Camp Atterbury – Indiana – August 2017
The inaugural year for the NRA high power championships has come to an end. I made it to the long range championships which is at the end of the 3 weeks. I experienced a smoothly run event. Apparently it did not start out as smoothly for the first week or so of High Power but by the time I got there all of the bugs had been worked out and it was the fastest running long range I have experienced. Thank you to Sheri Judd of the NRA and Mid Tompkins for that. The range is very nice. We had air conditioned vans transporting shooters to the pits instead of dusty trailers and tractors. The pit targets were easy to run up and down. But if there was no wind then the pits became an oven. There was no Commercial Row like Perry has. The NRA store was pretty lacking as well. Maybe next year it will be better? We had extraordinary hot and humid weather that week so the matches were started an hour earlier to try to get out before the late afternoon swelter. We only had one day of storms which made us pack one of the team matches to the end of Palma Day. The on base housing was pretty decent. My guy and I stayed in a deluxe room which had a living area with kitchenette, a queen bed and private bath. For only $35 per night you can’t beat that! The All Ranks Club had pretty good food for breakfast and coffee. The gals that work there are awesome. Now for the week of long range competition!
Day 1 – The Remington Trophy and Mustin Trophy – 1000 yards
As I tell you about the trophies, keep in mind I shot the Palma category all week. Iron sights and 308. I am still a purist hold out and have not given in to any caliber and optics of the Any/Any category. Every day except Palma Individual and Team, we shot at 1000 yards. The Grand Agg for the week throws everyone together no matter the rifle and caliber used. But there is a national championship for Palma category as well. One complaint we all had firing from the 1000 yard line was the number boards. They were fine for closer distances of 800 yards and lower. But for us they all looked the same number and was extremely difficult to make them out. There were a lot of cross fires. Not by me this year! There were 4 relays per match. For the Remington match which was the first one of the day I shot well with a 199/200 and 13X. For the 2nd match, The Mustin Trophy, I pulled an idiot move. The conditions were hazy and I was having a really hard time seeing the target. My shots seemed to be all over the place. I dropped 5 points. I kept fidgeting and could not figure out why I could not see. When I finished shooting my score keeper said, “Anette, do you always wear your sunglasses when you shoot?” Geez! I was so angry with myself. I could have saved points if I had not done that. Oh well. Deep breath. The match is not over yet.
Day 2 – Edward D. Andrus Memorial Trophy – 1000 yards
It has been a couple of years but I finally made a shoot off! I shot 1 199/200 with 13X on my relay which was the highest and put me in the running. By the afternoon the winds had kicked up a ton. There were 4 of us in the shoot off for the Andrus Trophy. Keith Hoverstad, Nate Guernsey, Daniel Altman and myself. Conditions were rough and I watched myself drop 8 points. I thought I was out for sure. It turns out that everyone struggled. Nate Guernsey and I tied. When that happens there is a sudden death shoot off. We had to shoot 5 rounds with zero sighters. My first round was a 10 and the second round I dropped a low 8! My heart sank. Not sure why, I did not call the shot an 8. But I put my head down and finished the rounds ending with an X. Again, I assumed I lost. Nate only needed to get a 9 or above to win it. I shot my last round before his. Mine came up an X. I heard his last shot fired and heard a gasp from the crowd behind us. The wind pushed him out in to the 8 ring. That is proof right there to never give up and shoot your best until the end. I ended up winning by a hair. Nice shooting Nate and to the others. My first individual National Championship!
The Roumanian Team Trophy was shot this same afternoon. I with the help of Nancy Tompkins organized a pick up team. Nancy was coach and we had myself, Todd Branin, Peter Church and Roman Podshivalov. We struggled a bit this first match. I think we came in 7th. But the rest of the week’s team matches went very well for us. Congrats to Russ Theurer’s Team Highway 6 for the Roumanian win.
Day 3 – Doc Aiken Memorial Trophy for Palma and Wimbledon for Any/Any
It stormed lightening and solid rain all night prior. We had a delay until the afternoon which meant we had to shoot the Team Herrick Trophy the next day after the Palma Individual. The second round of the storm was looming and they made us run the Shoot Off in 20 minutes. No score boards for the crowd. We were rushed! Todd Branin shot a perfect 200 with 9X for the high score of the match. I won my relay with a 197/200 and 11X. Todd and I both from Washington competed in the Shoot Off. Kent Reeve took this shoot off and won the championship which gave Todd 2nd and Bob Gill 3rd. I was 5th overall.
Day 4 – Palma Individual
My goal this year was to at least make the Palma 20 if not the win. I shot very well with the conditions. I managed to get in with being #17! Congrats to John Whidden for the Palma Championship win. It made for along day but we shot the Herrick Team Trophy after the Palma match. Roman and Peter Church were no longer shooting and we were lucky to have Bob Gill and Michael Storer come the day prior and join Todd and I. Nancy coached us again to a Palma category win!! The overall winning Team was SouthEast Rifle Club – Blue.
What a fun day! How could it not be? My Team Tompkins won the Championship. Coach Nancy and the shooters were myself, Todd Branin, Michael Storer and Bob Gill.
TEAM TOMPKINS 1783 – 94
HM – 5765 – STORER, MICHAEL 448 – 18
HM – 5744 – BRANIN, TODD 445 – 27
HM – 5434 – WACHTER, ANETTE 445 – 22
HM – 2594 – GILL, ROBERT 445 – 27
Capt. – 5434 – ANETTE WACHTER
Coach. – 5411 – NANCY TOMPKINS
To recap on my performance this year I am very happy with my performance. My best yet! National Champion – Andrus Trophy and Team Palma. 2nd overall Palma Agg. 2nd overall The Sierra Trophy 1000 yard Agg. Palma 20 and 11th overall in nation and that is including shooting against Any/Any rifles. Yay! Berger Bullets were a key component with my performance!
Thank you to all of the volunteers and RO’s and Pit managers and to the NRA for sticking with it this year to keep the matches going and hopefully for years to come.
Highlight! – My sweetheart Rob arranged for my friend Mia (Life of a Shooter’s Wife) go up on the tower to watch the A10s do their drills on the base. So awesome! They shot the mini guns right in front of us and performed a “special fly by” for us shall we say, very close to the tower.
My only complaint about the NRA Championships this year was about the Awards ceremony. At Camp Perry we had the Auditorium with a grand stage and 2 story US flag with all of the beautiful trophies on display podiums. Winners got to climb the stairs to the stage and be presented with their plaques and take photos next to the actual trophies. At Atterbury we had a tent. No trophies were present. Not very grand for the Long Range Champion receiving his award. And not much incentive to get more competitors to show up. Again, hopefully that will be fixed for next year. The entire NRA HP events were planned last minute and they did the best they could with what they had. Considering the obstacles, the matches ran well. First year of any event is always bumpy. I do look forward to next year being bigger and better.