Ray and Hans Apelles have been hosting matches for the last 20 years in Wappinger Falls, NY and have decided to discontinue the field target matches. Ray got married this year and has moved a bit farther away and Hans has a hard time helping any more. We will continue to see Ray, and his wife Diane, shoot at competitions. I think it's great that Diane is shooting field target and actually WANTS to spend time with Ray.
One of my first field target trips was to Ray's many years ago. At the time I would stay at my uncle's house, about an hour away. Spend Saturday visiting and Sunday shooting. I have taken Sydney and Andrew to their matches so there's special memories there.
Ray and Hans created some unique shooting situations that throw first timers for a loop, and some that they didn't plan on...would someone shut that rooster up!
First is their 75 yard target. Always a challenge and if you hit it everyone knows it as the loud piezo buzzer sounds. Typically followed by Ray rolling his eyes as he has to make yet another "I hit a 75 yard target" award.
Second is the firing line. You're shooting most targets from high to low, and if you're not careful you might just hit a rock that sits between your muzzle and the target but isn't visible when you're sighting through the scope. So frustrating when you have a close target, a gimmee, and you squeeze the trigger and it doesn't fall -- followed by someone telling you that you just hit the rock <ARGH!> Shooting down also means that you need to carry a short bipod.
Third is the confined quarters of both the firing line and the course. It can get a bit tight if there are a lot of people attending as there might be a 100 x 10 area that everything happens in. It also means that a LOT of targets are close to one-another which means you better be very careful which target you shoot at because having someone tell you that you shot the wrong 55 yard target can ruin your day.
Fourth is his recent high targets -- you haven't experienced high until you've shot these two targets. 9-10 yards out there is a tree, and if you look 30 feet up you'll see the pulley system that allows the two REDUCED-KILLZONE targets to easily be set up. No matter how you shoot this lane it just doesn't feel right because it's such an unnatural high shot. It's. So. Close. But. So. Far.
Fifth is the environment. Everything is in the woods, which you would think makes it easier as there's typically less wind...NOPE! There's usually a light breeze but there isn't anything that moves...no leaves near the ground, no ground cover, and forget about it in the fall after the leaves have fallen!
Ray certainly didn't dissappoint. There were 31 competitors plus several that came to support Ray but not shoot. All of his targets were full kill-zones so while the course was easier than past matches it wasn't able to be cleared by anyone. The best score was by John Eroh, with 51/53.
There were 6 junior shooters that Tom Hall brought and they all had a great time. It's always a pleasure to see young shooters having a great time at an event like this.
Afterwards we all met to partake in some great food that Diana Apelles made the previous day followed by awards, a 50/50 drawing, and a cake.