Preface: When I get to an AS range that allows pictures, there will be new avatar. Until then, I'll be mindful of my roots.
This event marks a new high water line for me, both as an instructor (for obvious reasons) and for the amazing and uplifting performances by each attendee.
Adam and Jeanine had clearly been practicing and to good effect. Congratulations to Adam on his patch and for electing to don the Orange hat. When Jeanine's rifle stays assembled next time I have no doubt she'll turn a performance equal to or surpassing Adam.
It was pleasure to meet Al and have an opportunity to chat off the line (I'm wearing my Five Fingers as I type this
). My one piece of advice is to concentrate on relaxing your support hand, or setting up your rifle so that you can, and 7th stepping some of your Trooper buddies. (Three types of people...)
Were there ever a bigger set of eyes waiting expectantly for their score announcement? Congratulations, Lawrence, on a 222 at your second Appleseed, and with a bolt action rifle to boot. Beware the man with one gun...
Brady (my son) will get there as soon as you relax, adjust and trust your NPOA, and don't fuss the shot!
Heather turned in one of the most impressive standing sections I've ever seen. Not only was it a perfect 50, but the group in total was no bigger than 2.5-3 inches. Outstanding job, now to drill getting into position within time constraints. Master that and you'll have no problem at all.
Congratulations to Jason on his Rifleman score and, even more impressively, his gumption on taking the opportunity after the shoot to propose to Heather, his girlfriend of 2 years. There was a bit of argument as to which instructor was so inspirational as to cause such an event. Ultimately we agreed that it must be Heather herself that deserves the credit. "Can I have my balloon back?" "Not yet"
Mike and Mark - I could see you both really absorbing the instruction and integrating it well. The improvement you two showed this weekend was an impressive feat all on its own. I hope we can see you both again. Special thanks to Mark for making the drive for Portland OR!
I know you had some difficulty with the transitions Pat, but I'm glad you asked for an accommodation and I'm even gladder that you stuck it through. You had a great attitude and it was a pleasure to have you.
To Chris and Robert, as noted above you two are excellent marksmen but, more importantly, are excellent people. It's always great to have you on the line.
For our youngest shooter (by a wide margin) Jack; you are a fine, upstanding young man. Perfectly safe at every moment, willing to help at all times, I'm happy you were able to attend.
Mike R., it's safe to say I regret turning down your offer to fire the FAL (what was I thinking?). Thanks again for being super helpful, showing up early and staying late. You were a great source of positivity on the left end of the firing line. I was privileged to be present for the day you shot Rifleman AND accepted the orange hat. I look forward to seeing you on the line.
I'm doing this all from memory so, if I have missed anyone, please don't feel slighted. This event was truly jam-packed with memorable events (can anyone else claim a proposal at their shoot?) and all of you factored into the great experience in one way or another. We'd be standing around for hours twiddling our thumbs if not for you so heartfelt thanks for "getting off the couch", learning about our shared heritage, and putting it into practice by slinging copious amounts of lead downrange.
To my fellow instructors; Al, Jay, Nick, Earl; to the Shoot Boss; Kenjo; and to new fellow volunteers; Heather, Adam, and Mike; See you on the line!