The annual countdown of sanctioned CFDA shoots is drawing to a close, with the Nebraska State Championship this weekend, and the Fastest Gun Alive compeition in Fallon NV in early October. The Fastest Gun Alive will bring down the curtain on the competition season for this year and we'll all take a deep breath, roll our shoulders, and start getting ready for the 2017 fast draw season.
The sanctioned shoots are a lot of fun, and I've been to three this year. Texas State, the Southern Terrirorials, and Kentucky State. Regular readers have followed my journey this year.
One of our Arizona gunfighers talks about the average shooter, and I'm one of the average shooters. I don't get to make very many matches during the year for several good reasons, finances, work schedules and family obligations. Going to sanctioned shoots can be expensive. And, no, it's not the event fees, they are a small part of it. The event organizers try to keep the cost down, but even a three day shoot with a six hour drive is going to cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $500-$600 to attend when you consider lodging and meals.
At the most recent shoot, Belle and I drove one day, shot four days, and drove two days back. Six days on the road, five nights in a hotel. The match fees themselves for both of us to shot every match were less than $150 apiece. We had a great time, considered it a wonderful vacation, but we won't be able to do another shoot like that until the springtime (in all likelihood, Texas State).
What Belle and I are able to do, is the smaller, unsanctioned shoots, what we call invitationals. An invitational is a small shoot, where the drive is shorter, normally held on one day, or a weekend. When all the big guns are shooting in Fallon, Belle and I will be at an invitational in Silsbee, TX with our friends, the Big Thicket Bushwackers. Then, two weeks later, they're going to drive over to our club and shoot at our invitational.
As to the major events, there are probably several hundred shooters who can be counted on to be at several of them during a year, and God bless them. I'm glad that they can devote that much time and effort to the organization. For the vast majority of shooters, such a commitment of time and money is simply not possible. Our organization is a family organization on two levels. Most of our members are family members, with kids in school, working in the workaday world. And, they're part of our CFDA family. We want to make them feel welcome, we want to get to know them, and the basic fact is that many club shooters can't get away to make state, regional, or national events. They're pretty much limited to club events. And nearby invitationals.
Belle and I plan to make two major shoots in 2017. Texas State and Virginia State, but we also plan to make several invitationals. We plan to get over to Gainesville and shoot with the North Texas Society of Gunslingers. We always try to make the Bushwackers invitationls in Silsbee, TX, and we want to go to Pocohantas, AR and shoot with the Randoolph County Rangers. And, of course, our own club tries to do an invitational.
Invitationals let us make short, weekend trips, get to see other gunfighters and extend our personal CFDA family. While the big shoots are a lot of fun, the little shoots are just as much fun, less expensive and more available to club shooters on a budget. Invitational shoots are the best thing going in CFDA.