult this is if I have to shoot offhand but trying to lean self and rifle in to the side of the tree for some sort of support. Well no. In following others, we strapped the waist of one our backpacks to the tree and it gave us a platform to rest the rifle on. Another lesson learned. Finding the most stable platform is priority. Then you can worry about target and wind. If the rules of the stage state nothing about use of support than assume anything goes.
Carl and stage designers did almost too good of a job hiding the targets. Believe the RO when he says you have to shoot through the log or the dirt mound to hit the target. The gray shadow that looks like part of the tree in the dark shadow of the dark set of bushes in the dark fog and rain? That is your target. And yes, that is your target that you can’t see because the trees and bushes are in your way from where you need to shoot from. I wished I was in the movie Wanted where I could will my bullets to bend around corners. There were to two targets in the match that I never even found. I could not even during the prep time when the RO was trying to show me through his spotting scope. I just sent the rounds down range in that vicinity as quickly as possible so that I could take my time on the targets I was able to see. This game is challenging! And I love it for that. I am so fortunate to be part of this and other shooting sports. Let’s just hope that all of this experience shooting under pressure and with obstacles prepares me for the chaos of the end
of the world. I want to be on the same compound as precision rifle and 3 Gun competitors.
Thank you again Carl and volunteers. Of course thank you to my sponsors and their great gear for this game! Accu-Grip, H&H Precision, Nosler, Leupold, Tactical Ammunition, Lantac USA, Froglube, Huber Concepts, Triple Aught Design, ESS, Mcree Precision.
I am now off to Colorado for The Snipershide Cup!