2019 North Dakota State Mid-Range Championship & Bruce Alexander Memorial XTC Match - Memorial Daivid Disrud Range - Rolla, ND
Fall in North Dakota is a fickle time. While ladies are excited about pumpkin-spiced everything, the average male is looking forward to cooler days and different hunting plans in the coming months. The last weekend in September has been the Bruce Alexander Memorial XTC Match for over 30 years. In recent times, with the growth of prone shooting, the ND Mid-Range Championship was added on to this weekend event. The Rolla Range is situated in a pasture on private land, with trees on both sides of its eight firing points. The plan for 2019 was to have a vintage match followed by a leg match on Friday, the state mid-range championship on Saturday, and finish the XTC season off on Sunday. The weather all week looked dismal with falling temperatures, rain, and of course frost, all played into the forecast. We also planned to equip the range with ShotMarker targets for the mid-range event.
Friday was cool and damp, but still allowed competition to take place. I did not get results of the vintage match, but we had seven non-distinguished shooters show up to allow a 6-point leg to be up for grabs in the EIC match. Kohl Klein came out of summer hibernation to don a service rifle again, but the lack of practice held him back. Tom Headrick shot consistently all day and with a 474 took the leg to add to his previous 8-pointer from a couple years ago. 14 is almost half way to the needed 30 points for Distinguished Rifleman. The main part of the story was we had 3 new shooters on the line - Ryan Holien recruited two of them; Todd Klingenberg and Lucas Holien, while match director Coby brought Cole Haberstoh. Without these recruits we would not have been able to give any points. Well done guys on bringing more people to the sport - and the new shooters did pretty darn decent with quality scores too! After the matches were concluded, Shotmarkers were installed by a group of us. Garald Wise and Wayne Backes brought a couple systems to add to Russ Theurer and mine so we could test targets. What we found was the Styrofoam backers of the really well-built targets Rolla uses causes interference issues with the generation 1 systems that Russ and I have, but seemed to work fine with the newer generation targets that Garald and Wayne brought. At least we tested on Saturday so we knew we had an issue and would not be able to use all 8 targets without pulling on Saturday.
Saturday morning arrives with a very light frost, the forecast looks positive to complete our firing before any rain. We finish setting up a couple more targets and decide to only use 5 main targets with new generation hardware, and another that worked well in testing. Relays were broken up so that shooters of like rifle type would be on the line together. A little after 10am we started firing. First to the line were sling shooters firing the only match with required iron sights. The wind was light with hardly any mirage visible. I planned to use my Palma gun all day, but had not finalized my plan for iron sights or any sights on the last two matches. As firing started, I shot enough sighters to get centered and then went for record. I was able to string some X’s together, but would then do the same with 10’s. But, as is most important I was able to get all the points, and the only sling shooter to do so. Russ Theurer had forgotten about the need for one match with irons and didn’t have that sight system along, but being crafty he borrowed a state Palma rifle from Ryan Karrar and proceeded to drive it to a 13X, 199. Nice showing for a gun he didn’t plan on shooting! I have been training lately with Tom Thompson on Monday nights, when the Quadlite 240NMC gets broke out I have seen him shoot some crazy good groups at 600 and even 1K. Sight system doesn’t matter, iron or scope that gun is shooting better than anything I have currently. I was expecting a BIG push from my mentor, but the “gremlins” got Tommy as he finished his string of fire he found his rear sight to be loose... We have all had it happen to us, and thus those wide shots had an explanation. Neil Jensen shooting a .223 bolt gun started the day off well with a 197-6X. Down in the combined EX/MA class Ryan Karrar took back his state Palma gun and fired a solid 197-7X, just ahead of 196’s from Dan Marquart and Travis Jorgenson.
Match 1 for F-Class saw a blast from the not too distant past - Brian Suhr showed up to show us he still knows how to drive his Savage F-Open gun. He cleaned match 1 with 7 x’s, while Garald Wise fired his own Savage to a 198-12X and Troy Goltz his Bat to a 199-8X. In FTR, Professor Drew started his roll of domination with a 195-8X.
Match 2 - All the sling shooters changed over to glass except me. I heard my friend Palma Guru Erik “Prince Taco” Rhode whisper to be a man and shoot the Palma gun as it should be. I had practiced a little bit with my scope but just didn’t feel my shot execution was where it needed to be with the dot. The wind was still calm in match two, and the targets were so well lit I put on a blue filter in my rear iris to reduce the glare. I shot 3 x’s for sighters and went for record- a pair of 100-7X’s got me through clean with 14. Neil J also had 14X, but a lone shot ended in the 9 ring. Tommy got the 240NMC back on track with 13X, but like Neil a single shot was outside of the 12” 10 ring. Duane Holien also sported a 199, but with 9X's. Coby shot 13X’s but let two shots drift into the nine ring for a 198-13X. Down in the master class, Travis Jorgenson shot his heavy barreled 6.5 Swede to a match category win of 197-10X, Ryan Karrar just a couple points back with a 195-11X. On the F-Class, side Troy Goltz goes clean with a 200-12x, Garald and Brian S both lose a couple points with 198’s, and Dr. Drew shoots a very nice 198-13X to claim the FTR Match 2.
Final match of the day - The winds have built a little bit but are still manageable. I shot a pair of deep X’s and decided to go for record. I was 8 shots in with 6Xs when a 9 showed up just out at 4... Hmmm, I must have gotten on the trigger too much. A couple more X’s and a 9 just our at 12... Now I am concerned… A couple more 10s and a 9 out at 6…. WTH???? I get mad at myself and finish out but let a really good opportunity to get away finishing with a 197-10X. There were 3 199’s fired and a 200 from sling shooters. Russ piled up 16X’s, but a single 9 on shot two took his clean. Neil Jensen got a 199-10X as did Ryan Holien with 8X. But Tommy got the final match win with a 200-7X. Three 198’s existed in the MA/EX class with Travis Jorgenson taking it with 11X, followed by both Ryan Karrar and Dan Marquart with 7X each.
On to F-Class - Garald Wise showed everyone how to get it done with a dandy 200-15X. Brian Suhr was not far behind with a 199-11X and both Wayne Backes and Larry Brice had 198’s. Drew continued his FTR streak with a 199-8X.
As the results were tabulated, the targets were taken down and put away - We all really appreciate the help on setup and takedown when everyone chips in. Coby Dalgliesh and Andy Johnson took turns herding the cats and calling the line. I was able to claim the ND State Sling Champ with a 597-34X, and Russ Theurer a point back with 37X’s. It was close! F-Open, Brian Suhr had the points with a 597-27X, with Garald well ahead in X’s with 36, but needed one more point for the aggregate. Dr. Drew cruised to the aggregate with a 592-29X.
Many shooters gathered in town for a prime rib dinner at the North 40 Restaurant, and many of us gathered for breakfast the next day as well to watch the rain come down and have the Bruce Alexander Match postponed until Spring of 2020.