Chilliwack, BC – General Volkes Range
As you may know this match is one of my favorites. The rifle range location is the prettiest of any I have shot at. Surrounded by trees and snow capped mountain peaks it is really something. First of all I’d like to congratulate Jim Paton for winning the BC Grand Aggregate and the Lt. Governor’s Cup which is gets him carried in The Chair back to the clubhouse. Jim performed flawlessly as usual. Brian and Marshall won F-TR and F-Open Lt. Governor’s. Normally the BC Championship is held in early August but due to forest fire threats all season they kept moving out the dates. Finally set to Labor Day weekend the normal turnout decreased quite a bit. Only 18 TR shooters and about the same number of F-TR and F-Open competitors. The competition level was still high. There were 4 of us from the US and all from Washington. Three of us are US Palma team members. There was a strong number of Canadian Palma team members as well. The match was condensed to 3 days and we shot 3 to a mound rather than the normal two. Apparently the match director had a tough time recruiting target pullers so we had to triple up instead. I’m not a big fan of three at a time but it was fine. I had no issues coming or going through the border as usual with my rifle. Although I had to laugh that the Canadian Custom’s Agent kept asking me about how many other guns I owned at home and where I kept them, etc. He was not just making conversation. I answered as nicely and vaguely as I could. My guess is he was just asking questions for my honesty rather than really caring about my guns at home. Coming back in to the States the agent whisked me through hearing that my US Team won several trophies. We started the weekend with sunny skies but cool temperatures.
Day one on Saturday was clear blue skies but because of the later time of year the sun coming up over the hill at a different angle than normal made for strange light conditions. The targets were dark and then there was a huge glare on us at the firing line. This entire match is shot on ICFRA targets. The V and 5 rings are about half the size of regular bulls-eyes. About 1/2 MOA. There is no room for error on your trigger control and sight picture. This is a full-bore match so we shot at 300, 400, 500 and 600 meters. What I love about this event is that every yard line is a match trophy. Then there are Aggs and Grand Aggs beyond that. A bit confusing but I usually do not keep track of scores until the end and then you find out that although you may not have won individual yard lines you may still have won Aggs. I shot with Bob Pitcairn and Al Katona the first day. I have one complaint about the range. The 400 yard target is on a 4ft frame rather than a 6ft frame. There is not enough white frame around the bulls-eye to use for a sight picture so you have to open sights all the way to frame the target posts that hold the frames. Weird but it worked somehow. They are trying to fix that and I hope they do for next year. Day two on Sunday started with heavy rain downtown Chilliwack. By the time we made it to the range it had stopped and maintained overcast skies all day. I came up north with a really bad cold that seemed to get worse as I was there. I had no voice and I ended sleeping in my chair between strings. I was miserable but I plugged away. It affected my shooting. I just could not clear my head to be focused. I just could not clean any strings. Dropping one point each time took me out of the top 3. Somehow I managed to hold on enough to get 5th overall. I shot with Ed Bergsma and Bob Best on day two. Day three was all shot at 600 yards to determine the winner of the Lt. Governor’s and the Curry 8 person team match.
The top 3 places shoot together for the last day. It was Jim Paton, Don Pitcairn and Gary Rasmussen. All three fighting for the Chair. It came down to Don and Jim battling it out. Jim took it by 2 points. The same three and the same order were the winners of the Grand Agg as well. Congrats to all for great shooting. My return trip home across the border was much easier than expected. I assumed since it was Monday evening of Labor Day that the border line at US Customs would have been massive. I drove right up to the booth. One US custom agent had a dog sniffing around my car while the other checked my passport. Asking what I was up in Canada for I mentioned the match. He asked how I did. I said I shot pretty well but my US Team won 5 out of 7 trophies. He smiled and waved me on. He never did ask to check the rifle.
A huge thank you to Bob, Kay and Leanne Pitcairn for running the match. Again. Bob and Kay take care of and house all of the trophies for this match. They are in the process of moving in to their new home and they still put this match on, organized target pullers, had trophies engraved and polished from last year and had new medals and brassards ordered for this event and run stats office. KUDOS!