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The Outlaw Travis James
by on March 18, 2024
443 views

I really enjoyed being the Range Master at Ides this year.

I got to see and speak with almost everyone during the match. I didn’t enjoy having to DQ folks, but that was an unfortunate part of the job. But because of my extra duties, I believe my last stage (Stage 4) was the most hectic one I’ve ever shot!

As we get done shooting our second to last stage (Stage 3), a stage that I absolutely blistered, winning the stage. Dip, our Unloading Table Officer says “I found a part of someone’s shotgun sitting on the ULT”. I walk over and take it from him and instantly realize it is a 73 firing pin. I then announce to our posse for everyone to check their firing pins and make sure it isn’t theirs. To my horror, as I check mine, I realize my rifle doesn’t have a firing pin anymore. To compound the issue, I had just put my last firing pin in Chickie’s rifle a few weeks earlier, meaning I didn’t have a replacement.

Stage in which my firing pin broke: 

 

I considered shooting Chickie’s rifle, but she shoots a Cody-matic and I shoot a C&I 5th Gen. Not an easy transition, especially on the last stage of your State Championship. Arcadia Outlaw says that he has some extra firing pins in his car. I jump in the golf cart and ride over there to find the pins. After I procured a replacement pin, I went back over to our last stage and proceed in doing a mid match firing pin change out on the unloading table.

As I was about halfway through, my phone rings and I’m informed that I need to go make a call for a posse on the other side of the range. As I was just about done, Greta calls to tell me I had another call to make. I finish up the change out, do a quick function check of the rifle, and headed over to make the calls. As I was going over to the first posse that called, a third posse stopped me to make a call as well.

After finishing the three calls, I start heading back to my posse to finish the match. However, the Range ROs stop me and inform me that my cart has a flat tire. They instruct me to go to the golf building to fill it with air. I ask if it can wait and they both say no. I head to the golf building to get air in the tire. When we get there, the Range RO can’t find an air hose or an air chuck, so I walk over to my posse to check and see how many shooters were left. They were about halfway through our last stage. I go back over to the golf building and find the RO still searching for an air chuck. I start to help him look and eventually find one. As I start filling the tire, I notice he is still searching around for something. I ask him what and he tells me he needs a pressure gauge. I didn’t have time, so I just estimated it with my finger poking the other tire and the flat to make them close.

I then jump in the cart and head back to my posse. I start loading up my ammo block and put on my shotgun belt, filling it with shells. My phone rings again for another call. I head over to the posse and receive a text for another call needs to be made. I take care of the calls and as I am heading back to my posse, the Range Safety Officer stops and says we need to look at a stage (on the opposite side from my posse) because of some damage that occurred during the match. The fact that this posse was finished made me nervous that my posse was done as well. I asked if it could wait for about 15 minutes and he told me it could not. So we head over to look at the damage.

Once that was done, I race (only in my head so I didn’t get in trouble for speeding on the range 🙄) back over to my posse. Upon arrival, I notice that only one shooter remains. As I get there, my phone rings again for another call. I tell the PM that I will be there in a few minutes, but decide to go ahead and finish my match first.

I went through my typical stage prep routine being sure to take my time and not rush. If you have never shot a stage while an entire posse (ours was 25 shooters) stands around waiting for you and congratulating each other for finishing the match, you have no idea what pressure is! As I am loading my rifle, I realize that I’m about to shoot a stage (for the second time in the match) after repairing it without test firing it at all. But, I tell myself “Full send baby. No guts, no glory!” During my last stage of day one, the extractor in my rifle was bent, and I had to change it out Friday night. But I was so busy I didn’t have time to test fire it before the first stage the next day.

Last Stage of Day 1 when my extractor broke:

 

I finish loading my guns and my stage prep and go up and shoot the stage. It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t smooth. But I made it through without incurring any penalties and only a few minor hitches during the run.

Last Stage of Ides of March 2024:

 

This past weekend has given me a new appreciation for how much the match officials go through to host a good match for their guests. I wouldn’t change anything about this weekend. I proved a lot of things to myself in knowing that I’m able to handle all the stress of managing 225 shooters but still being able to settle down and shoot a decent stage. It adds a level of difficulty that could not be explained, only experienced.

The OTJ

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Class act all the way. SDG
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March 19, 2024