Anticipation became a reality when the official invitations came in the post:
We spent a few days in Berlin with a friend that Veronika has known since her pre-school years. And I wanted to go back to Berlin because last time I was there, the Wall was still up and very much so.
After an extremely good weekend in Berlin, we took the overnight City Express to Karlsruhe, where we took delivery of a car and drove to Rastatt, where I had a business meeting with Mayer & Grammelspacher, the makers of Diana Airguns.
After some more discussions about the P-1000 and other ideas, we agreed to meet at Ebern and we were on our merry way, not without some heartache at leaving a place that is bound in so much airgunning history.
Clearly the whole town was in FT mode!
We found this welcome tree in the central plaza of the town.
Next morning we toured the town a little and met with the remainder of the team at the BDS range.
We used the time to warm up and to reconnoitre the surrounding areas.
A HUGE asset to the US Team were the two Americans that are living in Germany, Robert Brooks was wise and kind enough to get access to a private range where we could tinker with our guns.
We washed, changed and went to the big event of the evening, which was the welcome dinner!
The Town treated us as Royalty. they got out the Town Crier:
Here we have to say that traditionally, in the German speaking countries, the traditional Matches are ONE shot matches. They shoot at very ornately painted targets and the target itself is the award plaque. Closest shot to the center is the winner. ONE shot.
Then, in clear reference to the long standing hunting tradition of the Bavarian mountains, we were treated to a beautiful, short, concert of JagdHorns:
As the festivities wore on, food and beer started to come out, the teams started to assemble, it was shocking to see how many teams had selected to use red as their team color:
Even us! ROFL!:
Ron Carlson, Keith Knoblauch, Sonia Taylor, Alan Otsuka, Robert Brooks and John Estep
And even though we could not eat the food, we had a wonderful time!
To us, with the blissful ignorance of first timers, that told us nothing. When we got to the course we realized that it was the course with the most severly angled shots of the whole competition.
This is Roberto Caballero, from Spain, defending World Champion:
Isn't it funny when so many people are taking pictures that sometimes you find better pictures of yourselves in some other tourist pictures?
I have to say that it was a terribly fun squad to be in. We were serious, but not dead serious. We had fun and talked just enough being careful not to bother our squad mates.
Jörgen was shooting, ¿what else? a Walther LGV with a Schmidt & Bender 10-50X60 FT scope. The scope was to prove his undoing over the three day event.
Michael was shooting a tried and trustworthy rig with a Simmons scope that served him well.
George Harde was shooting a TX-200 with a sophisticated tune that gave him problems from the start. He was having 30-45 fps difference between shots and he could not account for strange misses. His Sightron scope though, proved very reliable and perfectly suited to the dark forest lanes.
One of the impressive aspects of such a high level event is that "things" happen to everyone. And still, all the good shooters manage to overcome the small difficulties.
After some struggling I managed to post a respectable 35/50 which placed me between 4th and 7th.
It was not for me.
MOST of the shots were slightly angled, but long. And the problem presented itself that there was no position from which I was stable to take a good shot.
I lost some golden opportunities to rack up points and I ended up with a still solid 35/50
We were all tired, shooting days had been long affairs with no way of developing a rhythm. Still, we were fired up by the idea that it was the decisive day.
And what a day it was!
The Team mates surged ahead and posted an excellent performance that catapulted the US Spring-Piston Team from 7th to 4th. John and Robert made a HUGE effort and Keith also posted a much better score, so we were able to end up in the 4th position as a Team.
I specifically appreciated the good will of the Steyr people, from left: Veronika, Myself, Karl Egger (CEO of Steyr Sport) and his son.
Over the three day event we had the opportunity to meet and become friends with wonderful people. Excellent shooters that are not only good shooters, but good persons.
We met the Chilean friends whom, we hope, will come to the next NorthEast Regional Field Target Championships (NERFTC's) in East Bloomfield, NY; to take part in the America's Challenge FT Cup that will be disputed between Canada, Chile, US and Venezuela in 2014:
And then, almost unexpectedly, came the end, the Town called in the Town Crier:
First the Veteran PCP shooters, where Greg and Mark did the 1-2: