It started off many years ago and it has survived the first "passing of the baton" in the long relay race that creating a sport needs.
Roz Sumpter, some years ago, decided to retire to Tennessee, and in the process, he got a good chunk of heaven in stewardship. He planted trees, cut paths, created a small pond, then built a house.
And he started cutting lanes into the forest at the back of his house, the "White Course" was born.
Then some more lanes over at the creek at the bottom of the small valley (wherefrom: "Roz's Hollow") and this is what makes the "Red Course".
I started going to the GOB's shoot in 2009, when I discovered that PCP's don't fly well. Then in 2010, though I improved my scores, I had other problems and decided that PCP's were not reliable enough to shoot under all conditions. For 2011, I had had a good run all season with a Full Power D-54 in 0.20" cal. and decided to compete with that. Alas! the spring guide broke on the second lane of the first day and I ended up competing with a gun that I had only carried as a "Demo" (to get other shooter's feedback on the idea of a short stroked, 12 ft-lbs 0.177" cal. D-54). No dope, no trajectory, no IDEA what the gun was doing! LOL! I ended up placing in 4th place. But we learned from that experience.
For 2012, I had a good trajectory established and I felt confident about taking the rig (a WFTF D-54 with a HorusVision 4-16X50 scope) to the GOB's shoot. I did not count, however, on Rod Bradley showing up with a Whiscombe and putting all the rest of the spring shooting roster to shame; so, I ended up in third place. It was also the year when Roz announced that it would be the last event, as he was being pulled by other interests.
2013 was the year of our accident, so we did not go to too many GP shoots and we missed the "Tennessee Two Step", that while not shot completely at the GOB's club, it still took the place of the Tennessee GP event in the AAFTA roster. It is important to mention that the TN Two Step was sort of a "transitional" event, because it allowed Robert Ray, the current Match Director at the GOB's GP Shoot to get "the ropes"; and boy, has he done well!
For 2014, Robert prepared a very typical GOB's match. A VERY hard match (34-36 Troyers).
When the top shooters in all PCP disciplines drop more than 10% of the possible points, you know it was a hard match.
And, like some of the best stories, we start at the end: I placed second.
Now, let's backtrack to the beginning and see how it all happened!
We are in the process of getting ready to go to the World's Matches that will take place in New Zealand, first days of September. One of the main problems for us has been the ridiculous laws that govern airguns in Australia. ¿Why Australia, if we're going to New Zealand?, well, because after New Zealand, and given that we are already halfway around the globe, we are taking up the chance of visiting the Australian side of the family. Who knows when we will have the chance of being in that region of the world again.
So, we are going to Australia and my research showed that we can not even be guaranteed to bring back our scopes, should we make the mistake of taking them to Australia. Let alone the rifles!
We found a place to store our piston guns in Auckland, but they charge per day per case, and storing two cases was almost as expensive as paying a high end courier service to bring the guns back home (more than what the guns are worth, BTW). Of course, the New Zealand Postal Service does not want to transport anything that resembles a firearm, AND, peculiarly, their constitutional mandate does NOT include the concept of transporting "ALL lawful goods". SO, the New Zealand laws did not help either. SO . . . the ONLY way to make the whole thing economically feasible was to be able to place TWO COMPLETE SHOOTING SYSTEMS in a single case.
Many years ago, I had been given a largeish rifle case that had been dedicated to a Blaser hunting rifle. It was made for takedown guns, and it was solidly built. The dimensions complied with airlines max. added dimensions (62" adding length, width and height), and it had combination locks.
After MANY hours of thinking how would be the best way to get two complete systems in there, I procured the material, laid out the geometry and started cutting, this is the result:
What can you think we are missing?
I'll give you three seconds to guess.
Yes, I forgot the pellets!
At the time I did not realize it. I went and picked Verónika from her office and we drove to LaGuardia airport in NYC.
We checked in the bags and when the Port Authority Police arrived (common procedure in LGA), they ask: What do these rifles shoot?
And I go: "Pellets, officer, like these. . . . Oh . . . . s.....t!" and then I realize that we do not have ONE pellet to shoot!
I was on the fence about going home and trying for another flight, or doing something else, like calling some friends and asking them to overnight some pellets to us in TN, when Verónika suggests calling Pyramyd Air and ordering some to be overnighted to Pulaski.
So, we dial the call center number and when the phone is answered, there is a familiar voice at the other end, the conversation went something like this:
HM.- "What are you doing answering the phone there?
TP.- "Well, this is what I do, it's my job (chuckle)"
HM.- "Wow, am I glad to hear your voice!"
TP.- "Why?, what has happened?"
HM.- "Well, I am ashamed to admit it, but we're going to Tennessee and I forgot our pellets at home. Is there anyway Pyramyd Air can overnight us a couple of tins?"
TP.- "What pellets do you shoot?"
HM.- "AA 8.44's 4.52's"
TP.- I have a tin, the company is out and backordered on those, but I have a tin and I will be departing to TN in a few hours, I will take them for you.
HM- "Wow!, thanks you're a lifesaver!"
TP.- "See you tomorrow at the range!"
HM.- "Yes! thanks a bunch!"
And so we were able to get a tin of pellets for both of us.
That still left the issue of the lubricant pending, but in the end, we at least had pellets to shoot!
Our flight was delayed and then delayed again. I would have had time to go home, pick the pellets and return, but there was no way of knowing that, so we stuck to the plan. We arrived in Pulaski at 01:00 AM of Friday, and after sleeping a few hours, I went to the range, where I met Tyler. What a Relief to see his smiling face there!
We horsed around a little and then the second part of the quest started, did anyone had any T-9?
We had looked for the T-9 lubricant in the shops around town and all the way to Nashville, no luck.
Suddenly I ask Mike V. and he says: I do not use T-9, but I use Krytech in my spring guns. Want to try some?
So, Mike was kind enough to lend me a little KryTech and I hand-lubed some pellets and tested them. Rain was pouring down like the skies had opened, so I had some time on my hands till the range would be useful again.
One by one the test pellets were lubed and when the rain stopped, I had the chance of testing the pellets and the lubricant.
Not quite what I would have liked, but at least we had SOMETHING to shoot! LOL!
My deepest appreciation to Tyler and Mike for their unflinching support!
We counted the pellets, sorted them into small zip-locs so that we would not shoot too many at the sight-in/warm-up sessions and we got ready to shoot the GOB's courses.
As usual with all FT matches, the day starts with a good sight-in and warm-up session:
I lost quite a few targets to hits in the lip of the KZ, and I kept adjusting the POI little by little.
After a while I got in a good streak of hits and I was able to post a respectable 36.
In a course that was designed for Open and Hunter PCP's shooting a flatter trajectory, with less wind deflection from stable and supported positions, with borrowed pellets, I was not completely unhappy.
Veronika posted a 35, and so she was not unhappy either.
Of course, after a day of shooting at the GOB's, ¿what is on the order of the day?
A dinner at Legends!
In the end, we placed 2nd and 3rd and, considering that the option was to not shoot at all, I think we are grateful we had the chance and that we have the good friends and comrades that are willing to go out of their way to help a fellow shooter.
BIG thanks go to Robert Ray, David Slade, Steve Vines, Pat (FireMarshall), Roz Sumpter, Cliff Smith and each and everyone of you that made the shoot possible. As I said, it IS an Institution of American FT.
I will keep on going, hoping one day to break the Jinx that the GOB's range has on me!