Colville, WA June 2016
Rain has seemed to follow me to matches this year. And it did again at this year’s Snipershide Cup. So sorry everyone that was there. It was my fault. But at least it was only one day. One very long wet day. This is the first time Snipershide has been held at this location and with Carl Taylor of In Motion Targets designing and organizing the course of fire. I should have known that with Carl designing it, it would be a tough match. And it was. With Carl doing all of the match set up it left Frank Galli with tons of time to race the Razr all over campus. And he actually had a smile on his face the entire match! Before I talk about anything I want to thank Frank and Carl and especially all of the volunteer RO’s that worked this event. All of the RO’s were awesome. They had to be out there at 6am each morning. Even on the day it was pouring and the match was delayed. That was a long time to just sit out there waiting. So again, a huge thank you! The general consensus of most, including mine, was that it was a fun and VERY challenging event. There were some complaints, including mine, that there was not enough information for shooters prior to the event and that the stage locations were very confusing and hard to locate.
Regina and I walked an extra couple of miles trying to figure out A shooting area. And when we had to drive to the D and E ranges we passed the location and drove about 10 miles up the dirt road. I heard Glen Seekins did the same thing. When we started to hear banjos playing we decided to turn around and start over. For a match I like to see a dedicated web page that gives all the details. Or at least one dedicated message on Snipershide. Details such as direct address or map to location, round counts, (we did finally get these two days before the match) time of meetings and start times, map of the course or ranges, or signs that point to stage numbers, basic helpful information on lodging, nearest airports, etc. The week of the match there were hundreds of emails, texts and forum questions about these facts. It would save Frank or match director from receiving thousands of unnecessary emails. Yes, I know they get them anyway but it might cut down on that.
Regina Milkovich flew up from Phoenix last Wednesday and we drove to Colville together to shoot the match. I took Regina out on the town in Seattle first and we drove over Thursday afternoon with just enough time for sighting in and any last minute rifle adjustments. It was hard to believe that a storm was to come through the next day when it was warm and sunny that Thursday evening. The first match meeting was held that evening led by Frank Galli who of course was standing on his chair.
There was a turnout of about 130 shooters to start. By end of day one a group of guys quit so that brought actual shooter numbers down to 115 or so. Rumor was they were frustrated with the lack of information and where shooting locations were. Also the pistol stages were confused with the correct rules and locations so they had to throw those out. I certainly don’t think that was worth quitting. You made the trip all the way out there. There were a total of 25 stages, round counts were about 250 rifle and 60 pistol with 5 shooting areas A through E.
Sections A through C were up on the hill where most of Carl’s matches are held and D and E were down and on the other side of the highway. The range on the hill has spectacular views everywhere and more open space terrain. Targets were easily seen. Although with the field grasses being extremely high, most stages had to be shot from a tri-pod to see the targets through the scope. My squad had this area on day 1 where we were poured on. We had a late start due to lightening. I am so happy I brought my Wellies and full body rain gear. I actually stayed dry. My gear on the other hand did not. There were 4 or 5 stages with movers. I wish I had access to a mover to practice on. I am waiting for Doug Glorfield to get his club Rock Lake Rifle Range up and running in Cheney, WA so I can do that! Another small complaint is that were a few too many stages and again that the layout of some areas were miles apart. We did not get off the range until 8pm the first day and 6:30 or so the second. In my opinion for a three day match those are long days. These are not that big of a deal and from my experience matches always tend to have some glitches. We had a couple of stages where you had to range on the clock. One of which had a target out at about 1050 yards. There was a good amount of long range targets throughout. There was a dreaded loop hole stage. I could not find the targets for the life of me. If you did then you had tall grass that obscured much of them. One mover stage was over a large pond and the other, which was thrown out due to the pistol mess up, was up hill as you were sitting on a down hill. Day two was the day Regina and I clocked a bunch of miles on the Fitbit.
On Saturday our squad was to start on A range. Because the stages were way out there we hitched a ride in the back of a pick up truck. We were to start on stage 3 and stage 5 was another ways past that. The RO told us that stage 3 was all the way back toward the start and up the hill again. We hiked over there and by then we had lost our squad. They also went to the wrong stage over at 5 but decided to just stay there. We eventually caught up to them but we had made several back and forth trips. Weather was much better with partly cloudy and warm temperatures. For awhile we paired up with the squad of our other gal pal Kate Redell who by the way was 19th overall in this match. Congrats Kate! Kate was also on the squad with Glen Seekins. Glen had a proto-type of a magnetic saddle for tri-pods. So awesome! They will be making a metal base that attaches to the bottom of the chassis or stock. Then set the rifle on the magnetic base attached to the tri-pod and it is solid. I mean really solid. No more time wasted trying to screw tight the pig or hog saddle. Allow a couple of more months he said. I will be their first customer! After lunch that day we had our “lost” adventure going across the highway to D range.
I think Regina and I almost drove to Canada when we missed the turn off which was actually right off the highway. Signs please!! At least at that range the stages were all close together and we screamed through it. D and E ranges had huge ponds that some of the targets were placed in. Bullets hitting the water make a pretty big splash. Yes that does mean I missed some targets. The mover stage here was challenging. You had to shoot off of a boulder at stationary targets first and then about 10 passes of the mover. I think there were a total of 19 rounds for this stage. Day 3 brought us back to that side of the range but with a huge hike to our first stage at the end of the path. Mostly uphill.
Sunday was to be a half day and hopefully finishing by noon according to our match director. Well 2:30 was close. Hard to imagine that after the amount of rain we had on Friday that the ground was completely dry and it was extremely dusty. But the mosquitos did not forget that it rained. There were clouds of them. Thank goodness an RO had some uber bug repellant. Toxic yes but kept me from being completely eaten alive. I still had been munched on quite a bit up to that point. Squad mate Jason had his son Jack with him during the match. Jack made a good point that “Mosquitos are the only bug without a real purpose and should all be exterminated.” Agreed Jack. I felt E range was the most difficult. Most targets were hidden across the valley up hill and in the trees. Or, you could see the targets standing up but you had to find them from odd positions or with tri-pods. Tree branches seemed to be in the way of every target. There were many awkward positions required. This made for difficult ranging as well. Thank goodness Jason on my squad had a Terrapin and also there was a Leica and one of the new Sig KILO 2000’s. My range finder was not cutting through the shrubs. Everyone on our squad was awesome and shared equipment. Regina did not have room for her tri-pod to fly with and I do not have one yet. So a big thank you to Jason, Keith, Jeremy and Pete for sharing.
Congratulations to the match winner Nick Gardazi! Nick was hosting a group of Canadian shooters and still managed to pull out the win. He deserved it and a great guy. His sponsors should be proud to have him on board. Jesse Redell was 2nd. Regina took 8th overall and I believe tied with Glen Seekins who was shooting a semi-auto. Scott Parks of Vortex won the 308 category and Cole (I did not catch his last name) won high junior. We had a large group of juniors that were sponsored to come. So awesome to see the next generation getting involved. I learned a lot at this match. My bit of whining more than a complaint is that the match was very difficult. Every stage was tough not just some of them. If that had been one of my first matches I would have been very intimidated. Snipershide Cup usually attracts newer shooters and this would have been a doozy. But it certainly told me what I need to work on and can do as dry firing and positions at home. I also realized my pocket book will take a beating. I “need” a range finder. The Sig KILO is awesome and affordable. Unless of course someone wants to gift me a Terrapin! Hint Hint! Anybody? I “need” another Harris bi-pod with legs 9″-13″, a carbon Manfrodo tri-pod and Seekins’ new magnetic saddle when it comes out. Not too much to ask for is it?
Thank you to all of the sponsors of the match; Vortex, Sig Sauer, Kahles, Seekins, Prime, APO, Leupold, Defiance, In Motion Targets, GA Precision, Swarovski. I apologize if I missed anyone! Thank you to my personal sponsors – H&H Precision, Killer InnovationsMEGA and Rainier Arms for my beautiful rifle. To Spartan Arms for coating her. Leupold, ESS Eye Pro and Accu-Grip.
Rumor has it that The Cup will be in Texas next year. See you then! More photos below.