Conditions on this range are crazy! But the S African team seems to be one with the wind here. I call them “Windjas”. Today, Wed we arrived at 7:30am and already had 12-15 mph winds directly at us with wicked fishtails. This was the start of the biggest individual match The State President which is held at 300, 500 and 600 metres. With this wind you could not see a mirage through the spotting scope so you had to go off of the flags. Good news is I held the wobble and had perfect elevation but lost 2 points to wind switches. That was hard on me since I have been clean since we started. If you are not familiar with the international 300 metre target, the V-bull and 5-bull (X and 10 ring) are tiny. The V-bull ring is only about 2 ½ inches. The 5 ring is about an inch more from that. Like I said, TINY! Back at 500 metres we had the same conditions of wind. At least this time you could see a mirage and that is what you wanted to follow. The flags were not reliable to me. I dropped one point. Because of the direct wind at us or because of the cooler temperature my elevation zeros were ¾
minutes low. Others were in the same boat. I have learned so much at this match. We have had so many wind and light conditions that have affected elevation. I have been keeping good notes. At 600 metres I dropped one point. With this crowd of great shooters (shootists, as our match director General Alexander calls us) if you are not clean you are going home from the party early.
The second half of today was another big 12 man team event called the RSA International Match shot at 800 and 900 metres. The winds had only become stronger. It was brutal and we had a tough time. A really rough time. The SA team results looked as if it was a calm, no wind day. I have photos of their score board here as well. Their score was off the charts. Again, “Windjas”. Brandon Green had a stellar string at 800 with a clean and 10 V-bulls. (Out of 15 rounds) Michael and Nate had great scores as well. I was not happy with my performance. I could have cleaned the 900 string if I had not put 3 rounds low. The wind calls from Steve my coach were perfect. I was not. England was second. I did not see other boards so I am not sure if we took 3rd. The results will be posted tomorrow at the range.
Monday the official Opening of the SA Bisley Championship held the Free State Cup at
300, 500 and 600 metres. I dropped one out the bottom at 300. I cleaned 500 and at 600 I dropped one out at a perfect 9:00 as a 4. Out of the seven rounds I had 6 Vs and I had to lose that one point. Only dropping 2 points still put me in 47th place! The second half of Monday was the Dewar 6 person team match at 300 and 600 metres. This was a rather difficult one since it was late in the day and the sun was behind us. The zeros came down about a 1 minute or more. I cleaned 300 with 8V’s out of 10 shots. Yippy! But back at 6 I struggled with the light and lost 2. Everyone on the team shot well. My 6 man team consisted of Norm Anderson, Ty Cooper, Branden Green, Lane Buxton, Bob Gill, myself and coach Steve Harden again.
Tuesday was all individual matches. The first was the Dalrymple Cup at 300 and 600 m, 10 and 11 shots for record. I cleaned 300 and lost two at 600 to wind. Again, only dropping two points and I was at #50 something.
Sheesh. The second match was at 600 again called the Kings Norton Cup. The winds came up and I got pummeled. Shooting three to a mound makes keeping up with the switches a bit tough. You only have 45 seconds to get your shot off. So you can’t wait it out. You have to make a call and go for it. My calls were not on. Oh well. “Put it behind you.” The second half of the day we went back to 800 and 900 metres. I did very well and only dropped one point at 800 considering the winds. At 900 I was cruising happily along and down one. I had the last two shots on my own since my shooting partner was done. The 9th shot was a V and my 10th went down with no changes, my partner saw the trace and the target went down. The target came up as a miss. WTF? I called down for a challenge and it they still called it a miss. I did not crossfire. We were all baffled. Turns out that when the round is fired, the pit pullers, who happen to be from a local village nearby, pull the target down, pull out the spotter, tape the old hole and then look for the new hole. The team told me it has happened many times
at international matches where you shoot through the same spotter and if they tape it before checking for a second hole they claim the target has no shot on it. Boy was I pissed. Let’s just say I had a couple of beers after that. But we are at the mercy of the pit crew.
Tonight after a long day we met at the range bar and waited for an awards ceremony that covered Sat through yesterday. It looks Lane Buxton is currently 9th in the agg and I saw Nancy Thompkins name at 32nd. The President’s Agg continues this week. Tonight my team USA B, got a trophy for the gold in The Hamilton Trophy, A silver for the Dewar Cup and the bronze in the Agg. With these and the Silver from the America’s Match I am going home with 4 medals so far. Fun!