Last month I had the pleasure of shooting the April USPSA Match at Southern Chester County Sportsman’s and Farmers’ Association. For this match, I’ve done something a little different and posted each stage breakdown separately. This has dragged out the posting a bit but the nice thing about it is that posts are now in more manageable bites (Under 1,000 words as opposed to one 4,000 word post)
While the match was a lot of fun, getting there wasn’t. As part of the volunteer crew, aside from helping with stage design, I also arrive at the club early and help setup stages on the 50 Yard Range. This means hitting the road by 6:45m to arrive at the club for the 8:00am setup. I’m a morning person, so leaving early isn’t a problem.
For whatever reason (I can’t remember) I got held up and didn’t get out of the house until about 7:05 and expected to arrive a little later than expected. I got into my car, turned the ignition and saw that my battery light was on. While driving home from work the day before, the light was on for a couple of minutes and went out. I didn’t think anything of it, except that I’d need to keep an eye on my battery and probably replace it before the week was out.
I put the car in drive and was off for a beautiful day of shooting. When I hit the highway, a couple of miles from my house, I was a little concerned that the battery light was still on. I grew more worried a few more miles down the road when it was still on. I began to worry and thought that I’d better turn around before I broke down. Just as that thought crossed my mind, my radio died.
At that point I knew that I needed to get back home. I planned on turning around at an exit a few miles down the road. About half way there, my dashboard started having seizures. My tachometer completely died and my speedometer was jumping between 0mph and 55mph. As I approached the offramp, I flipped on my turn signal and lost my dashboard altogether, and couldn’t get more than move more than 40mph. With my windows up, and with no power to put them down, I began frantically making hand gestures inside my car to try and change lanes for the offramp without someone hitting me.
I limped down the offramp, turned onto a street, found a nearby parking spot, and turned off my car. I got on the phone and called my wife in a panic. With my very first stage being used this match, there was no way that I was going to miss it. My wife then got on the phone and called her parents, to arrange a tow (my father in-law owns a towing business) and to make arrangements to borrow her mothers car.
After the phone calls were made, my wife woke up our sleeping daughter and came to my rescue. I left my car to be picked up later that afternoon and drove my wife and daughter back home. Once they were safe and sound, I borrowed my wife’s mommy-mobile (mini-van) and began the 1 hour and 20 minute drive to Southern Chester.
When I arrived at the club, some time after 9:00am, my stage was about 95% setup. I walked it quickly to double-check that props were in the proper position and helped drive in a few stakes. I felt terrible about arriving so late and not helping with setup, but the guys didn’t seem to mind when I told them my car broke down.
A little while later I walked the stage again with the Match Director. He pointed out couple of tweaks that needed to be made (no-shoot orientations to make sure shooters didn’t even get close to breaking the 180). With the thumbs up from the match director, my stage was good to go and the only thing to do was wait for squadding and the shooter briefing.
Despite the miserable start to the day, I was in high spirits. The weather was beautiful, there were fun and challenging stages that needed to be shot, and most importantly, I wasn’t stranded on the side of the road somewhere.
In terms of the ‘Big Picture’, I shot pretty well and managed a 10th Place finish in Production Division. Looking closer, there were a handful of things that I needed to work on. The most apparent of those things was slowing down and making better hits on target. While shooting fast and loose may keep me among the top “C” Class shooters at local matches, it isn’t going to cut it when I progress to “B” Class.
Walt’s Match Video
10th Place in Production Division
111 A’s | 1 B’s | 40 C’s | 4 D’s | 2 M’s
652 Total Points of a Possible 790 | 83% Total Point Percentage
If you would like to take a closer look at how I performed at the April Souther Chester Match, please take a look at the individual stage breakdowns that I put together. There you will see an outline of my shooting plan, how I performed in regards to that plan, and my results.