The 2017 AAFTA National Championship
Pictures, Video, and Match Report
Banquet and Awards Ceremony Pictures
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The event weekend started on Thursday nice and early. We had folks showing up at 7am to take advantage of a full sight in day. Registration was held in the new Airgun building here at the range where we will be holding weekly 10m matches. Dave, John, and Amy fired up the computers to offer a streamlined check in. We had swag bags that included a tin of JSB 10.34 pellets, an official ball cap and a custom embroidered black polo shirt. We did something new this year (of many), we included a competitor bib with everyone’s name custom printed on it so that they could clip it to their shirt or jacket.
The small bore range opened early since folks were chomping at the bit to get started. Alan and Paul ran the range. We set up 20 full range stations with targets at 10, 11, 12, 15-55 every 5 yards. We started off using the LabRadar chronograph. We began to have some difficulties getting accurate readings, so we used two optical chronographs to test rifles at the range. The target bulls on the sight in range targets correlated with the minimum size permissible at that distance. Around lunchtime we brought in a Aoli gourmet burgers food truck for all the competitors. The shooting line filled up many times throughout the day. Thanks to AoA who loaned us a few air tanks to keep the air flowing. We had Chuck and Gary at the controls of our new air compressor that can handle 5 full size tanks at once, filling them all weekend.
Friday started early. We started the day with”Ranger B” from the Maricopa County Parks Dept to who gave an outstanding hour long interpretive walk along the FT range trail discussing the Sonoran Desert. At 1030 am we started the first safety briefing. We started the pistol match at 11 am. The course was set up on the rifle course, however exchanging the targets to meet the requirements for pistol FT. It was designated the green course. We had one forced standing / freehand lane, which was 8 shots. There was one target that kept getting complaints. We checked it with the target checker and it passed. However upon closer inspection we discovered that it would occasionally lock up in the falling process and affecting the target similar to what hitting the faceplate would do. So, we decided to remove that target after the days shoot. So lesson learned, that you can’t solely rely on the tester. Then we had another target that turned out to be less than 10 yards. We used two rangefinders, which said ten, but after measuring with a tape, it was 9y 18”. So we pulled that too. The pistol match took a bit longer than expected. The Pistol Match Troyer was 32.5.
The weather was slightly overcast with temps starting around 64 and ending at 79 deg F. Winds were partially sustained from 0 to 6 mph with occasional gusts to 11 mph switching from the south to SSE. We had several ties in pistol. But, because of the scoring adjustments that had to be corrected, we lost daylight and decided to do the shoot off Saturday after the rifle match. Once all the shooters signed in, we began squadding everyone for Saturday. We decided to split the yellow and red team based off of alphabetical order. Then we squadded everyone randomly based off of class. Each squad had usually one of each class. This purpose was to maximize flow and speed. Taking flow into consideration, we reversed the flow of the yellow vs red shooters so that everyone could have the opportunity visit with new people throughout the day. In essence yellow started at pad 15 and red at pad one. This turned out to be one of the best concepts.
The evening kicked off with catering from Red White and Brew. It was a spectacular meal. Unfortunately we had a lot left over! The AAFTA yearly meeting kicked off at about 4:00 and went to about 9:00ish. That was pretty lively.
Saturday morning started bright (dark) and early for the target teams at 0300. Making sure all the targets were functioning correctly, painting paddles, and pulling strings, and lubing hinges. A few details that required addressing pushed us back about an hour before we got started. Andy Picard, the match photographer, utilized this time to get the group picture before the shooter's meeting started instead of after.
At the meeting we discussed a lot of the elements and concerns about desert shooting, safety, flow, and reported a sighting of tracks of a chupacabra. The rifle course Troyer was calculated at 30.6.
Saturdays match kicked off with vibrancy, excitement, and anticipation. We pulled the faulty target from the previous day, and remeasured all the questionable distances the night before. Things were going smoothly. On occasion there were cold lines. The main reason for the cold lines were due to strings getting tangled on the AAFTA target’s bolts, broken strings, and protests. The tangle issue can easily be resolved with a steel leader, which I’m sure they will institute for next year. The broken lines were in part due to folks pulling very hard on already worn lines, or the occasional shot line. And lastly, the challenges of split shots that appeared to hit squarely on the target paddle center. All challenges were addressed with the WFTF Target Tester in a series of three or more hits at various heights on the paddle. No target failures were assessed for the day. Concerns were brought up about some distances that people measured with their scopes, suggesting targets were at distances that were different than what they suspected to be out of Troyer. Around late morning the very light cloud cover teased the shooters with a spritz of moisture falling from they sky lasting about 19 seconds. Panicked shooters scrambled to the canopies. By the time they reached em, the 50 drops of spritzing liquid water stopped. The call-in for dust control moisture was a success and just on time as scheduled. Saturday’s temperatures started at about 67 and peaked to about 79 deg F, with partially overcast and broken clouds. Winds were from 2 mph to 5 mph with minimal gusts to 9 mph from the south to SSE.
The caterers for Saturday’s late lunch decided to leave at around 3:30. Just about the time when everyone was finishing. They left food out and bolted, which was disappointing. The hungry shooters promptly devoured the kill. Jumping in to the rescue, Paul made an emergency run to get a half-dozen super large pizzas to quell the masses.
The night was designed for shooters to go out on their own, go to their hotel for an early night, or hang and socialize, with nothing planned on our end.
Then after dinner, we held the pistol shoot-off for 3rd place in Hunter between Bob Dye and Ron Robinson, and for 1st in Limited between Riz Marquez and Tyler Patner. We placed a ⅜” target at 18 yards, and slowly pulled it in as the misses piled up. Then we had the shootoff between Riz and Ron for the AoA gift Certificate.
Afterward, the target teams headed out for touch ups and lubing.
Sunday morning came quickly enough. We re-squadded the shooters based on their scores and kept the classes mixed. The pace throughout the day was brisk and efficient. The sun was out and the high clouds were gone. Temps started around 64 and ended around 74. The clouds were gone, but the temps still stayed cooler, which was nice. Winds ranged from 2 to 4 mph from the south to SSE, and occasionally gusted to 9 mph mid day, then settled right back down.
At the end of the day there was a protest about a target and it’s visibility, and another about it’s distance. However, the BOG and match director determined the target was visible, and the other was an appropriate distance, so the protest was not upheld.
The scoring team immediately went into action with all hands on deck to get the scores, and “Xs” counted correctly. A shoot off ensued between four teams. Scott Allen, Hector Alfaro, and Doug Miller shot for Open PCP 2nd to 4th place. David Corder and Kelly Hawe competed for 5th in Open PCP. Hunter PCP saw Jim Cyran and Bill Day compete for 5th. Then finally, Edwin Tubens, Mike Niksch, and Tyler Patner shot off for the 2nd to 4th place position in WFTF PCP. We used the same ⅜” target at 18 yards. Gotta love the drama of a good shoot-off.
The competition ended, and then it was time for celebration. Everyone migrated to Las Sendas golf resort for the fine dining experience. For the theme for the weekend, we wanted to highlight the Sonoran Desert and all it’s unique elements. We coordinated a unique dinner with the chef highlighting the special flavors of Arizona. The servings started at 6:30 pm.
For dinner, we presented a Nopales, pepper salad over greens, pepitas, epazote lime vinaigrette, cilantro lime infused salad with fresh berries, a New York strip steak with a poblano manchego topping demi glaze, an achiote breast of chicken on the same plate with a southwest buerre blanc, chipotle mash potatoes, and for dessert a dulche de leche sponge cake with layers of caramel mousse. Yes, a mouthful, and WOW, was it good!
Promptly afterward, we introduced a Native American (father / son team) storyteller Ken, and the award winning national champion hoop dancer, Talon. They are the world famous dance group "Yellow Bird", from the San Carlos Apache Tribe. They performed for the group, telling the native history of the saguaro and coyote in the area, and performed a traditional hoop dance for about a half hour to the amazement of all. Standing ovation followed.
Afterward, we started the live auction. Folks received some great products for some really great prices. Many items were donated by our fine sponsors that ended up raising the most funding in history that had ever been raised and donated to support AAFTA at a National Championship event.
Leo, the Chairman, spoke and awarded the Grand Prix award plaques. Then, Garrett, presented the Match awards. The team results came at a later date, pending clarification. See the link in the drop-down above for the results.
The event came to a close, and the announcement was reiterated that Tar Heels in NC will be hosting next year’s event.
Acknowledging our hard working volunteers:
Dave Litt, Larry Smart, Paul Beidler, John Lenio, Allen Surratt, Andy Picard, Brian Miller, Amy, Cheri, Gary, Chuck, Ben and Ray.
This couldn't have been done without you. Your sincere appreciation is felt worldwide.
Acknowledging our sponsors:
Airguns of Arizona (the main Match Sponsor), Anschutz, Sightron, Grand Canyon Adventures, Hawke, Pyramyd, Decot Hywide, Penchetta, and Pellet Gauge.
We thank you for wholeheartedly for supporting the airgun Field Target sport.
We are grateful to have had the honor to be your host, thank you.