Ok, so it’s not the end of the world, at least not yet, thankfully. The theme of the Columbia Cascade Section USPSA Championship match was a bit of tongue in cheek fun themed around the notion of the impending end of the world according to the Mayan calendar. With stage names like “The Locust Are Here” and “Attach Of The Squirrels” setting the tone of the match we were all prepared to do battle for the 10 stage, 245 round championship match.
The match was held in Albany, Oregon at the Albany Rifle and Pistol Club (which has one of the nicest set of match bays I’ve ever seen) and with over 130 shooters, competition was stiff. Even with all of the competitors and all of the stages the match ran very smoothly and we actually ended a little earlier than scheduled, so kudos to the match directors and all of the people who ran the show!
Even though the match ran extremely well, it was still a long hot day of shooting and we were all feeling it as we neared the end of the day. This was my first USPSA championship match (i.e. non club match) and I didn’t really know what to expect, but other than a lot of team jerseys and paint on the steel between the shooters, for the most part, it was pretty much a club match with 4 extra stages. One thing I did notice was how the pressure of a championship match took it’s toll, mentally, on some of the shooters. It was fascinating to see how much of the game was mental for some of the top shooters and the impact it has on some of them. As a lowly C class shooter I guess I never really had to deal with that kind of stress, I’m just happy to be there, not DQ, and not make any egregious errors. I basically just focus on moving fast and shooting slow, slow enough to shoot all A’s with a clear front sight. If I can do that there really isn’t any pressure, I shoot as fast as I can shoot A’s. I figure if I always shoot A’s the speed with slowly trickle in to my game and I’ll move up over time. At least that’s the theory. I did shoot very consistently from stage to stage and wound up getting 212 A’s, 6 B’s, 11 C’s, and 1 stinking M where I didn’t notice I hit just inside the black.
It was also interesting to see some competitors shoot in control part of the time and do really well and them blaze through a stage as fast as they could pull the trigger and spend a ton of time making up shots and getting poor hits. I really find the mental aspect of the game infinitely fascinating. I love that when the timer starts everything else just fades away and for a few seconds at least, you’re truly in the moment. I’m pretty sure a plane could crash behind me and it wouldn’t register until I was finished with the stage, at least when things are right and I’m shooting in “the zone.” Like I said, I really do find the mental side of the game infinitely fascinating.
So I made through my first “real” USPSA Championship match, didn’t DQ or buckle under the pressure, and surprisingly enough took home a nice litte plaque for 2nd place in my class/division. And most importantly I had great time and hope to do it again…before the world ends! 😉