One week from today, almost to the hour, all the planning will be over, all the texting, and conferring, and we'll be standing int he City Park of Natchitoches, LA to begin the very first Louisiana State Championship of Cowboy Fast Draw.
So, this morning, I'm double checking lists and making sure we're covered. One of the things I had to do was to put together a safety briefing/shooter's meeting, and I got out the regulations and put that together. I had Belle proof-read it, critique it. That's what we do, we're a team, and we take care of each other. I believe that I've covered all the bases and it's printed, in the Range Officer's folder that I carry with me to all matches.
But, going through that exercise got me remembering the ranges I ran as a very young man. Tank ranges, small-arms ranges, each by the score or more. Hand grenade ranges.
I hate a hand grenade with all my heart. Even if they are in their individual boxes, in a shipping crate, on the back of a deuce-and-a-half, I hate the damned things. Hand grenades will poke holes in your uniform and make your whole day go sideways in the time it takes for a three-second fuse to burn down. They are evil little devices, and I hate them.
I once ran a handgun range where all my students were high-ranking staff rats who hadn't handled a 1911 pistol in a decade or longer. I got them all through it, but spent the next several months explaining a simple scoring system that any infantryman would grasp immediately. Why it was a mystery to very senior, highly educated Adjutant General officers is still a mystery. If you hiit the target, it counted. If you missed the target, it did not count. How hard is that to understand?
Lots of good memories about standing on an eight-foot stack of tank ammunition, on a range in Kentucky, watching tank cannons punch holes in targets a mile or more away. It's a tanker's dream to be on a range somewhere, with good weather, properly maintained tanks, punching holes in things a lung way off. You can feel the muzzle blast in your bones and your uniform rustles in the shock wave.
The memories are so thick this morning that I have to brush them away like a cloud of gnats. They're jumbled and swirling and taking me away from the task at hand.
Next Friday morning, April 21st, we're kicking off the Louisiana State Championship. We'll be in Natchitoches, LA in the City Park, corner of 5th and Amulet. We'll open the Equipmet Check and Registration at 8:00 a.m., with a Safety Briefing at 8:30 and first round downrange at 9:00.