Friday started out at 1 pm with a quick lunch at the Wyomoco 4H Mess Hall and then out to the field to set up for the weekend. The constant wind atop the hill made it feel colder than it actually was.
I wasn't sure what to expect, but had brought my air rifle/pistol with me in addition to the 4 Challengers that we had just gotten the week prior. Scopes were mounted and they were ready for sight-in. I took care of the rifle setup as soon as the course was done.
I certainly didn't expect what came next.... exhaustion :)
One young lady, Holly, stopped by on Friday to check things out in her spare time, and I think a couple of others came through on Friday. Not too bad.
Then Saturday came about and everything changed. There were times when I had 5 kids/adults shooting at one time (3 challengers, my rifle, and my pistol). Everyone had a smile. I believe that every 4H participant, except 2, came through at one time or another. At 3 pm Eric Brewer called to let me know he was on his way and asked how I was doing.... I was exhausted both mentally and physically (but in a great way). It's a wonderful thing to have young kids asking to try this sport they've never heard of and to then hear things like "this is awesome!" was the icing on the cake. But it meant that I had to work individually to get each person set up and shooting, and then keep an eye on the line for any problems and for safety while getting the next person set up. Safety wasn't an issue as they had all shot guns of one type or another so they all knew the MAT (Muzzle, Action, Trigger) acronym and followed it well. Eric Brewer showed up at 6 pm just as two kids were laying down their rifles. And before I could say hello I then had a family of 4 show up, so I started getting each one going. But that was the way Saturday went. Just when you thought there was some time to rest or shoot, up the hill came some more kids to try it out...which is a great problem to have!
Sunday was more of the same, but at least I had Eric around to help. We again had kids coming through on a regular basis and even the adults were trying it out and loving it. We also had Mora and Keith, who are higher ups in the 4H hierarchy, along with John who I first met at our training in Balson Spa. John tried it out (even tried Eric's spring piston rifle), but Mora and Keith were on their way to start tearing down the 3D course. It was great to talk with them further about our sport and have the interest coming from the 4H side. Mo really wanted to stay and talk but Keith kept reminding her that they were on a schedule.
The final awards were handed out and we thanked everyone for allowing us to come out and share our great sport with them. Nate, the organizer, then announced that field target will be included next year as one of the competition categories! What a GREAT SURPRISE!!!
One kid, Kearnan (spelling?), absolutely loved shooting the targets. On Saturday he was there for 2 2-hour sessions constantly shooting my rifle. The smile on his face never disappeared. However, he is a bit of a rascal as he was keeping an eye out for new shooters. They would shoot a close one or two and then they try for longer and longer ones. At this point he would snipe their target with a "WHO SHOT MY TARGET" followed by a long snicker by Kearnan. He was having a blast.
Max, who was the youngest, came in and was shivering. So I took off my jacket and had him put it on figuring that if he's shaking he can't possibly shoot well. Got him set up and he was having a great time shooting the two close ones. Then he wanted to try the long one at 40 yards but he wasn't hitting steel. So I tried it with the rifle he had and found out the hold-over I had was wrong. Trying myself I realized it was shooting 8 mil-dots down. So I say that he needed to hold 3 mil-dots from the bottom for that one. I think he nailed it with the very next shot!
And then there was a mother who came to me on Saturday and said she would love to give it a try but she hadn't shot before. Absolutely, come on over tomorrow....Really? Yup. So she brought her family over and they shot. When a rifle opened up I walked over and asked "You ready"...Really?!...Yup, come on over. Again, I got her set up and as she's knocking down the targets she's looking at her family saying "Did you guys see that!?"
Eric (a 4H participant) had been by several times over the weekend and had been using my rifle to shoot with. The butt pad came loose, so I went to tighten it up, but in the meantime Eric Brewer pulled out his piston rifle and Eric tried that. He was knocking down targets near and far the first try. Really impressed Eric Brewer and he really enjoyed shooting piston (which is strange :) and might be coming to our next match.