Another road trip, another big match! Area 6 is known for putting on a high quality championship match, and this year did not disappoint. The match was full of testy, challenging stages that bit back if you didn't pay attention. It was everything you expect an Area match to be, in the end.

Here's the video - my comments after the jump!

The match has been held at the South River Gun Club for the past several years. South River used to be my home club, when I lived in Atlanta. My how the club has changed in the 10 years since I've been there last! What a beautiful place! This is a top notch facility, no doubt about it.

My shooting was hot and cold. The interesting part of it was, barring a few shooting errors, I was finally approaching being on the pace against the top shooters. The only really bad spot for me was Stage 11 - I had a high primer on the last shot of the stage, costing me a miss. In addition, I didn't quite settle up completely on the first two targets at long range, and left misses there, though I called hits on them. My dot hadn't quite settled enough - I thought I put a D on each of those targets, and tightened up my focus on the remaining targets. What I called as Ds simply weren't on the paper. Normally - I'd have known that, but lack of practice at long range in recent months has caught up with me. Three misses on a stage will just flat out each your lunch. There's no reason, though, why I couldn't have gotten all my hits at the same pace. Obviously, something to practice...

Stage 1 was an interesting test - in effect, it was a fixed point stage for most folks. Since it was all steel, if you knocked them all down, you got 160 points. It just came down to time. I took a few too many extra shots, and had a hitchy spot in the middle trying to take that last popper, and then felt rushed after that. The issue with this stage, in my opinion, is that it turned out to be a little more difficult than perhaps it should have been for folks carrying lower capacity guns and shooting in the lower ranked classes. We saw at least one person run out of ammo - literally. For the A/M/GM level folks, this was a severe test of patience - extra shots are what cost most folks here, not pure shooting speed or movement speed. I'd love to see some video of Chris Tilley's run, just to see how it went for him (he won the stage).

I was pleased to see that the match contained several speed shoots, one of which involved strong hand and weak hand shooting. So many matches leave out fundamental shooting skills tests these days, its nice to go to a match that incorporates them.

I met quite a few folks from the Benoverse that I hadn't met in person, yet. That's always a cool experience - you talk with these folks via a forum and get to know them, but so much of the communication process gets lost in the text... you really don't get to know what they're like in person at all.

So... the next big match is the Texas Open, which takes place right up the road in Waco, TX over the weekend of May 9-11. In fact, that will be the next match I shoot. Luckily, there's a couple of practice days planned in between, so I have some time to hone the weak points from A6 and get ready to kick booty at what I'm sure will prove to be a fun, and testy little match there.