A big congratulation to the South African Rifle Team for taking the gold medal of the America’s Match shot for the first time here. It was another gorgeous but tough day at the Army base range. There has been a great turn out for this match for the two weeks in general with about 350 people. We have 18 American shooters who made the long journey over here. Of the other international teams there the English, New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, and the Welsh. The America’s Match is shot at 300, 600, 800 and 900 metres. The US Team shot very well but the S African’s on their home turf just cleaned up by 16 points. We took the Silver medal with 9 points ahead of England who took the Bronze. You can see the scores of the match boards in the photos. Congrats to Branden Green and I for tying for high scorers on the team. The English scores are here also. I apologize I did not get over to the SA score board for a photo. Trust me. They shot well. I was very nervous for this match. This is a big deal and I wanted t perform well. They put me as last shooter aka “Clean up”. Even more pressure! Then by the time I got up to shoot I was the last one left. That and having a score board behind where everyone can see the results, is quite intimidating. Thank goodness I had a great day! We had a fun formal dinner afterwards dressed in our #1’s. #1s is the Team formal wear of navy blazer, grey skirt/pants and badges and ties or scarves. Thank you again to my 6 footer girlfriend Celeste who loaned me her navy blazer. I have never owned one and did not really want to buy one. Looks like I may have to since I am now shooting with the team and these events are at every international match. The dinner was catered by the food truck that serves us lunch at the range and it was really good! Not sure why I am surprised but I am. The day before we had the individual match called the Scottish Sword.
Michael Storer was the high scorer of the team for the Scottish Sword. He only dropped 5 points for the day. It was tough at 900 metres so that was great. I was only down 3 until I got to 900 and then got slammed and dropped 7. Of course a S. African won the Agg for this match with a great score of only one point down. It takes about 2 days to get the scores from the stats office so I will take pictures on the way home tonight.
Today our 3rd day of shooting is another team match but with 6 person teams instead of 4. It is actually to matches, one agg of 3, 5 and 600 called The Hamilton Cup and the other agg at 8 and 900 called the Rhodes Cup. Scott Fulmer and Steve Harden were coaches. The 12 shooters were myself, Ty, Branden, Lane, Bob Gill, Nate, Bob Steketee, Dave, Michael, Gerry, Norm and Jon Rynard. This match is not as worthy of the score boards like yesterday but still fun. I cleaned the front agg. At 800 the clouds came over and I was about ¾ high from my zero of the last two days. I dropped one point to wind and one high. Bummer, I lost my clean streak. At 900 I dropped one. Ty Cooper had an 8V count out of 10 but dropped one. Nice shooting! I just heard as we left the range tonight that my 6 person team with Ty, Branden, Lane, Bob Gill, Norm and myself with coach Steve Harden only dropped 3 points and may have either tied or broken a record!! Way to go team!!!!!! We will find out on Monday.
We have had incredible weather since we have been here. It gets warm but not so much that you are uncomfortable. The problem though is that the sun is extra potent down here. With 70 sun screen on and sitting in the shade I still seemed to get burnt. I pulled out my floppy hat for the rest of the week. The vans we rented work great as shade makers with the rear doors propped open. As you can see, Gerry, Bill, Bob and Dennis hanging out during lunch in the photo. Charles and I got paired with another couple, Dave and Chris Randell from Idaho to share a rental van. We got lucky. The nicest people ever! Being in a car with people for two weeks could have been interesting but we are having a great time together. The only complaint I have of the range is the bathrooms. You have to bring your own toilet paper. There is no seat on the toilet at the 300 line and the ones further back sometimes don’t flush. Still better than a porta potty. Charles and I purposely did not bring our shooting mats since they add so much weight and called a local to borrow mats when we arrived. It just happens the mat I received used to be Jane Messer of England. Only one of the greatest shooters anywhere! She won the BC Championship the year before I did. I thought this would be good karma to have her mat.
Tomorrow is Sunday and they give us the day off of any shooting. Everyone is splitting up and doing various adventures. One group is hunting and hopefully will bring something back to grill next week. Dave and Chris Crandell met a local SA shooter that is connecting the 4 of us to go to a non-public working ranch that apparently has hundreds of lions. There is a big rivalry rugby match in town tonight with the visiting team staying at our hotel so it may be a sleepless night for us. The English team split quickly after the match to go to the stadium. It is between the Bloemfontein Chittas (Not sure if I came close to the spelling) and the Cape Town Stormers. Talk to you next week! By the way, I am having the time of my life here.