The Federal 400 Shoot

The Federal 400 Shoot

Musings of the Rookie Part 6

Author:  Rob Ridley, Rookie

Well, I just finished the Federal 400 at Silver Willow and as the adrenaline fades, I’m too tired to mow the lawn {smirk} so it seems like a good opportunity to share the journey once more. As a bit of a spoiler, since I type mostly with one hand and two fingers, the other hand is holding a celebratory glass of rum and coke. 

I’ve been looking forward to this shoot because Silver Willow is always a great experience both for facilities and for the show they provide. I’ve been working on my technique for… ever, and more so leading up to the shoot. In particular, I’ve been wondering, if I can hit a target, why can’t I hit it every time. If I keep my plan and pre-shot routine the same every time, the pair I’m shooting is the same every time. If I change my plan or my hold point or break point, it becomes an entirely new pair – and consistency suffers. 

The weather forecast for Saturday was calling for ‘a few showers’. Ha! That’s like saying Canadians are subject to a few taxes. Half the squad I was going to shoot with cancelled their registration. Out comes the rain gear. Hands and body were insisting on tensing before the damp cold. Water spots on glasses. What is this? Duck hunting? Silly grins between squad mates as we try to shoot a high overhead tower bird – looking straight into the falling rain. It’s kind of neat – but also distracting, that you can actually see the shot cloud pass through the downpour. 

The presentations were a perfect mix of “feel good,” “interesting,” “deceptive,” and downright “you gotta be kidding!” Josh and team are creative target setters. They also planted two “flash targets” for bonus money. Now, there were something like 20,000 targets thrown, but by some freak chance, the same guy got BOTH flash targets. He went home rich beyond his wildest dreams. Well…. Maybe not quite. 

Day 2 we were singing, “I can see clearly now, the rain is gone.” Hey, there are worse songs to get stuck in your head. Gentle breezes and warmer temperature greeted the shooters. Survival mode was over and jovial fun was the order of the day. Two of my squadmates were new to me and I feel like we’ve been friends forever. Food was great as always. (There was some spice in those baked beans.) 

It was a good shoot for this rookie as far as performance goes. Top of my squad (by a squeaker) and my best competition performance ever (287/400). I won NSCA E class (first place of two shooters). Second in CNSCA C class. That warranted this rum and coke but fell short of the requirement for a wee dram of single malt. 

Thanks to Silver Willow for hosting this shoot and to Federal for 25 years of sponsorship and all the complementary ammo handed out. Also thanks to Kurtis Kristianson – Spindrift Photography for the awesome pictures on Facebook. He offers professional mounted prints that will surely tempt you. 

Rob Ridley

Rookie!

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