Perry On The Prairie - Rolla, North Dakota
For the last several years, intrepid Northerners have gathered with their XTC rifles to battle for the coveted Perry on the Prairie Championship. The three-day aggregate on a protected range that actually faces the correct direction, North, has given many locals a chance to earn their HM classification. Rolla is an 8 point range that is literally built on a pasture. This year you had to be careful where you stepped, or you'd be cleaning your shoes of a splendidly fresh cow pie. Coby Dagliesh has been continually upgrading the facility, and this year he added dirt to the 300 and 600 yard lines. The grass had not yet started growing, and because of recent rains the lines were literally dirt. However, as resourceful as we ND’s are, tarps were brought out and everyone stayed relatively clean.
Work kept me away from competing on day one, which is too bad, as conditions allowed the highest scores of the weekend. Russ Theurer started out hot with a 195-5X standing, but didn’t want to increase that score for sitting and decided to duplicate it with a 195-5X… with a 5 mind you. Tom Thompson got the 200 rapid win with a near perfect 199-12X. Back to 300, Russ got the win with a fine 200-14X! Duane Holien, a several time POTP winner, got the final stage win with the only clean of 200-12X. Russ was the winner of the day with an excellent 788-33X. If that 5 had not appeared, the state record would have been crushed.
Day two arrives to wind, wind, and a little more wind. It was cooler, but the wind was mostly from the south and right up from behind us. Even in standing, it was blowing 12-15 MPH! When it did calm down between shots, I found myself grabbing the trigger and shooting 9’s when 10’s could have been had. Coby D was rolling through standing and looking to shoot in the 90’s. Unfortunately, one lone shot found its way into the rhubarb and he had to settle for a 177-3X. Tom Thompson got the standing win with a 187-4X - a good start for the conditions. Sitting saw the past AMU pistol shooter Travis Jorgenson show all of us rifle shooters how to do it with a 199-13X.
Back at 300, I got on the winner board and shot my first competition clean at 300 with a 200-10X! Scopes truly have changed XTC - not better or worse, just way easier to shoot a good score now than when irons were required. Back at 600, Russ shot his 75 grain Berger VLD’s to a 200-8X from his .223 match rifle. Day two aggregate was none other than Travis Jorgenson showing consistency is key, and he put up a good aggregate in tough conditions with a 778-2X.
Sunday was a little warmer with winds lighter and out of the west. The range is well protected in this condition, so it was fun to see who could pull off the aggregate win. Standing again, Russ showed off a great start with a solid 194-7X. Sitting, Tommy T left no points on the board with the only clean with a 200-9X. At 300 Russ claimed the X crown of the 3 rapid fire cleans fired by Russ with 12X's, Tom T with 7, and myself with 7.
Back to 600, I shot quickly, but got caught one time with my own 75VLD’s for a mid ring 9 at 3:30. All others were 10’s and X’s for a 199-11X. Tommy had a 199-10X, and Russ had a strange shot show up for no reason. The day 3 agg went to Tommy T with a fine 787-26X - he only lost 1 point after standing. Well done Tom! I got second for the day with a competition personal best 786-30X. If I can get my sitting figured out, I might actually be decent at this game.
All shots were fired, the range taken down, and the grand aggregate winner fired the cannon one last time to signal the match finality. Tommy T for the aggregate win with a 2345-93X - well done! It was good being amongst friends and having some time in the outdoor sun.
Many of us will battle this coming weekend again at the Grand Forks Regional - 80 shot XTC on Saturday, Leg and Garand match on Sunday. Give Denny Coulter a call to get registered!