Arizona State Field Target Championship & Grand Prix Match Report
January 19 & 20, 2013 Ben Avery Shooting Facility, Phoenix, AZ
Friday, 1/18/13 Prep day started out chilly and quite blustery. The concrete blocks that we now use to clamp the targets onto were all positioned, set and leveled in the weeks before. All the targets were repaired, repainted, adjusted during the past week and were ready to go. Just after the sun came up, I met Larry already at the range and we started putting the pre-planned targets in their assigned positions. Within a short time we were joined by Bobby, then Dale & Debbie, then Steve. It did not take long to place the targets, followed by setting up the sight in range. The food was ordered the week before, the score sheets were printed, the score board was pre-printed with the names of those who took the time to pre-register, and the porta potty was in position. Dale & Deb had done all the necessary shopping beforehand and we were officially open for business..at which point we packed and went to lunch.
The shooters started to roll in that afternoon with most arriving late and only a few taking advantage of the open sight in range while it was still light enough to see. Ben Avery personnel were kind enough to bring us a few extra trash barrels just in case we needed them. We hung out until late in the day enjoying the lull before the storm.
Saturday, 1/19/13 Day 1 had us at the range once again just as the sun was coming up. As with Friday, the wind was blowing pretty fierce and it was chilly. Debbie started to take late registrations while we started putting the strings on the targets. We cannot necessarily do this ahead of time due to the number of nocturnal critters roaming around. The herd of wild burros that frequent the area would take no time to tangle up string lines stretching across Dead Mans Wash. That being done, the sight in range was opened and everyone started on their pre-match preparation rituals.
We had 30 shooters in attendance, welcomed by clear blue skies, cool temperatures in the upper 40's to low 50's and WIND! Lotsa Wind! As was evidenced during the course of the match, it would shift direction without warning and was quite gusty at times. I kept hearing pleas of "turn off the wind machine", but by 11:00 it was subsiding and by 12:00 it was down to a light breeze, calm at times, and with temps up in the mid 70's. This felt pretty good to those who traveled from colder climates.
Leo, my shooting partner on day 1
We did our best to try to match up shooters that we felt would be most compatible with each other regardless of class. That worked out well in most cases, although I got stuck with Leo Duran. Geez, I never heard so much whining and bellyaching from one person...LOL. Just kidding. Seriously, Leo was a great guy to shoot with and we had a good time. I am surprised that he made some of the shots he did using a 12 fpe piston gun in that wind. The conversation and good natured jabs with other shooters that we passed going from lane to lane made the day most enjoyable.
The leaderboard at the end of the first day showed George Doganis with a fantastic 43 followed closely by Bobby Corcorran with a 41 in Open PCP. Bill Stevens had a 42 with Rick Eaton close behind with a 39 in Hunter PCP. Greg Sauve had a 4 point lead with a 30 over Donovan Taylors 26 in WFTF PCP. Some shooters felt embarrassed while others were humbled. It was a most interesting day of shooting.
I have to say the most delightful aspect of the day, and the entire match, as it turned out, was this little 10 year old butterfly flitting around, by the name of Natasha Brinkley! Just seeing her shoot alongside the big dogs, watching her innocence as she was checking out the desert flora and fauna, and the excitement conveyed as she assisted in drawing numbers during out annual raffle put a smile on everyone's face. She is just the cutest little thing, and papa James is justly proud of her and his other two sons, who were also shooting, and shooting well considering the conditions.
As we trudged back at the end of the days shooting, after having been soundly beaten by Mother Nature, we were greeted to party platters mounded over with SUBWAY sandwiches, along with a wondrous assortment of chips, salsa, bean dip, cookies, brownies, etc. that were made by Deb. The hungry hoard attacked it with gusto, and it did taste good while basking in the warm sunshine in the middle of January.
Lunch was followed by our annual raffle. The proceeds of the raffle go a long way in helping to offset the cost of range fees and leases, insurance, new target purchases and all those other little things that crop up. Each year, AIRGUNS OF ARIZONA goes out of their way to donate items for the raffle. This year was no different. In addition to all of the pellets, there was an FX scope, two rifle cases, a Hatsan Dominator spring gun and an FX T-12 rifle. We are greatly indebted to AIRGUNS OF ARIZONA, and Robert Buchanan for all that he has done for the club and for supporting the sport of airgunning around the country. Thank you so much!
With Larry officiating the raffle, Deb took care of the tickets and was ably assisted by Natasha, Nicky, and Alex Brinkley...with enthusiasm! I dont ever think I will forget the number 462537. When asked...again...by Bill Tramel, Natasha called out 4-6-2-5-3-7. And when he asked again, she hollered "FOUR-SIX-TWO-FIVE-THREE-SEVEN!!!!" I was laughing so hard at Bill, who was teasing her that I failed to look at ALL of my numbers. That was when I realized that I had the winning ticket for the spring gun....and was then serenaded with a good amount of grief and catcalls from the peanut gallery for belatedly checking my ticket stubs.
Debbie taking a much deserved break at the end of the day.
The remainder of the day was made up of enjoying each others company, fine tuning (for some) on the sight-in range, or getting things ready for Sundays match completion. As the sun was going down, there were about 10 of us that were left, so we decided to head across the road to grab a bite. The conversation about the days events continued, being supplemented with topics from the four corners of the earth. I eventually made it home by about 9:30 and dont even remember my head hitting the pillow.
sight in line on day 2
Sunday, 1/20/13 Day 2. I could get real lazy here and just call it a repeat of Day 1. It started out about the same with Larry, Deb & Dale, Bobby and me getting to the range just as the sun was coming up. The only noticeable change was the wind seemed substantially less...by maybe 2 to 3 mph...LOL. After checking the strings and repairing some of them due to our nighttime critter escapades, we opened the sight in range where the masses were checking their dope and comparing it to the previous day. Mine remained the same; it was windy yesterday and it is windy today, so shut up and shoot.
We had two additional shooters today. Ric could not make it Saturday due to his job, and Nectaly could not make it Saturday because he blew the engine on his car coming back from Tucson. Fortunately these two guys only live about 3 blocks from each other, so a couple of phone calls set up a carpool. They rode together and were squadded together. It was a win-win for both of them because Nec is in need of an auto mechanic and Ric is one.
Ric and Nectaly
Wayne, my shooting partner on day 2
Fortunately, I got rid of my annoying partner from the day before (ROFLMAO Sorry Leo, I just couldnt resist.) and was paired with Wayne Burns today. Conditions did improve a bit today regarding the wind. Either that, or we were just getting used to it. Because of playing the terrain regarding target placement, we get different wind conditions at different locations. The wind blowing up or down the wash is deceiving because there is no indicator of its strength. The wind blowing from left to right at the shooting line is known, but watching the direction of the mirage at or beyond the target will show it blowing in a different direction. I misjudged far too many targets that way and was rewarded with splits. It is fun though being able to watch your pellet flying downrange with the right light conditions.
As for target placement, we used both sides of Dead Mans Wash for a number of the target settings. We had a woodpecker up in a tree about 12 feet completely exposed to wind whereas the other target was protected in a hollow of vegetation on the opposite side of the wash. We had 5 forced targets; 3 were standing targets and the other 2 were kneeling targets, each with two shots for the requisite 10% forced position to qualify according to Grand Prix rules. Standing targets in that wind had more than just a few shooters talking to themselves....constantly. At least it wasnt raining like last month or everyone would have been four inches taller due to the mud that clung like Velcro to the soles of your shoes.
Bobby C shooting his Steyr in competition. He listed his USFT on his registration form. Gotta talk to him about that.
At the end of shooting, Bobby "The Wind Machine" Corcorran emerged victorious, having shot a 44 for a match total of 85 and winning top honors. What makes it even more inspiring is that he doesnt need to use a harness or other paraphernalia, and he gets his edge by filling his bum bag with walnut shells and broken glass. Other guys that I have shot with tend to corkscrew themselves into their bum bags until their butt falls asleep. I know, cuz I have heard them snoring.
With all the scores turned in and tabulated, we ended up with two pair of ties. Turns out that Donovan Taylor made a comeback on the second day and tied with Greg Sauve in WFTF PCP, each with a total of 57. After battling it out in front of a crowd of cheering admirers, Donovan came away victorious.
Also tied with a 78 in OPEN PCP were Wayne Burns and Jorge Sanchez. After Don and Greg finished up their shootoff, these two guys entered the arena to face off against each other, with Wayne emerging on top. Each shoot off was an amazing display of marksmanship from top notch shooters.
Here are the scores:
We conducted the awards ceremony immediately after the shootoffs knowing that a number of folks had to get on the road to make flights or face the long drive home. We were honored to have shooters from Oregon, California, Wisconsin, Texas, Florida, Mexico, and of course Arizona participating. Everyone appeared to have a good time, friendships were formed, while others were reinforced. Thanks to all these shooters who took the time and expense to come play pellet games with us. We hope all of you enjoyed yourselves and found the trip and the match to be worthwhile.
We did have a few challenges on three of the targets. Larry and I went and checked them out and found the identical condition on each. The shooters stated that they watched the pellet hit the paddle without going down. Turns out the very top of the kill zones on each of the targets was struck several times at exactly the 12:00 position showing evidence of splits. This would cause the target to lock up but would spray the paddle with pellet fragments that would be visible, thus giving the impression that they hit. It was uncanny that all three targets showed the identical condition. The scores stood as posted and the match retained its 100 point possible thus qualifying for Grand Prix status.
No match goes without a lot of behind the scenes help well in advance to ensure that things run smoothly. Club President Larry Piercy spent time between Christmas and New Year, setting and positioning each concrete block to ensure that it was level, then plotted it all on paper to cross reference the target selection.
Deb and Dale Keiser (Treasurer and VP) took most of the targets home with them and repaired and repainted them. Deb baked cookies and brownies ahead of time and froze them until the match. They also did the shopping for other needed items.
Bobby Corcorran is always there helping. He gets there early and is usually one of the last to leave. After helping to set the targets, he and Dale go from target to target to double check function, visibility, and clear any brush interference.
Thanks to all the club members who assisted in the remainder of the set up, from sight in range to attaching strings and then take down and clean up after the match. When we left on Sunday afternoon, you could not tell that anyone had been there. THANK YOU ALL.
So with everything finished, the few of us that remained reconvened across the road at the local Chilis restaurant for one last get together, critique, and debrief before heading home. We came away with some ideas for timeframe and location of next years state shoot and the need for more targets along with discussing other club business. Although we were all tired, it is still tough to say goodbye until next month. I said it before and I will say it again; I am blessed to be a part of this group of wonderful people. Airgunners of Arizona is the best.
Secretary, Intrepid reporter, iffy photographer, so-so shooter
Airgunners of Arizona
Here are a bunch more pictures from both days: