Ben Avery Range – Phoenix, AZ
I believe this has been my 5th year attending this match. For the second year in a row we had amazing weather. Warm and sunny and fairly mild wind conditions. We drove down from Seattle with our newest family member, Buddy, a shelter dog we just adopted. He did really well around people and the range. He had no issues with gun fire. Bonus! Range dog! The match was sold out. All 100 firing points were 4 deep in competitors split between sling shooters and F-class from around the country and the world. We have had the same group representing Scotland come for the last 5 years as well. Travelers from Australia and S. Africa as well. The match events started on Tuesday with clinics and practice and then the mid-range match at 600 yards kicked off on Wed. The Palma team match (800, 900 and 1000 yards) on Thursday, Individual Palma on Friday and long range (1000 yards) Individual and Team events on Saturday and Sunday.
First of all a huge shout out and thank you to the Berger team behind the event and all of the volunteers. Especially to those that built and set up 100 target frames prior and every morning of the match. Michelle Gallagher and Co make this match better every year. There was over $100K of donated prizes for the shooters. Every morning there are random names drawn at the firing lines for smaller items. At the Saturday shooter banquet the humongous prize table is set up and names are randomly called. I walked away with certificate for a complete die set from Whidden Gunworks. Thank you John for the donation. I will be ordering my 6.5 CM set soon! I donated 3 30Calgal necklaces to the table. I am never sure if people are interested in grabbing those off of the table since it is mostly men at the match. But they always get snatched up as gifts. Back to match results.
I shot extremely well the first three days. The 600 yard match I placed 2nd overall in the Palma category. (In sling there is the Any or Palma categories. Any has to use irons as well but any caliber. Palma is irons with 308 only) I shot a 599/600 with 45X. Great shooting to Benjamin Luccese for a 600 with 17X. In the Any, Allen Thomas took it with a 600 and 40X! Day two was the team Palma event. I shot with team mates Jim Obermeyer, Todd Branin, Keith Hoffarth and coached by Emil Praslick. We had one cross fire unfortunately so that put us out of the winning. But held on otherwise to keep us in the running for the Grand Agg. Emil coached me to a perfect score of 450 with 36X that day. My first Palma clean. Day 3 was the Individual Palma event. I had a great day and only dropped two points which put me at 2nd. John Whidden cranked out a nice 449 31X for the win. The 4th day I fell apart. We had two strings at 1000 yards individual and a team match there as well. I dropped 9 points in the two strings. Ouch. For the team I only dropped one point. We shot well and took 2nd place which is also bumped us up to 3rd for the Grand Team Agg. (Photo accepting medals at top of page). The final day on Sunday was two more strings at 1000. I shot much better but dropping 4 points in this crowd still puts you down in the chart. Kevan Hoffarth of OR, and our team mate, shot two strings at 1000 clean and won the stages. The match winner in Sling for the week was John Whidden. 2nd was Adrian Harris and 3rd was Allen Thomas. I was 16th overall for the Agg in Palma category.
Congratulations and great shooting to all. The dates are on my calendar for next year already!