This is the slowest time of the year. Fun shoots and meat shoots are done for the year. ATA shoots are still on the horizon, the first ones being at Purgatory Gun Club. They have a two-day shoot in late February and then a three-day shoot in late March. Then we are off to the races.
If life is back to normal, and you feel like traveling, there are some large shoots in other states. The Spring Grand in Tucson during mid-February is always a nice destination point to get out of the deep freeze of Utah. Then, in mid-March, there is the Southern Grand in Florida as well as the Florida State shoot.
The State Association Officers met in Mid-January to discuss the upcoming year as well as preparing for the State Shoot. This year, Vernal Rod and Gun Club will host the State Shoot from June 23-27.
Be sure to check out the USTA home page at utahtrap.com for a list of all scheduled Utah shoots this year. This is a great time to sit down with family and friends and plan a shooting schedule for the year.
Hopefully, by the time we go to some shoots, we can find some ammo to use. For various reasons, ammo is very elusive right now.
Soon I will be heading south to Tucson to shoot the Spring Grand. With any luck, the temps will be up, and the Covid will be down. Usually, at this shoot, the Western Zone delegates get together and discuss the zone shoot scheduled for July 16-18 at various clubs throughout the West, agree on the trophies, and discuss any other issues that may arise.
In addition to shooting, I also find time to visit and play cribbage with my squad-mates. This is always one of the high points of the shoot, other than the competition itself. My main squad-mates are Charlie Bickle, Steve Williamson, and Charlie Long. They are an interesting bunch of guys, all as different as night and day.
Bickle is from Illinois and always has the “Howdy Doody” smile on his face. He used to have the same type of personality as Mr. Doody, but alas, our squad has corrupted him.
Charlie has a total of 386,700 lifetime targets.
Steve Williamson has recently moved to the Tucson area after spending about 50 years in California.
Approximately 15 years ago Steve got a detached retina in his right eye, thus he was quite blind in that eye. Rather than give up on shooting, he switched to shooting left-handed. Two years later, he found a doctor that could fix the detached retina, and lo and behold, he switched back to shooting right-handed. By the way, he did break several 100 straights in singles while shooting left handed.
As if that wasn’t enough for one person to go through, about eight years ago while out walking his dog Bam,he was run over by a car. After approximately five months in the hospital and a rehab center, Steve was back on the line firing away with us. The first couple years after the accident, he had to shoot from a stool, and on occasion still does when the wind gets bad. Because of the nerve damage to his legs, he has a poor sense of balance. The wind seems to play havoc with him.
Every year on the anniversary of his accident, his wife Eileen cooks him a special meal that she calls the “Road Kill” special.
Most people would have quit shooting long ago, but as Steve points out, shooting was always his plan “A," and that he never had a plan ”B.”
Steve has a total of 855,900 lifetime targets.
Charlie Long, a long-time Texan, after being raised in Chicago, owns the Metro Gun Club outside of Hou-ston. He is very rarely home to shoot his club because he is on the road all the time shooting other clubs. Charlie probably has shot in more than 35 states, thus he has more friends than all of us put together. People are always stopping by his motorhome to say hi to him. A couple of years ago, Charlie was inducted into the ATA Hall Of Fame.
He has a total of 1,221,800 lifetime targets and leads the nation in handicap and doubles targets.
My totals are child's play compared to Williamson’s, and Long’s, a meager 387,150 (almost identical to Bickle’s number).
That gives our main squad members a total of 2,851,550 targets. Boy, that is a lot of money flying out the end of our barrels. Please don’t tell my wife!
The photo below which I call “Hear No Evil, See No Evil, and Speak No Evil” shows in order, Williamson, Bickle, and Long.