Last updated on November 15th, 2017 at 11:40 am
9 Day Shooting Odyssey 2017
Part 1: LRC Father’s Day 8×600:
The last 2 weeks have been a near-nonstop shooting extravaganza for me. This is a trip that I have been looking forward to since last summer, and it didn’t disappoint. Mia and I hit the road on Friday, June 16 with the camper in tow, and La Crosse Rifle Club as our destination. LRC’s annual Father’s Day Match MRP weekend 8×600 yard match was the first match on the docket, and 2 days of 600-yard matches would serve as a perfect tune-up for the week of Long Range shooting in Lodi that would follow.
This match is always well attended, and this year 55 shooters were on hand. As usual, the crowd was filled with hard-holders from all over the country on their way to the Midwest Palma Championship. Last year’s winner Jeremy Graves was on hand to defend his win, and Steve and Shirley McGee never make things easy on anyone. Even the Man-Boy Morgen Dietrich graced us with a rare appearance! The format for both days of this match is 2 Any/Any matches followed by 2 Any/Iron matches. About half of the sling shooters, including me, chose to shoot Palma rifles with iron sights the whole way through. I won this match 2 years ago shooting Palma/irons, and I wanted to try to do it again. Also, as my sacred oath to the Palma Alliance dictates, there is no other way for me.
In Saturday’s Any/Any matches, it looked like it would be a repeat of 2016 as Jeremy Graves shot scores of 200-19x and 200-18x to kick things off. There were quite a few other 200’s fired throughout the weekend, but no one would touch that x-count again. The day ended with me in first place with a score of 798-56x, only a single point ahead of BOTH McGee’s, and local boy Jay Johnson. With competition like this, whoever wanted the weekend agg was going to have to work for it! The F-Class match wasn’t quite as close, Iowa native Randy Snook fired an unbelievable score of 800-62x while laying the smack down on his competition. Bob Mead was next at 795-40x, while Steve Ernst took top FTR honors with his 794-43x.
On Sunday, Sandy seeded the match based on Saturday’s scores. That meant I would get to shoot next to living legend Steve McGee all day! While this is always a pleasure, I also felt the pressure throughout the day watching Steve shoot 10’s and X’s all day only one target over! I had to make a conscious effort to avoid the scoreboard all day to keep my head clear of distraction. I did a good job of managing the pressure in the first 2 matches by shooting cleans with 13 and 16 x’s, but I didn’t see Steve drop any points either, and he was breathing right down my neck. In the 3rd match, I was cruising along piling up x’s when suddenly an unexpected 8 showed up at 9 o’clock on my target. There was no wind to cause that, so I had to admit to a mental error for the 2-points lost. I finished the string with 17 x’s, one 10, and the lousy 8 for a score of 198-17x. Dumb. I was pretty sure I saw Steve drop at least 2 points in that string, so I thought I was still ok going into the last match of the weekend. Steve and I wished each other “Good luck” as we got to our mats to finish out the weekend. The favorable condition (and the luck) held just long enough, and we both finished the match with 200’s, along with Jay Johnson (14x) and Pete Desantis (11x). I didn’t find out until after the match was over that Steve had only dropped a single 9 in the 3rd match, so the weekend agg was a dead heat all the way to the last shot! I’m glad I didn’t know, as that may have been just a little TOO much Pressure for me to handle! As it turned out, my 1596-115x was enough to top Steve’s 1596-103x. Mrs. McGee was next at 1594-87x, and Jay Johnson hung on for 4th only 2 points back.
After Randy Snook’s epic 800 on Saturday, he did the only logical thing on Sunday – switched rifles! The new stick didn’t treat him as well, and his 23 dropped points for the day quickly slid him way down in the standings. Bob Mead put on another masterful performance, winning the day with a 791-39x, while Steve Ernst went on to the Sunday FTR win with a score of 794-43x. Solid performances all weekend by both of these guys also put them at the top of the scoreboard for the weekend agg, 1586-79x for Mead, and 1583-76x for Ernst.
As always, Sandy, Bill, John, and the rest of the LRC crew were excellent hosts and ran a great match. The range is always impeccable, and the competition is fierce every time I shoot here. Any time I can sneak away with a win at Lacrosse is a good weekend!
Erik Rhode | President 2017 Palma Alliance