St. George, Utah – April 2015
It had been a while since I had shot a major 3gun match. Other than local matches I really think it was last November since my last big event. The Ladies ProAm was held at one of my favorite facilities, the Southern Utah Practical Shooting Range in Washington, Utah. The same that hosts the Annual Hard As Hell match every December. Also the same location the awesome classes given by Tactical Performance Center are held. I combined my trip in to two matches so I could get a bit of a warm up. I started in Vegas the weekend prior and shot the USPSA MultiGun Nationals. I am happy I did that. I was on a great squad of local Vegas shooters that helped me out with stage strategy. I found out I had some bad ammo and was able to restock for that. I also was reminded that shooting in the desert is a little different than the NW. We do not have dust up here. I can go without cleaning my guns every day. Not so in the desert. I learned that lesson on day two during the long range stage when my rifle was just too sticky with dust. 30-40mph winds were not helping. My pistol and shotgun were also acting weary. I come from the High Power crowd and we just don’t clean guns very often. Well that is me anyway. MultiGun is ten times harder on equipment I now know. So with new ammo and clean guns I drove two hours north to St. George to join match director Lisa-Marie Judy and 70 plus participants in the second ever Brownell’s Ladies’ ProAm.
The match did not start until Friday but I arrived on Tuesday afternoon. I got some pistol practice in shooting the range’s Tuesday night pistol league. Wednesday I went back to the range to help with any set up that was still needed for the stages. I found Scott Hawkins and Andy Horner trying to finish putting up paper targets on all of the bays and helped them the rest of the day. Doing so also allowed me to walk the stages. There was a little bit of evil from each of the great stage designers. Lisa-Marie had the help of Ken Nelson, Bob Wolf, and Scott and Andy. Everyone was trying to let Lisa-Marie rest since she had twisted her knee while setting up one of the stages earlier that week. She was hobbling along. Later, that stage was properly named The Knee Breaker and wound up being voted as one of the favorites of the match. The 9 stages of the match were really great designs. But when comparing them to the stages designed at last year’s event this was night and day more difficult. I will use the term challenging instead. I was concerned that if I felt they were challenging than any new shooters would really think so. We had so many brand new shooters last year that may have been intimidated by this course. A couple of the other pros thought so too. Stage one had steel plates at 60 yards that were to be taken offhand only. They did change it so that the pros had to shoot offhand but amateurs could use a table to rest the rifle on. In some stages a few targets were taken out but overall it was kept the same. The whole thing was perfect. Yes it was challenging but it made for a lot of shooting and that is what you want! I went through twice as many rounds as I did at Nationals the weekend before. And we came to realize that most competitors this time had more experience.
There was a pro with every squad to coach if needed. The RO’s as well were instructed to coach if the amateur shooter wanted it. Every stage made you decide what guns to use. Many of the targets were optional pistol/shotgun or pistol/rifle etc. Nothing was straight forward which was good. One of the favorites was the “Cup” stage. On a table at the top of the range there were three cups. Underneath each was a shell of a corresponding firearm – pistol, shotgun or rifle shell. Timer starts, you turn around lift a cup and depending on case showing go to that staged gun and engage all targets for that gun. The gun is safely discarded down range. You run back and grab the second cup and start all over. That was my first stage of the match. I rocked it. It was an amazing time scored, for me anyway. Until I see Lena Miculek coming towards me with a smirk on her face informing me that I put all of my pistol rounds on the rifle targets. Such a bummer! That was something like 10 misses. 100 seconds of penalties! I shot well on most of the rest of the stages and made the best of it. I still kept a decent position in the overall standings even with that score. Lessons learned never stop in this game.
The 9th stage of the match did not count toward scores but was bragging rights as a squad event. Sponsored by Stoeger, each person’s shotguns were set on the table unloaded. There was a 6 plated rack about 15 yards away. At the timer one shooter at a time ran to grab their gun and load 6 rounds and shoot the plates as fast as they could. Miss any and you would have to keep loading. That shooter had to reset the plates and then run back and tag the next person in line. I am happy to say that my squad/team kicked butt and won. Thanks ladies, good shooting! Another extra credit stage was the roller coaster. A fundraiser to assist with medical bills for young Urjiah (#fighturjiahfight) going through chemo treatments. You sat in your cart and pushed yourself out on to the track. Once you reached a certain point you racked the slide on your pistol and engaged targets as they appeared as you went down the track. Your targets appeared and disappeared quickly through the little openings they were located at. Needless to say this was a very popular stage for the weekend. I am thrilled to say about $900 was raised.
West Coast Brownell’s Ladies 3Gun ProAm Highlights –
1 – Congratulations to all competitors that placed. Open winner was Lynda Turnbull. Tactical Irons winner was Danielle Vermeulen. Pro Tac Ops winner was Lena Miculek. Amateur Tac Ops winner was Sandy Thoms.
2 – After a dusty and hot day at the range a large group of us gathered at the hotel pool every afternoon. “Refreshments” allowed us to tolerate the screaming and splashing kids of other hotel guests. My cheeks still hurt from laughing so hard.
3 – To Lisa-Marie Judy who has worked tirelessly putting these matches together and for starting many more years to come of great competitions.The awesome volunteers of RO’s and range staff. This was the first match I had helped with stage set up and I really did nothing. I did the easy part and it was a lot of work. They had been there all week building sets and setting up steel. Then they shoot all stages in one very long day to work out any bugs and are first to arrive and last to leave each day as ROs. Hats off to you all. And thank you again Scott Hawkins for driving all of my gear from WA to Vegas and Utah as well as the use of the cart!
4 – Getting to know many of the gals really well. Thank you Lorna for being my awesome roommate. Michelle Cerino for driving us around and your for helping to keep those pool kids in line. Katie Harris for your happy spirit (congrats again on your AMU career) and to my new amazon friend, the lovely Danielle. Not only is she as tall as I am but she has a sexy S. African accent. And of course a great shooter.
5 – The awards banquet Saturday night. Sponsored by Stiletto Vodka. Let’s just say they were very well received.
Shout out to all of the sponsors of the match and of course to my personal ones. Match sponsors – Brownell’s, Devil Dog Arms, ESS Eye Pro, Arma Lite, Stoeger, Benelli, GunGoddess.com, Lucas Oil, RCA Armory, Carbon Arms, Ergo Grips, Offhand Gear, Rainier, Beretta, CMC Triggers, Atlanta Arms, Timney Triggers, Fiocchi, Patriot Case, PlugrUSA, CPWSA, DC Machine, Mossberg, Taran Tactical, ASAP Photography, Weapon Shield, Team Miculek, Beretta, Mesa Tactical, STI.