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3rd Annual Challenge - 1999
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Steve Graebner
Victorious

Did you ever hear the one about Dorothy and the big tornado up in Kansas? We didn’t have a tornado during our 2 day’s worth of shooting, but we had about everything else. Friday practice gave just a taste of things to come, although the wind was tolerable, about 7-11mph from the East.

Ever mindful of the vagaries of weather, my resident weather wart (Marilyn McMillin) kept me apprised of the fact that the forecast called for the possibility of a little rain on Saturday morning. We awoke to thunder, lightning, and oh yes, rain. As a matter of fact, the rain delayed the start of the match until a little after 9:30am and by the time it let up, we had us a regular hog waller to plod through. It stayed overcast the entire day and by the time we finished about 7:00pm, it was getting pretty dark. Yaupon Creek was represented by Katha Higginbotham, Roger McMillin and Tom Berwick with Dave Higginbotham doing some of the spotting duties. Katha had a terrible time with barrel leading and it was determined that undersized wads were the most likely culprit allowing gas cutting of the bullet.

As a result, Katha scored a so-so 15 the first day as she and Dave never knew where the bullet would land. Roger McMillin, the silver fox, shot a respectable 20 and Tom Berwick managed a 24 for the first day’s competition. While not finishing in the prize hunt for the day, both were satisfied with their scores considering shooting on a new range for the first time and the wind conditions.

Did I mention WIND? On Sunday morning, we were met with the wind directly out of the south, at our backs pretty much, and the day starting out overcast and with gusty winds from 8-12mph. This was just a taste of things to come. As the day progressed, the overcast grew thinner and the wind grew stronger. By the time Tom shot at chickens, southerly gusts were reaching the 25mph range on that barren firing line. There is nothing to break the onslaught unless someone happens to walk behind you as you shoot.

Roger & Tom both managed a score of 22 on the final day and where extremely happy to do so. Roger managed 2 chickens by "firing as the chicken passed through the sight" and Tom was skunked. Never can get settled in during strong wind conditions. It’s amazing how much swing the end of the barrel can get while your body is swaying in the wind.

We had a shoot-off between 2 AAA shooters for the Championship. These guys will not remain AAA much longer. I should mention that on day 1 there were only 2 Master Class scores recorded and interestingly enough, 4 on the final day during the high wind.

The shoot-off occurred between Steve Graebner and Richard Brinkman. BPCR, Inc., the host club, has the shoot-off occur on chickens, but each competitor is allowed to shoot a standard 7:30 minute run on sighters and chickens. As I recall, Steve managed 1 hit out of 5 and Richard got the egg. In their defense, the wind was gusting about 25-30mph during that string of fire.

A tie had to be broken on the high chicken count between Mon Yee and a little known female shooter by the name of Dyan Rochelle. Dyan is generally the high woman in every tournament she enters and was tied with 6 chickens apiece with Mon. The 7:30, 5 chicken format was followed once again in the strong wind conditions. Dyan experience the same problem as Richard Brinkman with the dancing targets but Mon Yee nailed 2. Mon has only been shooting about a year now and is going to be a force to be reckoned with in this sport.

For his efforts, Mon was awarded a very nice Harold Forcum line box. Don’t feel sorry for Dyan though. As high woman, she was presented with a very nice .22 Ballard courtesy of our good buddy, Steve Garbe and Ballard Rifle Company.

This was an enjoyable match to attend and compete in and if you have the opportunity and can garner one of the limited 80 shooting spots, I strongly recommend this tournament. You’ll have a good time.

Tom Berwick

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