The First National HDBF Shotgun Championship
It is no secret that shotgunning is a very important part of my life and that I get really annoyed with activities that interfere with my shooting, be it bird hunting or clay shooting, even if I miss more than my share of both kind of birds, the soft feathery ones or the hard clay pigeons.
It also should be no secret that I have a "corporate life" (whatever that may be), and that this means substantial amount of traveling and meetings, but for the most part I was able to fit in some amount of shotgunning after working hours. During the short but great year that I lived in Torino, Italy, I was able with the help of my friends Pino Facchini and Vito Benevelli to do a lot of shooting and enjoy many great meals throughout the Piemonte, Lombardia and the Venetto.
My current job takes me multiple times a year to southern Brazil, and in Caxias do Sul - RS I found the fantastic Clube Caxiense de Caça e Tiro where I made good friends, was treat to more great meals, and found an infrastructure that second to none in Brazil and fully comparable to the clubs I used to visit in Italy.
I was even able to get some bird hunting during the odd business trip or even when getting acquainted with new business partneres, but the "places" that would keep me away from shotgunning were conventions and business forums, that apparently are (or were) totally committed to golf, for whatever reason this may be.
I've never played more than three of four golf games in my life, but to say that this so called sport frustrates me is a gross understatement. The last game that I was forced to play (yes, I was actually forced to participate in a "team building" event that took place in a golf course) frustrated me so much that I threw one of the clubs away in a swamp.
But in the last couple weeks things started to change! I attended two conferences back to back, first in Phoenix, Arizona and then in La Jolla, California, and the rebellion started at these places or events.
As an alternative to golf, in Arizona about 30% (around 65 people) of the participants elected to shoot Sporting Clays at the fantastic Ben Avery Shooting Facility"s Clay Target Center. We shot the "Roadrunner Course" which had some very challenging target presentations, especially if you add the forty mile an hour winds that made the desert even drier. The range provided Beretta A-391 semi-automatic shotguns and Fiocchi one ounce 12 gauge shells. Truly a great combination, and I was told that I shot a 38 out of 50 possible and that I was high gun for the day.
The following week in California I passed on the "opportunity" to play golf at Torrey Pines from where the players have a gorgeous view of the Pacific Ocean and instead got in a bus with a box lunch and eight other brave souls for the hour drive to the P2K Range in El Cajon.
When we got there we had to answer a safety questionaire (actually not a bad thing), rent shotguns, which were a mix and no match of everything from Caesar Guerini (at double the rent of the other guns), through Remingtons, Berettas, CZ's and a single Browning BT-99.
First we shot Trap and there Tim G. (the brave guy wearing a pink shirt in the center of the photo) demonstrated the capabilities of the classic BT-99 breaking 23 birds at trap. The pool shark later disclosed that he grew up on the birth place of modern trap shooting, the State of Ohio, and that at some time in his high school years he was Junior State Champion. Just another example of never to bet on a game unless you know all the players.
Then we shot Five Stand, which was a much more challenging course than I would have given credit to. As not all the shooters in our team were proficient with shotguns we decided to shoot single only and take only one shot per bird. Even with a very humbling 13 I was high gun under the hot and dry California afternoon.
On the way back to Torrey Pines instead of boxed lunches we made sure that we have enough cold beer to quench our thirst and divert our attention from the terrible traffic.
This is it. The rebellion has started. We may be few, but we know that we will prevail as palns are already in place for next year's events. Until there, keep on shooting!