Friday, November 30, 2012


Another stellar day greeted the competitors who arrived at one of the nations finest shooting complexes, the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in north Phoenix Arizona. From as far away as Minnesota, Kentucky and even Canada they came to test their skills against some of long range shootings legendary greats in the Arizona State Palma Championships. No less than forty-one High Masters took the line today to see who, in a battle of skills and wills, would walk off with the day 1 victory. With out any further delay or convivial utterance lets get to the stories of the day!
Starting with F-TR, dedicated family man and small business owner Steve Lockwood took his newly re-barreled Barnard across the Palma course in fine form today. Opting to run the sweet Berger 185's through his new 12 twist Krieger, Lockwood let his presence be known at 800 by firing one of only three cleans put up by the bi pod bunch. Californian Lane Buxton and recently retired Border Patrol agent Jeffry Calhoon accounted for the other two. At 900, Steve's 148-5X fell short by only one point to Raton regular Lige Harris' brilliant stage winning 149-7X. Calhoon kept pace by also posting a 148 and by a mere two X's over, led the daily aggregate with only the 1000 yard line to go. Buxton suffered a setback at 900 with a less than sterling 143-1X locking him into a tie for third with top level F-TR shooter Michael Smith. In Palma shooting, both the sling and the mechanically supported shooters alike know that the match is usually won or lost at 1000 yards. The long line can be especially cruel to those who fall out of step with the vagaries of the wind as Calhoon clearly had. His anemic 128-2X dashed his hopes for the daily win. Buxton regained his National Team form by posting a stage high 147-7X's, grabbing the clubhouse lead. As Lockwood took the line, down just two, it was his to win or lose. Buxton was down ten for the agg, Smith and Harris eleven and Calhoon was flopping around in the parking lot on the sword he had fallen on at 1000. So with the same workman like manner he had displayed all day, Steve Lockwood pounded out a solid 146-6X's, carding a 444-15X's and winning the first of the three daily aggregates. Good Job Steve!
Steven Blair and Steven Shaw are now clearly down the road to a historical rivalry in F-Open. With Shaw's win two weeks ago at our State Long Range Championships, the stage was clearly set for a nail biting rematch between the two in the Palma Championship. At the 800 Shaw appeared to be clearly in command as he and his mighty 300 WSM, spitting 215 grain pills at well over 3000 fps, posted an unbelievable 150-14X's! It was clear though that despite Shaws accomplishment his fellow F'ers were not about to lie down. Dennis Welker made his presence known with a great 150-10X's, Blair was right their with a 9X 150 and Colorado Springs resident Charles Clark also posted a 150 with 7X's to be exact. Moving back to the 900 yard line Blair and Shaw continued their mistake free performance by posting identicle 150-10X's. Welker and Clark fell off the torrid pace with scores of 148 and 146 respectively. So again, the 1000 yard line was to be the scene for a spectacular finish. Clark and Welker limped across the day one finish line with lackluster scores at the long line to finish up with duplicate 439's on the day. Blair and Shaw, laying side by side, began their assault on the 10 and X rings and when the dust had settled on the pivotal 1000 yard line Blair had carded a gutsy 147-6 besting Shaw's effort of 144-5 giving him a slim three point lead going into day two. Great shooting by both men and I'm sure we will see more tomorrow.
Last, but certainly not least, the 56 competitors in the sling division compiled a number of stories of success themselves today. Ratons own Trudie Fay, one of seven National Team members to top the days aggregate, shown brightly at 800 as both her and Peter Church posted 14X cleans to start the day. Fellow National Team member and your intrepid reporter, Rick Curtis, found an acorn at 900 with a nice 11X clean. At the 1000 yard line another National Team member and perennial Palma Team shooter Bob Gustin cranked out a very good 13X clean to end the day on a nice note. All these great performances would, in the end, become but a footnote to the days crowning achievement. Nancy Tompkins, numerous time National Champion, Palma Team shooter and a young woman I am proud to call my friend put together a doozy of a score today. In her shooting career, Nancy has amassed well over thirty perfect scores over the palma course and today she added one more as her cleans at 8, 9, and 1000 yards resulted in a day one 450-27X which just edged out runner up Trudie Fay's 449-29X. Kentuckian Mark Del Cotto sits solidly in third with his 448-26X. Gustin, Curtis, Church and Phil Hayes rounded out the top seven finishers today.
Full sling results are HERE and F Class results HERE. Pictures of the day can be seen HERE and we hope to see some of today's no shows out to join us tomorrow, here in the shooting capital of the world!
Be well my friends,

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