Well we are coming up on my 2 year anniversary of Brain surgery, blinding of my right eye and related issues with brain surgery I had. May 31st will be 2 years. Sometimes that seems like yesterday and other time like for ever.
Either way I have been getting off the couch and making use of my new self. To help me get over the speech pauses, and feeling sorry for myself i set a goal for myself last October.
i wanted to relearn how to shoot left handed and enter competitive shooting. I had my first Major match this past weekend May 16/17 in Henderson Nv. It was close enough that my family actually came out to the range and saw what it is I am actually doing. Well that and I am sure the draw of the casinos not too far from the range lol.
What I expect to get out of competitive shooting sports?
elimination of speech pauses,
situational awareness, learning how to navigate without stumbling and bumping into everything and everyone.
The day before I left for my Match I went to Dr E my Neuro Ophth and found out why my good eye was having vision issues.i was Dx with Steroid induced Cataracts. Ok so this threw me for a loop but I had bigger fish to fry. I had to drive to Las Vegas by myself, I had a major match to breakdown and figure out and run. I did not have time for this new distraction.
Below is a rundown of the weekends festivities. For those that want to know I took 149th over all of about 200 shooters, 125th in my class and 10th lady. So I feel pretty good about my first match. Looking forward to August when I get to do it all over again in KY.
So last weekend was the 3-Gun Nation Western Regionals, sponsered by Remmington and Cheaper than dirt.
Friday: Shooters meeting at 3:00 and then you walk the stages. I was so amped up that I got to the range early so I could take it all in and sight in my rifle. It was about 106 degrees (as the saing goes “it was a dry heat) that sucked the moisture and life right out of you.
My teammates decided to rent some guns we don’t normally get to shoot in our state, so we could go play while we were waiting for 3pm shooters meeting. Nothing like an full auto to get your blood pumping.
By the time we registered,had the shooters meeting and started walking the stages at 4;30-5:00 I was spent. The heat and the excitement had taken their toll. I took video of stages 1-6 on our way to stage 7 I started to feel the heat exhaustion settle in, ut oh I am in trouble and had about 1/4 mile to my car and water. I handed off my video camera to a teammate and asked that they film the stages for me so I could make it down to my car ASAP. My feet were starting to go numb and dizziness stared to show its ugly head.
We shot 4 stages Saturday and 4 stages Sunday. The temps at the range Saturday were 108 little to no breeze. Our squad 13 had a start time of 12:30 on stages 5-8.
While the range stages were considered close. In the heat, carring 30 pounds of gear and what felt like 50 lbs of ammo, made the heat that much more unbearable. We tried to get a golf cart however the earlier squads had not returned them yet. So I found a competitor heading up the range with a coveted golf cart for my gear to get a free ride and I would walk up.
While walking up the hill to stage 5, a smiling Jerry Miculek (fastest trigger in the world) was driving up the hill in his car. I step a few steps over to my right to let him pass. He stops leans over and opens the passenger door for me and said “looks like you could use a ride”. I climb in and feel the rush of AC. He deposits me off about 75 yards up the road. He wishes me luck and takes off to his stage.To say that I had a blast IS an understatement. In the shooting word of 3gun there were shooting celebrities in every direction. All wearing their colors proudly. I get to my stage,meet up with my team members and squad mates for the weekends festivities.
Stages 5 through 8 were true 3 gun stages. We had close range shotgun, mid range pistol and long range rifle. Shooting plate racks at <100 yards and then rifle stages out to 350 yards. We even had stage 8 where you started inside a taxi and had to shoot your pistol while seated in the drivers seat, then climb out and race to your shotgun and hit 3 targets with slugs from 20-50 yards. Then race to your rifle and shoot with a 10-15 mph wind out to 350 yards 6 MGM swingers.
Stage 6 was a 3GN classifier stage with mandatory mag changes on the rifle.
We finished up Saturday, hot filthy and tired. Headed to the ranges bar, had a few cool ones and headed to the hotel. My teammates and I went to dinner and bed by 9. Sundays 6 am at the range time was going to be an early call.
Trying to carry your gear from the hotel room,through the casino and to the car at 5 am and not wake up the whole floor can be a challenge but doable. After loading the car and grabbing a bite to eat at a local drive through I waited at the range gate for about 20 minutes along with all of the other shooters. We were early and the staff from the range were on time.
Even with the slight cloud cover and the cool of the desert morning. the weather was still calling for the temps to be in the high 90s low 100s.
I was 2nd in line for the golf cart today. Sweet! I headed over to the teammates car and we loaded all of our gear on to the cart and off to shoot stages 1-4. While yesterdays stages were larger bays and long range targets for rifle stages 1-4 had their own set of challenges. Stage 2 was an All shotgun stage starting with 8 slugs and the remainder in birdshot for. Total of 36 targets. Everyone was borrowing someone elses gear just to be able to carry enough ammo for the stage.you learn to adapt quickly on this stage. I borrowed a chest vest from Chris Naganuma threw on additional shells to compliment my 16 in twin loads on my belt.
Stages 1 and 3 had true 3 gun set up. You had to have all three guns staged and loaded but if you choose to shoot a stage with only one two or all three guns were up to you.
And stage 4 our last stage of the match was a true 2 gun run and gun rifle and pistol. Run it as fast as you can and get there with no penalties.
After shooting my last stage we headed to the watering hole for some cool drinks and some good laughs hearing the morning squads highs and lows. Most of the competitors were staying the day so that they could watch other competitors and friends shoot. The winds were starting to kick up and stage 5 and 8 were the ones to watch. With 30 mph winds you were seeing the big guys fall in standing left and right. The whole match was on practi score so everyone was attached to their phones checking out the current leaders. It was a true horse race.
Knowing I had about 4-5 hours to burn I headed to the hotel, took a shower and nursed the heat blisters on my feet. Washed my team jersey in the sink. Put on that jersey wet knowing that by the time i got to my car it would be dry then drove back down to the range. A teammate had rented another golf cart and we proceeded to stages 1-4 and watched some of the competitors like Jerry, Leina, John Taran, Heather and the alike complete their match.
The awards ceremony was unbelievable. We all gathered in a large warehouse that had a few chairs and about 25 tables loaded with prizes. After the main awards were given to 1st thru 3rd place finishers they started calling out the TacOps place finishers. So if you finished 1st in your class you were first to head to the prize tables to pick your prize. Remmington, DMPS and the alike had donated over 25 guns for the prizes tables as well as other sponsors there was a total n the prize tables worth over $300,000.00 . After guns there was anything from thousand dollar gift certificates, AR uppers, Barrles, parts, triggers eyewear taccom gear etc…
I placed 149th over all, 125th in tac-ops and 10th lady. I ended with a prize package worth over $500. Eye pro, Magpul pro BUIS, and gift certificates. To say I was shocked at my prizes was an understatement.
All in all this was a great experience for a first major match. As the new kid in town I felt out of place (it was only because I allowed it) when my teammates were not with me. This is such a close knit group of shooters. However there was not one time I actually felt I I did not belong. I met lots of new friends that I will be seeing in the near future in KY in August. They all said I have to worry about the heat and the bugs. So there is that to look forward to as well.
I also learned to not change out your pistol sights a week before a major competition. Part of that organizational stuff I am working on.
Have a great Memorial Weekend and please say a prayer for those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.