March 2009 Journal

March 1, 2009

Sunday

Shoot off and Awards Presentation Day

Holy Terror beat Badlands Bud in the shoot off. He won nearly everything else.

Results are at: http://www.winterrange.com/2009/2009results.htm

I placed 6th in Frontiersman, better than I have in previous WRs against the biggest Frontiersman field yet. I was quite happy. Four Bucks won again. Judah Macabee was seventh, by rank points, a couple of seconds faster in time. Lefty Gunz-Alas was 12 seconds faster in fifth.

When they gave appreciation awards to the 3 judges, this bothered Rye Creek Roberts more than it did me, enough that he gave me his.

Jack Houston didn't do well. I hope he'll come back for future WRs. It was a great event, 605 shooters who finished (I looked for someone I knew got a match DQ and couldn't find the name, or any other MDQs, so I guess there were more than 605 starters), over 70 vendors. Well organized. Great stages and really great new permanent stages at Fort Sinclair and Coosie's

We didn't decide the shooting costume winners until just before the awards presentation. The photo of El Pueblo changed the men's results. The others hadn't seen him and had picked another excellent costume. But, after seeing El Pueblo, they changed their votes. I hadn't seen Prairie Weet's Cowgirl costume, but, seeing the photo, I went along with their choice. 2nd and third in each category took a while, too. Very hard working costume committee. Cat Ballou said that a roving committee is too much work. I believe her.

The Lady Duelist winners head toward their group photo at the awards presentation

The B-Western winners dance their way to their group photo

February 28, 2009

Saturday

Main Match Day 3

The day the wind came

We heard and felt heavy wind during the night. When we got to the range it was still windy (morning shift). We shot 9-12, with 9, the all-knock down stage last. One stage had a rifle reload, one had a shotgun knockdown that launched a Diet Coke can.

This created a moral dilemma for me. Diet Coke is holy water for my religion.* Defiling holy water by blowing up cans of it is a sacrilege.

* I'm a Druid.

 

 

 

I know what you're thinking:

Funny, you don't look Druish.

Anyway, no particularly good times. No problem with the rifle reload. No problem with the flying Diet Coke can. I knew I hit it when I was showered in Diet Coke.

We ended on Stage 9.

Stage 9, 2 plate racks for pistols, 2 @@%!#!! Fore-to-aft-Plate racks, with smaller and smaller plates. The last ones were playing card size. You could make them up with a rifle reload or with the shotgun. I missed one and did a fair rifle reload. Then failed to knock down (missed) 2 pistol targets and had to make them up with shotguns against a big plate.

The collection of bottles there was one of the "Games Cowboys Play." Larsen E. Pettifogger made several carnival games that were set up near every other stage or so. If you "won" the game you got a ticket for a Ruger. Our posse was too busy for us to get to most of the games. I had one ticket in as a result. The tickets weren't monitored. I guess I could have pulled off a "stretch" and put them in.

Larsen did a great job making the games. He's one of the rangers who spent months working on the event. This was to the detriment of their match performance. Of course, Winter Range couldn't happen without them. They did a fantastic job.

Jack Houston didn't have a great day. At stage 12, the flying Diet Coke can, when he got to the knockdown/popup, the winds came, right in his face, and the knockdown wouldn't budge, even with both barrels. Not a great match for Jack.

I grabbed the roving costume judges when they came through and got them to photograph El Pueblo and Burgundy Ballou. They'd been overlooked. Both were in killer costumes all week

Saturday Night Costume Contest

The judging was 5-7 in the VIP tent. The Margaritas in the VIP tent are TEQUILA and a splash of something else. Last call for dinner occurred while we were still in the judging tent. The Redhead had to get our food. She was not happy about our not being together at dinner.

Fannie Mostly is really into B-Western. She wore a different, complete B-Western outfit every day of shooting. This costume, which won Best Dressed B-Western Lady, wasn't her best. I was quite remiss in failing to get pictures of her red outfit, which was based on the outfits little girls wore at rodeos and such in the late 40s and early 50s. Somewhere there's a picture of me in a boy's outfit of the era when I rode in rodeo parades with my parents before I was 5. Fannie won Best Dressed B-Western Lady.

 

Fannie's boots came off of ebay. Of course

 

 

By now you're probably getting the picture that Best Dressed Lady was a very difficult category to judge

 

There were 2 junior boys, brothers. Somehow I only got one photo. Both from Sweden

Ladies' B-Western was difficult, too

The Ear Lady entered as Best Dressed Sutler

Wow!

 

A Sergeant Major's costume, excellent. As usual in military, we had to get down to little details.

This was entered in Best Dressed Military as a scout's costume for lack of a proper category for someone in buckskins with all hand made accoutrements

Couples weren't easy, either

Silver Heart in her B-Western costume

This couple looked good. Most men are not properly dressed for evening in the era. A frock coat pretty much insists on a top hat, especially at night.No frock coat and Gus hats here

The ever lovely and multi-talented Aspen Filly in a creation of her own. She was a sutler and a shooter, and when she didn't know which category to enter, we suggested Sutler, mostly to protect the other ladies and make our job easier. She won handily

The back of the outfit is stunning, too

The ONLY Best Dressed Soiled Dove entrant. Now look, folks! If you want me as a judge, you're going to have more soiled doves. It's not like you're paying me

Mad Dog Morgan in the uniform of an officer in a little known Australian unit (I didn't take notes). He knew the uniform intimately, including the sword and things that didn't show until he showed us. This is not Mad Dog's first rodeo. He's won costume awards at major matches before

 

 

Note that there are six (6) judges. The men are Rye Creek Roberts, Dark Alley Dave, and Me. The ladies are Mama Quigley, Gail Force, and Tombstone Tilly. You get to figure out who's who. This was an excellent, hard working, dedicated, knowledgeable crew. I repeat, there were 6 of us. I mention this because when the awards were given out, 3 judges were mentioned. 3. The other three, having just spent about 9 extra hours being judges when we could have been relaxing, shopping, or studying the stages, are, well, you can figure it out. In addition to spending a lot of time being a roving judge, I was taken from the posse I wanted, Larsen E. Pettifogger's Black Powder posse and put on another in order to change my schedule. Judges are very hard to get, and this is a major problem with costume contests. We had judges in this group who were well versed in their areas of expertise, and the winners chosen weren't chosen because the women showed the most cleavage, or the guy had the tightest buns. We went into some pretty deep detail in figuring out the winners. Ignoring half of the judges at the awards presentation (none were invited to help in the presentation) won't make it easy to get judges next year.

One last note for prospective contestants:

1. Don't fear the presentation. A good presentation can be: "What would you like to know about my outfit?" Then answer the questions. Know when you are and who you are.

2. Take off your wristwatch and modern eyeglasses.

 

February 27, 2009

Friday

Main Match Day 2

Tex takes care of his posse

Taylor & Co. had a prototype Burgess rifle (as in Colt-Burgess). I'm hoping for an early test sample. Colt had kept the trademark on the Burgess until last year when they let it lapse. Taylor snapped it up

Of course Tex shot gunfighter with full charge .45 Colt Black Powder loads in 7-1/2" barreled Ruger New Vaqueros, .44-40 in his '73, and an '87 shotgun when it worked, a double when it didn't.

Burgundy Ballou, 3 days, 3 different interesting costumes. Shot Ladies Frontier Cartridge

The motor drive just missed it again. I'm opening the shotgun. Next one missed the cases in the air. This is stage 7, my best so far 29.93, third best Frontiersman. Had I just did 90% as well on the other 11 I would have been close to winning. I did on a few, but not enough.

Stage 8, another good one. fifth test.

 

Stage5. This is a few seconds before I earned a safety. See the red board on the table? I didn't. I put the shotgun down with the barrel touching it or over it, not sure. Bad George, Bad.

Of course, if they had mentioned it to me before I left the stage instead of several shooters later, I would have felt better about it. I have this silly hypothetical question. If you're running the timer and the shooter leaves a shotgun pointed down range when he's going to be running down range, or, say, the lever on his rifle closes when it hits something on the table, do you tell him about it or just go on and let him get a penalty? Oh, you didn't see it? Weren't you watching the shooter? Just hypothetical

Shot the last shift. Worked the costume contest the first shift. Long day. Denise "Indiana" Jackson, Michael Bane's impressive assistant, came to me telling me they needed B-Roll film of me shooting black powder. But they were tied up with Tupelo's posse. We were shooting the fastest 4 stages. His posse was shooting the slowest. Thus they missed my lightning run on stage 8 and even my safety-winning run on 5. I had to beg the posse to stay so I could shoot 5 again for them. Good thing I wasn't being timed for real. Slower than any real stage due to a sudden inability to knock down a shotgun target. But we got the film, and they were happy.

Several shooters over for Margaritas, some while I was still cleaning guns in the shop. Happy Jack and his lovely wife were there. Interesting guy to talk to. Aptly named. He is happy.

February 26, 2009

Thursday

Main Match Day 1

Here's someone who won't have trouble finding his gun cart after leaving the unloading table

Jeez. I found this vendor who makes really nice gun carts, and I neglected to take the picture with their sign on it

Prairie Mary, the go-to lady at SASS

Shot in the middle flight. The safety movie at the mandatory safety briefing wasn't as entertaining as last year's. No catchy song.

Brighton Belle and Trusty Dog at the safety briefing

The only people on our posse I know are Jack Houston and Tex. Trusty Dog, president of the WR club, is posse marshal. There are 2 Frontiersmen, El Pueblo (who I've at least met at the Colorado state championship) and me. We were both watched with looks of great suspicion. A couple of the ladies shoot Frontier Cartridge.

Jack Houston demonstrates why stampede strings are a good idea for a match hat.

Things didn't start well. The posse marshal had us shoot in alphabetical order. NOTE TO FUTURE FRONTIERSMEN: Change your alias to something starting with Z. I had been unable to find a place to pop caps, so I couldn't charge pistols. I was popping caps when the roll call started, in fact. I was supposed to shoot second. I'm good at charging ROAs, not that good. I slipped into line as soon as possible. Apparently no one told the poor scorer, who wasn't shooting. When I got up to the line and started trying to get ready to shoot, the timer operator, the posse marshal, tried to (a) hurry me and (b) treat me as if I had never shot a SASS match. I pulled back and stopped the proceedings. A shooter needs to be able to get his head together without harassment. I wasn't "shadow shooting" or pointing my finger or walking the course, I was just standing there trying to remember the course of fire in proper order. The problem was now my mind was blown, and I couldn't get it back. I should have requested to get back into line about 3 shooters down, but I didn't. I shot okay, just about 10 seconds too slow.

But 12 seconds faster than the time recorded on my score card. Eventually this got straightened out and the real second shooter got the longer time, and I got mine.

Great start, Baylor.

It was about to get even better. Still not in total mental control, I shot the second stage and got too close to a fence.

A split second before near disaster. Jack Houston, using motor drive, was getting the whole sequence. I'm reholstering the left (strong side) holster, "looking" it in, and simultaneously drawing the weak hand right pistol. I'm too close to the fence. Unfortunately, what happened next so startled Jack, he stopped shooting.

The muzzle of the gun hit the fence post and tore the gun out of my hand. Somehow the pistol jumped upward, and I caught it in both hands. Between the bump and the catch my entire SASS life passed before my eyes, and I could only think, "This is going to be the most expensive 1-1/2 stage national championship event ever."

But I caught it, and it was still pointed safely downrange, so I continued shooting. It did mess with my head, and I missed with that pistol.

Then came the fun part. Tex came by and asked me if the gun pointed at any bad direction, and I believe several other people questioned me. Things got fuzzy. I was trying to remember if "Loss of control" was still in effect.

Then, sometime in the next hour, someone from another posse complained that I had swept them with that little juggling display (not unless they were downrange at the time). This went all the way to the range master, who told me it was no call. Two of our spotters said I didn't, and the other said he couldn't see.

This all put me in a great mood for the next 2 stages. One was decent, 32 something. With these stages I should be below 35 on all of them. Can you say,"match nerves?"

Better. I've just finished the last rifle shot and already have started to reach for the shotgun with my strong hand while laying the rifle down with my weak hand.

A better picture of Jack Houston, at the instant the shotgun shells came out of the shotgun. For some reason I wanted a picture of me with 2 shells in the air just leaving the shotgun. Using the motor drive camera, Jack got every part of the shotgun reloading process except that--several times

He got this, though. I've inserted fresh rounds and am about to close the shotgun and shoot

Stage 4, I believe, second best Frontiersman at 31.21. Last year 13 contestants dropped loaded guns at WR. At least 2 did this year. Jack and I tried to run with hands on pistols, and the holsters he made have been tested beyond the USPSA test. I fell flat on my face at Old Fort Parker and the guns stayed in their holsters.

Big debate over these bags of "gold." The posse marshals argued over it for an hour. Originally, dropping one or both bags brought a 10 second procedural. Then Happy Jack brought up that if someone dropped one, he would have no incentive to do the rest of the stage correctly. After an hour and three duels to the death they made dropping the bags a 5 second penalty, not a procedural, so you could still get a 10 second procedural for other sins.

Makes you want to be a posse marshal, doesn't it?

Then I met Tombstone Stilly and looked at costumes for a couple of hours. Then I waited for the other judges for a called meeting to look at today's photos. That took till 6:30. Back to the bus to clean guns. Visitors came by for Margaritas. Had one since tomorrow is the afternoon shift.

I'm not sure what she was going for with this costume, but it got my attention

Buffy Lo Gal

Discussed the loophole in the Traditional/WB category with Happy Jack, who is 90% responsible for the rules. The rules require the rear sight to be a fixed sight that fits into the dovetail for the stock sight. If you know 1911s, you know that includes a lot of sights that move the blade to the back of the slide, increasing the sight radius. Additionally, it doesn't look Military. I kept plying him with Margaritas to back up my argument that this is just wrong. If it's allowed to stay, we'll all have Novak rear sights or equivalent.

February 25, 2009

Wednesday

Winter Range, Side Match Day

Wild Bunch Match

Good stages. Happy Jack was posse marshal. As with other WB matches it got more organized as it went along. Contestants not experienced in WB matches learned as they went along. There are still a lot of contestants who don't know 1911s.

The Cowboys TV people pulled me aside to shoot my costume. I wore the Mexican Punitive Expedition uniform.

My weak hand should already have the magazine in it and be close to the pistol

Two Sons was top lady shooter

Warm Up Match

This is inside the fort. I'm trying to stage the rifle VERTICALLY while picking up the shotgun

We shot stages 9-12, different scenarios, of course. We didn't shoot the pop-up soda can. Stage 9 ate my lunch, all knockdowns, with 2 front-to-rear plate racks, the kind with the big front target, and they get smaller until the last one is playing card size. These should all be donated to a scrap drive.