A few weeks ago, I had the honor to be part of the pistol instructor team at Hillsdale College in Michigan for the Couples for Liberty program and as luck would have it, the USPSA North Ohio Sectional match, Battle for The Coast II, was happening on the weekend that I would be driving home. (read previous blog here)
The other two Hillsdale instructors, Sheila Hoekstra and Sheila Brey, who also instruct for the Babes with Bullets (BwB) camps and are high level action pistol shooters, took the opportunity of the locale and used it to their advantage to schedule a workshop weekend. This consisted of a day of range training and the following day to actually shoot the match. Perfect! I’m in. After all, I was driving right by on my way home… well, sort of.
You see, my friend Amy, who I met at our first BwB camp, lives right smack in the middle of both the training range and the match range so I could use this excuse to visit with her and catch up on life. She was attending the weekend shin-dig too so I accepted her gracious hospitality. One of the benefits of trying something new is you'll share that experience and it will bind you together and create a new circle of friends.
We used Friday evening as our catch-up night and then off to bed early to get rested for class and the 1-hour drive to the range.
Saturday morning, training day, was an 8 a.m. meeting time at the ORCO Sportsman’s Range in Geneva, OH. The student list was a carefully curated group of ladies. All of us are Babes with Bullets camp alumni, and lived in the acceptable driving area. The moniker of our match squad ‘Battle Babes’ was now official!
The introductions were made and we're ready to go but the weather was not cooperating as it was 90+ degrees and high humidity. Throw in a serious thunderstorm and a lot of bugs, well, you get the picture. But hey, we’re the Battle Babes, we can handle this. Being near the lake does have advantages, the storm came and went fairly quickly.
Our instructors were relentless, taking us through the skills of holster draw speed, Bill Drills and magazine changes along with other personalized drill selections needed to meet the skill-set required of action pistol shooting. Even though I’m at the range A LOT, it is mostly teaching so I was surprised by how much practice I required as I really don’t shoot pistol matches much anymore. By 4pm it was still humid and even hotter and I was getting cranky. But we persevered, made it through the rigors of training and were now heading over to the range where the match is held to do stage walk-through.
Ah, the stage walk-through, my nemesis (next to steel poppers but that’s another story). This is the part I’ve been waiting for. When I look at a stage layout on paper, I’m thinking ‘ooh, that’s looks fun. I’ll start here and go there and do this’.
BUT when I get to the
actual stage, my mind goes blank and I am so overwhelmed that I can’t think straight, so I just wing it. This is where MY training day was going to begin. Sheila H. has the patience of Job as she walks me through, explaining what I should do. FINALLY, it is sinking in, take each segment as its own mini-stage within the actual course of fire (COF) and then move on to the next mini-stage and do that until you’ve completed the entire COF. Now mind you, each stage takes less than 60 seconds to shoot, barring any malfunctions, so there’s a lot happening in that short time. Okay, I’ve had my light bulb moment, I’m feeling good and I’m ready to use my newly learned skill tomorrow.
(Battle Babes: Match Day, to be continued in my next blog)
For more info on USPSA, CLICK HERE