And when we can bring together friends from faraway places, it is even better.
It was just a few days after the Nationals that I received an EMail from my good friend Sean McDaniel stating:
"I’m considering going to the next DIFTA match. Would I be able to stay with you, Veronica and the kids? Maybe come up Friday and stay until Sunday?"
Of course the answer was a resounding "YES!"
Sean is an incredible friend with whom we have spent many fine hours at the Rochester Brooks Gun Club whenever he hosts the Crosman All American Field Target Championships, and also when he was kind enough to convince us to go to the Canadian Nationals.
And to have on top the company of Eric Brewer, Hunter Piston shooter extraordinaire and also a good friend, it was shaping up to be a weekend we would certainly remember!
As time approached and I kept watching the weather forecast, it was becoming increasingly clear that conditions would not be easy.
But, suddenly the trend of the forecast started warming up and suddenly 40° to 50° didn't seem too bad.
Anyway, Sean and Eric arrived late Friday and after the normal courtesies, we called it a day and went to rest to prepare for the next day.
In hindsight, I can honestly say that I lost the Match when I got dressed. But we'll get into that later.
Early morning breakfast and off to the Match.
Along the way, I told Sean I was sad that Joe (his father) would not be able to make it to the shoot.
Upon arrival and after helping Dean set up the sight in range, we started the process of sighting in when all of a sudden Joe McDaniel shows up!
We talked a little and shot a lot and when everyone was done with the sighting-in, we had our shooters' meeting:
I got squadded with Eric Brewer, who had just won the Nationals in his class (Hunter Piston), but this time he was playing the "IronMan" and shooting two rifles: his usual Spring-Piston LGU and a new-to-him BSA R-10.
Soon. we were all spread out in our starting lanes and as the Hot Line! shout propagated along the line of fire, we started shooting.
Contrary to what we expected from the forecast, the temperature was below freezing, AND there was a steady 4-5 mph wind that came from the open field on our left that cooled you further and further as time/exposure passed by.
At first I didn't feel it, but by the 5th lane, when I completely missed an offhand shot, I knew there was something wrong. But, anyway, the show had to go on and I decided to do the best I could.
Eric started real good with his PCP, shooting first the piston gun, and only after that shooting the PCP
Sean was using a new FX Streamline that has undergone some "teething problems" but is now shooting as it should.
Hopefully, he will be able to get the stock to fit better, I am sure he will shoot better scores with a better fitting stock.
We all soldiered on and at the lane before last, on the long kneeling target, I simply forgot to hold off for wind, with the result that I missed a shot that I should DEFINITELY have made.
AH, well, next time I will dress warmer. Whatever the forecast says, it is easier and better to peel off layers than go through the shivers and brain drain that low body temperatures impose on you.
When all was said and done, Rex Gori (45) beat me by one point to take First in Open Piston with his ProSport, Mark Mayer (46) bested our scores by another point to take the First in open PCP
Eric Brewer (44) followed real close behind with only 1 point difference between us.
High score was posted by Dean's "Air-Ma Deuce" at 50 which was, essentially, a clean course because Dean foregoes the offhand lanes altogether.
The fact that Open and Hunter, Piston and PCP ended so close tells you that the course was excellently designed as far as AAFTA official Divisions and Classes are concerned.
And once the elastic bedding of the 54 was removed after the Nationals, and the trigger readjusted in let-off point, the gun shows all the promise at High Power as its short-stroked sisters show at WFTF power levels.
It is also important to say that to this DIFTA shoot we had shooters from as far away as Ohio and Upstate NY, and that tells you the quality of shoot that Paolo designs and Jan and Mark help implement and run.
Many say that in FT you shoot against yourself, to improve on your past performances and that is all that counts.
I beg to disagree; we shoot against the elements: wind, light, temperature and pressure variations; and against the cunning knowledge that the MD and local crew have of their OWN home-turf.
The more experience you have in many different venues the better you will tackle the subtle but important differences that make or break a successful shot.
At the end of day, we all had a lot of fun and went home happy and smiling, even if a little cold, LOL!
Keep well and shoot straight!