Phoenix in November is a beautiful thing, no doubt about it. The Area 2 Championship (aka, the Rio Salado Desert Classic) has a strong reputation for being a quality match with a superb prize table. This was my first year attending the match, and I can tell you that, for the most part, it lived up to the hype. First, the vid - then more after the break:

Unlike previous years, there were not a number of so-called "memory stages", where the shooter has the opportunity to engage the same targets from multiple locations, and must devise a plan to engage each only once. There was one that was kinda sorta a memory stage, but not really. There were also no crazy props (like 2007's roller coaster, for instance). Instead, what we had was a fair, straight up shooting test. Nothing hokey or hinky. No prop-tossing-monkey-motions. Just shut up and shoot. I like it... And, hey, how can you not like running full tilt past saguaro cactus, blasting everything in sight?

This season has been a transitional one for me (more thoughts on this later), but some things started to come together in this match. Watching the video, now, a month later, it looks a little frantic to me. I definitely was challenged to execute my plans - you can see several mental errors in the first stages, as I almost blow past targets, etc. These are solely lack of mental preparation. There are a couple of gross shooting errors on there, as well, and a few minor foot position type of faults. The good thing is - when I execute, I'm on pace and shooting good points. The bad thing is - I have a few obstacles to work out in the off season (or, maybe that's a good thing... easier to write goals, that way!)

I had the great pleasure of shooting on Squad 2, along with Nick Saiti (the eventual match winner) and Joe Bridgeman (2nd place), and a host of other good folks - James Ong, Francis Livingston, Bob Londrigan, Don Golembieski, Jake Kempton, et al... And, I had the good fortune to connect and win a stage.

The prize table... was amazing, to say the least. There were something like 40 guns on the Open prize table alone? Wild! Makes the Nationals look like a joke, honestly. The folks in Sedro Woolley could learn a few things from the A2 staff on how to get prize tables together!