I've had a lot of people question me, recently, about the amount I travel for matches. They seem to find it strange that I spend more time in the car than I shoot. When I first started I tried to stay local, within 2-3 hours. Figuring that I was spending about the same amount of time participating in the match as I was driving one way. After a while I realized that I wanted to shoot more then just twice a month (my match, Greg's match in Binghamton, and Port Colborne, Canada).
So I chose to look further away for matches to shoot. I started branching out to Wappinger Falls, NY (Ray and Hans Apelles) and the Pyramyd Air Cup, in New Philadelphia, OH. But the more I branched out the more fun I was having and this lead to Michigan for the nationals, Louisiana last month, Frederick, MD (DIFTA), Southern PA (Delaware County Field and Stream) and the latest was the NOA match (Cleveland, OH). So the people I used to see maybe 1 or 2 times a year I might see on a monthly basis during the season.
I've also been invited to spend a weekend shooting with the Himes brothers, who are exceptional shooters. I've put this off for a year or two but I've finally committed to this coming July to spend an entire weekend shooting with them.
I'm hoping at some point that I'm able to travel to Puerto Rico -- it's on my radar:) I see the Puerto Rican's a couple of times each year and they are always inviting me to come down for their Grand Prix in February (I think) and to possibly go iguana hunting while I'm there.
I know it's hard. I've got a wife and three kids with my own responsibilities that go along with that and I wouldn't give it up for anything. But I do love field target so I try my best to achieve a happy medium spending time at home and away doing the things that I love to do.
I would encourage you to go outside your comfort zone at least once this year attending a match that requires an overnight stay (either hotel or camping). If you enjoyed it then add another trip to your calendar the following year and so on.
Northeast Ohio Airgunners held their first match at their new location yesterday. We left at 3:45 AM and arrived about 7:45 AM to a light drizzle and no-one else. We were quickly checking emails and websites to make sure the match was still on when we saw Tyler and Jeff.
So this is an interesting venue. It turns out that it is a winery that went under and was then purchased by a family -- so what do you do with all that land? Whatever you want....
To say that Tyler was surprised to see the two of us is probably an understatement and that right there made my day. Shortly after we were surprised when Ray Apelles showed up with Diana. And then the Himes brothers showed up -- wow. I guess this was going to be a well attended event! In the end I believe 27 shooters participated.
Despite the abundance of mud on the course we all made it through without anyone or their equipment falling in the mud. NOA made the best of what they had by laying rough sawn lumber across some of the puddles, but in the end you were probably a bit muddy.
Tyler puts together some great courses and this was no exception -- challenging and fun. The Himes brothers, shooting hunter pcp, taught us all a lesson as Dennis got 56 and Tom got 58 -- WOW followed by Ray with 53!
Ray let on that he's really a geek at heart during the match (no surprise to some...). During the shoot he explained that he loved the movie series "Lord of the Rings" and as a surprise his fiance had gotten him the elfin ring that renders the wearer invisible. So he shared this and we all took in his geekdomness. After the match Ray's fiance' Dianne asked how Ray did and I chimed in -- I have no idea, I didn't see Ray until he took off the ring. I don't think I've seen Ray EVER laugh that hard.
After the match was over Kristen had an awesome lunch prepared with venison, salads, and pulled pork...YUM. We sat around for about 90 minutes and then Tyler took care of handing out the 1st place awards and we said our "until next time's" and left for home.
Despite the mud it was a great day with a lot of shooting and even more laughs.