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4th Annual Challenge - 2000
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Ed Middleton
Winner

Ed Middleton, with Dyan Rochelle as his perennial spotter, captured the top prize, and the bronze, at the 4th Annual, Millennium Edition, of the East/West Challenge Match, hosted by BPCR, Inc. of Miller, Kansas. Again, I can’t thank Ron Harris and BPCR, Inc. enough for conducting a classy, smooth running match.

The West again won top honors, besting the contingent from the East. In their defense, the East only had 6 competitors this year and none of them were classed higher than AAA while all of the West’s group were Masters. That’s pretty tough odds to overcome.

Yours truly, your intrepid editor, was one of the members of the West team and actually managed to win the 3rd High Master for the first day’s shoot, and the 3rd High Master Aggregate for the entire tournament.

Did I mention the wind? For some reason known only to God and BPCR, Inc., we managed to miss the customary rain on the plain (apologies to Eliza Doolittle) and had fairly mild winds for the first day’s competition. As a result, some pretty impressive scores were posted for the first day of shooting.

We did have some interesting wind pop up in the afternoon and the day’s entertainment was provided by Paul and Christa Walker. They had arrived in Paul’s pick up truck and their shooting gear was wrapped up in plastic garbage bags. About 1:00PM, a sudden gust and swirl of wind inflated two of the trash bags and with afternoon heating, those black "hot air balloons" ascended to about 2,000 feet before floating back to earth about 2 miles away.

Any one at the match who suffered one of those ill-timed high misses only had to look at those garbage bags floating aloft to understand there were some weird winds at work. This was only a precursor of things to come.

As mentioned, all good things must come to an end. Day 2 arrived after some gentle showers during the night. The wind was out of the southeast and blowing gently about 3-5 mph. Just enough to move the smoke off of the firing line and allow unimpeded firing.

By the time the 2nd stage came along, the wind had switched to a gentle breeze from the north west. Can anyone say "Norther arriving?"

By the time stage 3 arrived, our gentle north west breeze had given birth to a 15-20mph gale blowing across the range. Couple that with switches from straight across the firing line to straight in the face, wind calls were becoming a guessing game. Unfortunately, I had turkeys during that lovely breeze and coupled with generally poor sighting conditions on the berm, managed only 4 of the slim critters.

Lee Shaver, with his .45-100 suffered a similar fate on the same bank of animals. He had a favorable condition and ran the first 5 animals. By the time the target setters had returned from their chores, there had been a 5 minute change in wind conditions and Lee never found the animals again.

This all goes to show you how well Ed and Dyan work together as team. Even though Ed will usually fire his 5th shot with one second to spare, all the while Dyan counting down the seconds from 10, 9, 8 ... and so on, he managed to post a 30 on both days of competition, easily besting his closest competitor.

I might also mention, that Ed had to use Dyan’s rifle to finish the competition as he had some form of mainspring problem which prevented his rifle from firing during the 2nd relay of the final day.

For those of you who think that you need heavy artillery to combat big wind, you would be mistaken based on Ed’s choice of caliber. Both he and Dyan shoot a .40-65 and their rifles have identical chambers so he can load ONE version of ammo. This allows their rifles to be interchangeable and the "little" .40-65 displayed extremely good wind holding characteristics, as witnessed by the final day of competition.

I probably won’t have the final stats from BPCR by the time this newsletter must be mailed but you can check out the web site in June as I am going to post all of the East/West competitions on our site.

While the West remains heavily represented, the turn-out from the "East" was extremely light this year. We need to encourage the guys and gals East of the Mississippi to come over and experience this tournament. The match is extremely well organized and enjoyable to shoot.

Trust me! The tornadoes are only an occasional thing and did not rear their ugly spouts this year. In fact, while Matt Carter and I were headed north to Miller, we could see the tornado chasers headed south towards Oklahoma. We figured that was a good omen.

Looking forward to next year’s edition of the East/West Match and hopefully, we can encourage or cajole some more from the East to attend. It’s certainly not as far to Miller as it is to Raton and the match is certainly well worth the trip.

Tom Berwick

 

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