The Toughest Way To Get A Win

Being in college hasn’t stopped me from continuing my path of competitive shotgun shooting. Before moving to Montana for college, I finished up my summer league shooting at home. A lucky part for me is that I found shoots to attend near my new school.

It made me happy because this would be a way I could get away from all the city traffic and crowded sidewalks of campus. Another plus would be that I got to see more of the area around Montana.

I went to Dillon for a short one-dayshoot. I drove down the night before so that I would be rested and ready to shoot the next morning. I ordered dinner, did my homework, then went to bed.

The next morning I woke up refreshed and ready to shoot. I played my pre-shoot iTunes playlist to get in the zone as I prepared for my day. The list consists of AC/DC, Ram Jam, and even some Lenny Kravitz.

I mapped the route to the shooting range, but it took me two tries with the app on my phone to find it. The first attempt took me to the middle of a neighborhood in town. Then, luckily, the second got me right where I needed to be.

I went to register, and an older man was at a table near the door helping shooters fill out their paperwork. I proceed to give him my ATA card and my average card. I told him that in the last shoot I went up a class, but it hasn’t been updated on my card yet.

The man looked at my card and declared, in all seriousness,

“Nope, you’re class D. Learn how to shoot better.”

My eyes widened. I couldn’t believe this man just said that to me. I began to reply when the man behind me in line stepped in front of me, laughing at what the other man had said.

I tried to let it go, but the situation infuriated me. I decided to use it as my motivation to shoot that day.

Soon enough the shoot began. I had to wait a while for my turn, but once I was on the line, I was ready to go. There were three nice older gentlemen squaded with me. We shot our first of four rounds, and I was pleased that I scored a 24, dropping only one bird.  

We went directly into our next round. I shot a perfect 25. I felt great, and prepared to continue the streak.

As we moved to our last 50 birds, I became distracted. Not because of the pressure, or the other people, but there was a herd of deer right out in the field! How could anyone not be distracted by bucks and does right out where you are shooting?

I ended up finishing the last fifty with a singles score total of 93. I wasn’t super happy with it, but I was glad I kept it in the 90s.

Without a break, we jumped directly into our handicap round. It was getting hot, and I felt dehydration coming. I had to go right into shooting. I rushed to get on the line, shot my round and ended up with two 23’s before into the last 50.

Near the end of my third round, I started to feel dizzy and nauseous. I ran to my truck and chugged a bottle of water. I knew what was happening. Dehydration was setting in. I was seeing stars and could barely walk. I sat down and put my head between my knees. I tried to slow my breathing and gather myself for my last round.

After a moment I returned to the line. I shot my first bird with ease, then all of the sudden I was seeing stars again and feeling awful. I had to remember to be safe, so I walked off the line, signaling the scorekeeper.

An older couple asked if I was okay and helped me off the line. The pair put my gun on the rack and helped me sit down in the shade of a tree. I had gotten heat stroke. I was pale and weak. They gave me more water and a cold towel.

My squad ended up continuing to shoot without me for that last round. I figured I would have to take a zero on it and call it a day. Little did I know, the squad I had been shooting with worked things out so that I could finish my round once I felt better.

I ate and drank a lot of water. After a while, I felt strong again and was up to finishing my last handicap round. I went out there all by myself and shot a 23. With what I’d just experienced, the score made me happy. I returned to the shade, rested, and drank more water while I watched the others shoot doubles.

I enjoyed sitting in the shade talking with some of the local old timers from the area. Then they told me that scores our were posted. As I looked for my name, I found it circled, and written beside it, “class winner” and “ladies winner.”

WOW! I couldn’t believe I had won my class and the ladies division. I was so proud and happy.

fullsizeoutput_1d4eDespite the way it began, and the heat, it was such a fun shoot. Everyone ended up being super friendly and couldn’t wait to shoot with me again at the next shoot.

I always learn something at these shoots and this time I learned how to use a hater as a motivator. I also learned that I could overcome anything and succeed in the end.

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