Thursday, June 16, 2011

Bald Eagles Mid Range Prone Regional Championship

This past weekend I traveled to Raton, New Mexico for the now annual Mid Range Regional and it is with a  heavy heart that I write this match report. A fire started around noon just north of town Sunday and has turned into a 30,000 plus acre inferno that has already consumed some homes and threatens many more. Some of the homes that are now in jeopardy belong to some very good friends of mine and I pray that they remain safe and that their property is spared. Makes it difficult to write about something trivial in comparison but I feel I owe the sport and the event a proper telling.

The first thing I did Saturday morning was look out the window at Raton hill. There is an American flag there and it is a great indicator of the wind out at the Whittington Center. Seeing it hanging dead against the pole I was hopeful that we would have a good day, unfortunately that condition would not last long. By the time the first relay took the line the wind was moving southwesterly and already strong enough to move the muzzle around. Gentleman Gene Klein got it figured out the best as he fired the only 200 of the day at 300 yards! His 200-10X put him a point up over several folks who posted 199's, which included myself and three Raton residents. Namely Barry Smith, Steve Cunico and Trudie Fay. Moving to the 500 yard line Fay quickly got back on top as she mastered the tricky wind conditions and shot a remarkable 200-15X. Klein stumbled a bit and posted a 197-4X, which dropped him to fourth. Your dedicated blogger got lucky and managed a 200-10X to pull even with Fay at one down going back to 600. Smith managed a solid 199-10X to nail down third going back and down two overall. Cunico posted a 196-10X which dropped him to fifth with one yard line to go.

When the 22 competitors entered in this years match got back to the 600 yardline, the wind was at it's zenith in terms of both velocity and direction changes. Cunico was the first to finish with a very disappointing 191-4X which would keep him in fifth overall for the day with a 586-26X. Smith faltered a bit with a 193-6X and his 591-29X daily agg landed him squarely in fourth place. Klein posted a valiant 197-8X but this would only reward him a third overall for the day with a respectable 594-22X. Meanwhile Fay and I went shoulder to shoulder and she came out on top with a brilliant 199-9X over my 198-7X making her the daily agg leader with a very fine 598-40X over my 597-28X. Being down a point and 12X's you know I left the range thinking I needed to make up a down two deficit the next day.

Sunday morning the flag on Raton hill was telling a much different story than it had 24 hours before as it stood straight out and whipped towards the southwest. In the past the wind has been my friend from time to time in these situations. Little did I know that this was only the beginning of a much stronger wind that would eventually shorten the match by a stage. The leaders now found themselves squadded shoulder to shoulder and on relay one for the day and we had two new additions to the match as Middleton and Nancy Tompkins had arrived the previous evening. Nancy wasted no time in making her prescence known by winning the 300 yard stage with a new Womans National Record Anysight score of 200-18X! A noteworthy performance considering the wind condition it was fired in. The battle for the overall agg victory continued with both Fay and myself posting cleans, with 15 and 14X's respectively. Klein and Smith were likewise locked in battle, each leaving the 300 yardline with a 199 and all of the sudden, with the wind intensifying, the 500 yard stage was starting to look mighty interesting.

When the aggregate winning hopefuls took the line at 500 yards there was already some talk that the target uprights might be ready to break with the strong winds now coming in from 5-7 oclock. Pulling targets you could definetly feel the strain. When it was decided to proceed Nancy continued to amaze by firing the only clean score at that yardline, 200-9X to be exact. I was in a position to watch her effort and when she got done she had used all but about 30 seconds of her 22 minute time limit. Klein posted the next highest score with a hard earned 199-10X's. Smith got caught trying to play catch up during his string and only managed a 189-5X. My 198-11X which just bested Fay's 197-11X score, put us numerically tied down five point each but she now had me by 13X's! As we moved to the 600 yardline to see who would take this years Championship title the wind grew even stronger and more chaotic. At this time the match director made the decision to call the match, fearful for the safety of those in the pits should the targets start to let go. Trudie Fay then emerged as our Regional Champion for the sling folks, Thomas Hodgin took the F-Open Gold and Lesley Jones took the F-TR Gold

Complete results can be seen HERE I have assembled a small picture album of the match HERE
Sunday night I sat on Barry Smith's back porch and shot THESE pictures of the growing forest fire.

Next up will be the Firecracker 4800 Smallbore Prone Championship being held next week once again at the Whittington Center near Raton, New Mexico. Lones Wigger puts together one of the finest prize tables in all of shooting for this event and I hope to see a bunch of you there.


1 comment:

Jim E said...

Great Report, Rick, Keep it up. Jim