AFTER the publication of this short note, the original creator of the Blue Balls Shoot, Mr. David D. Day was kind enough to post the subsequent paragraphs in the "Green" FT Forum, with his permission, the are reproduced verbatim here:
After reading Hector's report on Blue Balls, I thought I'd give you the full history.
IN 2002, there was one airgun club in Connecticut - Wolcott and one in Mass - Westfield. The Westfield club was run by a very amicable and outspoken older British gentleman - Joe Dennis. During that year, it seemed to rain during every single FT match, and there were a lot of cancellations and reschedules. Joe began to complain that Americans didn't have the balls to shoot in anything but perfect weather with no wind. So to show Joe he was wrong, we looked up what was statistically the coldest, nastiest day of the year in Connecticut which turned out to be February 1st and decided to have an ice cube shoot called Blue Balls on that date. Blue Balls got its name because of Joe's comments, the fact that we were shooting on the statistically nastiest day of the ye4ar in CT, and the fact that well.... you get the idea about sitting in the snow.
When the day of the shoot arrived, we held the shoot at Don Hawley's house in East Granby CT. During the shoot we literally had white out conditions and the temp was way below freezing. As a consequence, PCP seals were breaking, springers were shooting way off, and hands were so frozen that it was nearly impossible to put pellets into guns. At one point the wind was blowing so badly that visualization of targets at 15 yards was impossible. We shot the first blue balls offhand as well as from the sitting position. Between relays, people would run into Don's Garage just to warm up.
From the very beginning, the blue balls were cylindrical shaped blue ice cubes on bamboo sticks. Preparation for the match started three months before the match and I had a mold that would manufacture 12 balls at a time..
After the second year of Blue Balls, we underwent a prolonged winter warming in Connecticut, and in Blue Balls 3,4, and 5, the weather was so mild that we had to be really careful about keeping the targets cold because they'd literally melt and slide down the sticks during the relays. So, by the time we got to Blue Balls 6 and 7 (the last year of the event at Wolcott), we made up the metal targets that Hector talks about in his blog and started to run Blue Balls like an FT match. In retrospect, I wish we would have done that sooner as not being able to tell where your miss went made the course even more challenging for the competitors.
Originally hosted in Wolcott, Connecticut, it has traveled, and evolved on the way, to Haverhill Hound Rod and Gun Club (HHRGC), and then to Massachussets Rifle Club (MassRifle).
If my information is correct, it all started when a group of UK shooters complained to David Day (then head of Wolcott Rifle FT Club), that Americans were only "fair weather" shooters.
Nothing like a challenge ¿right?. So he decided to host an FT shoot in Mid-Winter!
Now, Mid-Winter in New England is NOTHING like Winter in Merry Old Albion, so there was a trace of "one-upmanship" there. But the initial shoot was held. The brave shooters that decided to do battle with Mother Nature shot at frozen popsicles of blue-colored water. That provided the "decent" excuse for the name. You can all guess what everyone understood was the REAL reason for the name! LOL!
If legend has it right, very few shooters shot from the standard FT sitting position but, regardless, the name stuck.
A few years after the first shoot, the hassle of preparing the blue popsicles was reduced by some clever welding. The targets were now blue circles atop little hinged bars. IF you hit it, it would fall. If you missed it, you could not have the foggiest idea of where you missed, there was nothing but air around the circle!
With time, real FT's were included in the shoot and given the vagaries of Mother Nature in New England, some of them were shot in delightful spring-like weather, others were shot in absolutely appalling conditions..
With life changes, the shot was not held anymore at Wolcott, but the good people at Haverhill took up the flag a couple of years after and held the first "Blue Balls II" shoot at the Haverhill range. It is important to note that Haverhill was building on the tradition of their "Mid-Winter Safari", where we would gather to shoot at animal crackers from about 25 yards, IIRC, with rifle and 12.5 yards with pistol.
Haverhill's head honchos (Tim Caradona and Ken Pike) having less of a penchant towards sadism than the original Blue Balls organizer, affixed the crackers to a cardboard backer. At least you KNEW where the shots were going!
BUT (there is always a big BUT somewhere), with the changeover/evolution to Blue Balls II, Tim and Ken decided to change the crackers to wooden disks mounted on thin, grooved boards. Disks flew and/or exploded right in your sight picture and that was VERY amusing! You still had NO idea of where the misses went, but the highly reactive targets made up for that!
Again, life brought some changes and with Ken moving out of the area and Tim's health suffering a transient down, the Blue Balls II also lapsed a year or two.
Enter the youth and energy of Matt Sawyer, offhand shooter extraordinaire. Matt decided he would host the Blue Balls BUT, he would add a 50 yard relay. And so we come to the present state of affairs; the Blue Balls III: 15 shots @ 50 yards/1½" disk, rifle; 25 shots at 25 yards/1" disk, rifle; and 25 shots 10 yards 1" disk, pistol; shot in bad winter weather.
There are great challenges to shooting airguns in sub-freezing temperatures. Some years ago, my Steyr lost sealing, so I've changed some of the ORings since then. Springers behave somewhat differently, as was seen by Joe and George. Ours not so much, but then they are not the average springers.
And the real thing is that very few of us shoot in that degree of cold.
That is what makes the Blue Balls a challenge, a gauntlet. And so much FUN!
And the rest is better told in pictures:
And we call this "Spring"!? ROFL!
At this point, while sighting in, Dan Brown's Crosman pistol blew a seal and he could not finish the match.
The rest of us did what we could, LOL! by the end of the Match, Matt had secured the Blue Ball of fame and High Pistol and High Rifle awards were also given out:
It was a COLD, SNOWY, WINDY, MISERABLE weather, day.
And we would not have had it any other way!
Keep well and shoot straight!