This past weekend was the 2019 Pyramyd Air Cup. Last year I won the hunter pcp division and got the Ataman M2S as my prize. Well, I thought this past weekend was going to be exceptional given that I was in Grenville and had gotten a new personal high score. But that didn't happen, I ended up finishing 11th or 12th out of 66 which isn't bad, but just wasn't what I was hoping for. But I'm still glad that I went. I saw many old friends and made many new friends and the weather was absolutely beautiful. So while I didn't win anything, I did figure out that "something" was off. I now need to figure out just what that was. This is the process anyone goes through if they want to improve -- analyze each shot to figure out what went wrong or right. And it could be a physical thing, did I get enough rest, the right foods, etc. Everything that we do on a daily basis comes into play when you are expected to be at the top of your game over a 5-6 hour period. Yes, 5-6 hours. We had 4 person squads, 5-minute time limits, and 15 lanes. So the quickest it could have gone is 5 hours, but add in additional time for lane changing and waiting on the next group to finish and it was closer to 6. Make sure you bring snacks and drink(s) to a larger match like this.
Eric and I headed up to Grenville, Canada on Sunday to Tim MacSweyn's course. We typically head to Port Colborne, but this is in the opposite direction above Oswego. The courses are very similar in that they are both in the woods so you need to bring your bug spray, or in this case your Birds of Prey spray. I've NEVER felt mosquitos bump into me until this visit and they absolutely swarmed you. Bug spray was a must and Tim's homemade "juice" that he sprays helped at the lanes for sure.
I left at 4:30 am, got to Eric's by 5, and we ended up arriving a bit late at 9:25 and were greeted by everyone standing in the lot expecting our arrival. We quickly got ready and moved to the sight-in range to prep for the match. While I only took 2 shots the others took the full 20 minutes or so. I had just shot yesterday and only needed to verify 0. We then headed off to the course which is in the middle of a swamp of all things. But this meant that the mosquitos/birds-of-prey were abundant and hungry. If you stopped at any point you were swarmed so keeping a good pace to the course seemed necessary.
Ryan (Mr. Clean) and I were paired together. All total there were 10 shooters. Tim has the course set up so there are 4 targets in each lane and you shoot 8 lanes (1 standing/1 kneeling) for a total of 64 shots.
Right off the bat I only got 7 out of 8 on the first lane. I always feel more at ease once I get that clean lane, but my hopes weren't too high as I had just missed 1 shot and the kneeling lane was next. I was to be pleasantly surprised as I ended up clearing the next 5 lanes. My next miss was a standing shot that, looking back, I rushed and "hoped" the pellet would go into the hole. Always take your time on the standing shots if you have it. Never rush, and if it isn't stable don't take the shot. We then finished the last lane with me repeating the mantra "every shot counts". Sometimes you get complaicent and ruin a great match on the last lane because you start to relax. Don't relax until the last shot is over...
Jeff Hemming, who used to be so laid back, seemed to be calling cold lines on every lane he was at. So he deservedly got assigned the nickname "Coldline". And when a target got stuck I called down to the far end of the course to ask Jeff if he'd like to be the one to call Cold Line making everyone on the course laugh.
In the end I had managed my highest score to date, 62/64, and was thrilled that I got to achieve this with such great people surrounding me.
Always keep bug spray in your box...and aspirin/advil/etc.
ALL photos are courtesy of John Bradley.
As a match director you are torn between creating a course that is fun for everyone and one that can make even a seasoned shooter cringe. We live on the edge... let them have fun or enjoy watching them suffer. I know, I know, but watching them suffer and whine is my fun. So this is one of those times :)
I started setting up the course Friday afternoon when it wasn't raining and then got caught in it and had to finish up the sight-in and running strings this morning. This one was planned to be a doozy, but I didn't realize how bad until I actually shot it. The MD's in the area look ahead to the next month or so to determine if we need to make things more difficult to prepare shooters for an upcoming large event, like the Pyramyd Air Cup. This is one of those times.
One of the changes I made for the targets was to thread 2mm x 300mm stainless through the target, bend it, and then make a hook on the other end as well. We're trying to cut down on the cold lines that occur when strings get tangled around the target. It worked! We didn't have any cold lines.
The other change I made was to cut some of the plastic corrugated material to fit within the wire frame of the sight-in targets. Two clips at the top "hanging" the corrugated plastic and the target and then a rubber band at the bottom to keep it from swinging. This worked out well and cut down on the number of clips each target needs which should cut down on the time required to change out the paper.
And while the course was definitely beyond a grand-prix course, at 42 troyer, everyone seemed to have fun and appreciated the challenge. So I think it all worked out.
With rain in the forecast for 11:30 am, we got things going at 8:45 am with a quick safety/shooters meeting, lane assignments, and then called the line hot. And at 10:45 am Betsy took her last shot and we were done. Everyone jumped right in and cleaned up the course and sight-in area. We then went over the top 3 scores in Hunter PCP and Hunter Piston. No other classes came out to play.
46 Sean McDaniel
40 Shawn Pragle
39 Doug Dunlap
38 Ken Burley
34 Sue Burley
31 Betsy Dunlap
24 Mark DeBoard
37 Eric Brewer
33 Paul Manktelow
31 Greg Shirhal
11 Tony Garland
I've always compared field target to a game of golf. That one shot keeps you coming back, you are really in competition with yourself, every shot counts, there's only you the pellet and the hole, and you're the only one responsible for a bad shot.
Well, I happened across a quote from Arnold Palmer today that, imho, sums up field target...
Field Target (Golf) is deceptively simple and endlessly complicated;
it satisfies the soul and frustrates the intellect.
It is at the same time rewarding and maddening -
and it is without a doubt the greatest game
mankind has ever invented