Saturday, August 01, 2015

Cowboy Bling

Coming back through Fort Worth last weekend, Milady wanted to stop at the stockyards and go to a shop she had seen when we were there in April.  Zach, of course, was with us and wanted spurs for his boots.

Zach's other grandad was a rodeo cowboy and had given Zach spurs, but Zach wanted new spurs, and we certainly don't indulge our grandchildren.  So, Zach picked out a pair of spurs, then asked the guy in the shop if he could put larger rowels in the spurs his grandad gave him.  The guy advised against it, because Grandad's spurs are rivited, and taking out the rivet might damage the spur.  Zach agreed, so his grandad's spurs will stay original.

Zach's family has horses, and they ride, so spurs aren't an unreasonable request.  Zach was on horses lonng before he started Fast Draw shooting.

After the club shoot today, a fellow told us that he was selling a holster and asked if anyone would like to buy it.  HE showed it to us.  It's a Mernickle CFD1 REF1, in dark brown, with the gunfighter stitch.  It's been used, not abused and it has that patina that comes from careful use, sun, and sweat.  You can't buy that patina, it must be earned.

All in all, a very nice fast draw rig, and approved by the CFDA for our style of shooting.  It was a no-brainer.  We won't discuss the price, but it was very, very reasonable.  Mernickle makes nice holsters nd they charge a premium for them.

No, it won't fit me, but it fits Milady, and should fit several of the grandkids.  It's going into the spares bag.

Friday, July 31, 2015


Milady and I went over to the local National Guard post this morning.  Got myself a new ID card, and got Milady one too.  Then stopped by to check on applying for my retired pay.  I had talked to the guy last week, and he had some questions, so I took my records and let him make copies.  My military career was complicated, it seems.  Even so, I've started the process. to do the paperwork to get money in my mailbox every month.  Hopefully, the Army will figure it out.

I feel better about that, it was one of the things I was putting off, because I initially didn't think I qualified for retired pay.  After talking with the guy last week and this morning, I feel better about it.  He's got copies of everything relevant and he said he's call me in a week or so if he (or his bosses) have any more questions.

Then, Milady and I went to the PX to try out her new ID card.  They never even asked us for an ID.  Evidently, old soldiers look like old soldiers.  I bought a bottle of whiskey to toast Friday afternoon with, later.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Hot, Just Darn It's Hot.

It's hot out there, just darn it's hot.  Accuweather says it's 98F out there right now, climbing toward 100.  With over 50% humidity, it's darned hot.

That's not unseasonable for this time of year, and I'm sure that we'll have hotter days in August and September, but I decided about an hour ago to put my hat on, and practice my draw for Cowboy Shooting.

Looking at photos, I'm doing it all wrong, so taking some advise from Gentleman George, I'm re-vamping my draw.  I'm extending my arm too much, relying on the years of experience that I've gotten from law enforcement training, which is all wrong for this game.  What I'm looking for now is index points, so that when I hit that index I can lock, fire, and be reasonably certain of hitting the target.

So, I'm slowing down, trying things and seeing what works.  What I'm doing now isn't working, so I have to make some adjustments.  I think I'm on the right track.

Rather than talk about me, let's see one last video from Odessa, where Milady is matched against a gal from Texas, Marshals Daughter.  In this round, she gave Calamity her final X to put her out of the match.  This match happened just before the shoot-off for 11th place.

Marshals Daughter was knocked out in the next round, and went on to claim 10th place in the overall ladies competition.  Congratulations to her. She's a fine competitor, and like everyone else in the organization, she's a joy to be around, both on the line, and chatting in the stands.

It's more fun watching ladies shoot than listening to PawPaw talk about practice.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Grace, Dignity, Friendship

We're new to this CFDA game, and we knew, going into the Southern Territorials, that we wouldn't burn the house down with speed, but maybe, just maybe we could have some fun, learn a little bit more about the game, and enjoy the company of some fine people.  We were right on all counts.

During the main match, I lost track of Milady (aka: Louisiana Calamity Jane) for a while, but caught up with her after I had collected my Xs in the 5th round.  She was still alive, with two Xs, so I became her cheering squad.  She X'd out in the seventh round, and we walked outside to take the breeze and reflect on the experience.

Suddenly, Zach came to the door "Grandma, they're calling you for a shoot-off!"

Calamity walked inside the venue, and headed to the line.  Her opponent for the shoot-off was a lady from Colorado known as Honey Badger.  Honey Badger is fast, very fast, and Calamity told me on the way to the line that she didn't think she stood a chance.

"Shoot the target, Sweetie" I told her.  "Just find the target."

So, Calamity walked out to the line for the match.  I don't recall the score before the last shot, but I managed to think to drag out my camera for the shot.  I posted it on Saturday, but we'll replay it again for illustration.

Watching this video, we see Honey Badger take her shot, and miss.  We don't get a time on this particular shot, so I took out my IPSC timer to try to get the splits.  We know that Calamity hit her target in 1.271 seconds, and after I had played with my timer, we find a split between the first and second shot of 0.860 seconds.

In this game, 8/10ths of a second is a long time.  Trophies, titles, and bragging rights are set on times a lot shorter than that.  But, as long as the timer is running, you can still hit your target.  Simple match tells us that Hone Badger fired her shot in 0.411 after the light.  (1.271 - 0.860 = 0.411).  That's quick, really fast.  Three times as fast as Calamity's 1.271.

Honey Badger told us later (I don't recall the exact quote) that coming into the shoot-off, she thought she could win it, but she knew that Calamity was hitting the target.  Hitting it well in the earlier rounds.  But, Honey Badger decided to make no adjustments, shoot her game like she always did, and let the timer tell the tale.

That shows great sportsmanship on Honey Badger's part, and also shows the randomness of this game.  Speed counts, but hitting stops the timer.  Honey Badger is a great competitor, a fast shooter, and sterling individual.  Going into the shoot-off, she could have slowed her draw just a little, took another 3/10ths and hit the target, but she decided to compete "wide open".  That's the spirit of the game.  Wide-open competition, let the timer tell the tale.    It's grace, and dignity, and letting your opponent keep their dignity.  Two people on the line, letting the timer record the result and after it's over walking off the line with your head high, your dignity intact, and a smile on your face.

Grace, dignity, friendly competition.  That's what this game is about.  Our motto is Safety First, Fun second, and Competition third.  In our quest for speed, accuracy and bragging rights we have to remember that our opponent is our friend after the match.  Thanks, Honey Badger for reinforcing that lesson.

See you on the line.

Monday, July 27, 2015


We're home.  Regular posting will resume once I'm unpacked and the laundry is done.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Odessa - Day 3 Update

Today, we shot Bracket Matches, which pair shooters against their own skill level.  Then we watched the finals match.  Then, the awards ceremony.

Akarate Zach brought home a concho for his belt, signifying 9th place in the Billy the Kid (male youth) category.

We'll install that on his gun belt when we get home.  It's a nice, three-color concho.  For his first title shoot, that ain't bad.  It ain't bad at all.

Calamity Jane got her 11th place certificate, and we were surprised when she was also named 3rd place in the Ladies Senior category. I didn't get a picture of her with the trophy, but I'll take a pic soon and put it up where everyone can see it.

We're now comfortably ensconced in a room in Weatherford, TX.  Tomorrow we'll visit the stockyards in Fort Worth and head for the house.

Odessa - Day 3

In a few minutes I'm going to fold this computer into its bag and start packing the car.  We're going back to the match this morning, where they'll run the finals for mens, womens and youth.  None of us will be in that match, but they'll have shooting for the also-rans, in the form of a braket match.  So, we'll all get to shoot again today, if only to keep the guns limber.

Noon-ish, there will be the final awards ceremony.  There will be a couple of drawings for pistols, and we've got several tickets.  It would be nice to bring home a new pistol, although my luck with raffles is such that I hold no great hope.

A couple of pictures from yesterday.

That's Akarate Zach, going against Good Deal Lucille.  Lucille is the reigning National Champion and granddaughter of my cousin, Gentleman George.  She's very fast, and only eleven years old.

That's Thorn Valley's Big Mark on the line, and I'm not sure who he's shooting against.

Last, and certainly almost least, is PawPaw hisself, getting beaten once again.

Today, sometime shortly after noon, we'll all be leaving Odessa and scattering across this great land.  For Milady and myself, we plan to stop in Fort Worth and spend the night.  There's a shop in the stockyards that Milady wants to visit again.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Odessa - Day 2

Today was the main match at the Southern Territorials.  Zach X'd out first, and I followed in the next round.  If you're at a major match, when you lose, you get an X.  After a certain number of Xs, you're out.  In this case it was four Xs.  However, the real pride of the day was my gal, Louisiana Calamity Jane. As soon as I had my fourth X, I found her and learned that she was still alive with two Xs.  Not fast, but consistent.  Before long, she was in the top 12, and was slated in a shoot-off to see which of the ladies got the 11th spot and who went home with the 12th.

The match director had told us earlier that whoever got 11th in main match, would get a "free ride" next year to the match.  So, Calamity stepped up on the line.  For the last shot, I quickly turned on my cell phone camera to capture the glory.

She won it!  A free ride to next year's Southern Territorials.  The entrance fees to this match are about $200 per shooter, so this isn't a small prize.

I'm so proud of my gal, I could just burst.