It’s a bright spring day, and I’m enjoying the shade of a rather large maple tree near the firing line at Fort Shenandoah. The second phase of the musket team matches is underway and I can see the methodical puffs of dust on the backstop as bullets whiz and caps are snapped…
It’s been one hell of a weekend, the weather was wonderful! Not a drip of rain, wonderful blue skies, and not too hot. My only complaint is the dust kicked up as cars roll past.
The shooting was excellent, we had plenty of calm mornings for individual shooters, and mild days for all our team events, and the special events were awesome!
Just a Spectator Like the Rest
I really loved the Last Man Standing event Friday, I of course did a video of this event which I hope to release soon. It was great to see all the support for the participants in the spectator area. The ooohs and ahhhs told a very good story with every hit and miss.
The Night Artillery Match was very cool. There were a ton of spectators for that event as well, an impressive sight to see. Seeing live artillery fire after dark really gets your blood pumping, the guns seem louder somehow, and seeing the orange flicker of the cannon fire for the 20 minute or so length of the match was very satisfying.
I’ve yet to see any scores from the night cannon match, but I’m told that there was an unbreakable tie for first place in that match. After breaking two milk jugs, each crew fired a shot at a bullseye target, a 100 yard musket target I believe. The team with the closest hit to the center would be declared the winner. Imagine that, the two best bullseye targets of the evening had identical hits!
I did so many things and saw so much my head is swimming a bit!
I’m exhausted, I was here Tuesday to prep our campsite and do some chores, back on Thursday to shoot my musket and Henry in individuals, as well as mow the grass at our camp, then back Friday and Saturday with my wife and two boys, and today it’s just me, cleaning up and shooting some photos.
Fitting It All In
I love Nationals, there is no place I’d rather be, but I think I’ll need to do a few things differently next October.
First, I had broken camera gear Friday, the lens covers refused to retract on my video camera, I had to jam them open with a blade of grass. I’m without my Canon Powershot, since my kids decided to use it as a hammer a few weeks ago. At least my trust SLR still gets great shots!
I feel like I wish I did more, but I don’t think I really could. We really cram a lot of events into this little weekend.
I remember back when I used to roll in Friday night at a National, shoot cannon on Saturday, Musket on Sunday, and go straight home. I’m a long way from those days now!
I also miss campfires, I live in Martinsburg now, just 30 minutes from the Fort, and we always go home at night, it’s hard to resist the hot showers and other comforts of home. Back when we were “forced” to camp at our campsite we always had nightly campfires if the weather was good.
These days my wife and I make special plans to come to the Fort to have a campfire, and that’s nice, but it’s just not the same as having 20 friends hooting and singing in the evening, with the sounds of fife and drum in the distance. Even the occasional rebel (or yankee) yell was a welcome sound in the night.
But I’ve got an awful lot to cram into the next 18 weeks before we do it all again! Clean out and refill those gun boxes boys, there are lots of clays left to break!
PS: Join me again tomorrow as I attempt, perhaps foolishly, to make a post each night with continuing 125th Nationals coverage! I’ve got a Rants & Raves article coming, also a Last Man Standing video, a Night Cannon Match video, and a bunch of interviews coming! Wish me luck!