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The Sonoran Desert Grand Prix
Field Target

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The Course:

The Competitors:



Match Report

Phoenix Airgun Club

Sonoran Desert Grand Prix

March 1-3, 2024

Match Report



Setup started on Thursday the 29th of February. setting out targets and ensuring a clear visual pathway.  The first challenge came in the way of the set-up team experienced a flat on the golf cart to start out the day. 


Friday was the proverbial check-in/sight-in day. Shooters received their swag, which this year consisted of a fine black short-sleeved T-shirt with a new scorpion design rendering and a new SDGP lapel pin perfectly suited for display. Sight-in was on the Small Bore Range, as usual for the GP. We opened this at 1100 to allow the morning to prep the area if needed due to unforeseen weather or other surprises. Folks rolled in, and as always, the usual greetings of long-time friends began, and the start of new ones being made. We finished the day at 1700, allowing plenty of time for shooters to prep for the match. 


There were forecasts of extreme wind conditions about a week prior to the match, causing some competitors concern.   However, on match day the conditions were beautiful with pretty consistent winds ranging from 4-6 mph and gusting to about 10mph. Skies were blue with the occasional rare cloud drifting by. Temperatures started in the upper 60s and cresting into the 70s by match end.  


Saturday morning started at 0700 on the small bore range with sight-in. That ran for 1.5 hours until 0830, when shooters were redirected to the Airgun Building for the safety brief, roll call, and group picture. Shooters were randomly assigned, but most were within the same class. The groups were all made up of two, with one group of three. We assigned one group to the chrono station mid-course to meander to lane one when finished.  After everyone was ready, the course was called ‘hot’ and the match started.   The scheduled start time was 0900, but things didn’t get started until roughly 0945, with a slight delay from string entanglement complications, pictures, etc. 


The course was set up as a 25-lane, one-shot-per-target course. It would be a training run for the Worlds here in the fall. The signage was all World-standard lane and target markings, and the international standard for scorecards was also used.  The shot order was numbered, rather than the typical left to right or near to far.  Most ended up being left to right, although one was quite tricky to discern.  The intention was to use the same targets to be used for the WFTC, but they had yet to arrive.  So, we used our original targets and got pretty close to the WFTF specs, but not quite. AAFTA KZ sizes were, of course, in compliance.   About seven of the intended 40mm kz targets were either 1.25” or 1.75”; with the latter KZ sizes near the 54-yarders. The course comprised over 46% of the targets set at distances greater than 40 yards.  This provided incredible challenges for competitors unfamiliar with wind conditions at the farthest lengths, especially in the desert, where natural wind indicators are diminished.   The Troyer for this course was set at 33.8 without environmental conditions. However, with wind, it had kicked up the factor to 41.32T. This will be the number submitted to AAFTA for Grand Prix ranking purposes.  There were two standing lanes and two kneelers, totaling eight shots per day, and 16 positionals total. We set up the chrony station mid-field alongside the air station, beverage, and snack table. Larry manned it, weighing the pellets and providing match stickers and approval stamps on the scorecards to those making it through if they passed. We even assigned this as a starting lane to squeeze an additional group in. 


The exact course was repeated on day two since all targets were shot once. This complies with AAFTA's new course rulings.  Speaking of AAFTA's recent Grand Prix rulings, timers were used again this year; however, they were set for three minutes per lane, since we were shooting only one shot per target and two shots per lane. This kept the cadence up quite well, with only minimal delays from shooters who executed the full-time allotment repeatedly.  Speaking further of AAFTA's recent rulings, this match had two competitors that shot out of sequence. One person shot a target out of sequence, and the other shot an entire lane out of sequence. 

Cold lines were called only a handful of times.  One issue was a key-ring connector to the RotR target being pulled apart, and another was a hard pull on a target that was sitting on a brick splattered with lead debris, which acted as a lubricant easing it out of the clamps when pulled for reset. Most other protests were splits and face plate hits caused by mysterious magical wind effects.  Some targets had 1/2” KZs and were pretty shot up around the edges, which made it difficult to identify the hole. One funny situation was a competitor not correctly setting their dope and shot low on a close 1/2”er.  Then, many subsequent shooters shot that initial splatter mark, thinking for some reason it was the actual KZ, eventually stacking pellets there, making it resemble the wrong hole even further.   Some competitors felt so challenged shooting smaller kill zones when faced with difficult Troyer numbers cresting near the upper 40s, grumblings of “that's illegal” could be heard.   However, these grumblings were quickly dismissed with prudent course setters, diligent pre-inspections, and further measurement checks. 

There was also a cold line called about a European target that wasn’t pulled up and didn’t quite lie flat, and the shooter thought that was a malfunction.  These target nuances were chatted about in the morning shooters’ meeting but must have been forgotten amidst the pressures of the competition. 


After the match on Saturday, we brought in a barbecue food truck serving fine brisket, cornbread, coleslaw, and beans. Competitors turned in their scorecards, Cheri tabulated them, and the scores were available online in real time before lunch was complete. We provided a scannable QR code to direct shooters to the results. Andy had pictures of the event playing on the big screen in the background. Chatter could be heard from the competitors as the results popped through, sharing excitement from those who fared better and others who were more challenged.   After the great ‘dunch’  (a time between lunch and dinner), the work parties gathered to repaint the targets and wind up the strings.  Painting was much easier this year, as we only had two colors, a white faceplate and blue KZ.   Air tanks from the club compressor were filled up again and are ready for tomorrow’s match. 


Sunday came quickly enough. Because of the new rule changes, there wasn’t a need to move targets, shooting the exact same course with one shot per target.   It was an early morning on the course pulling strings, and sight-in was hopping at 0700. At about 0830, sight-in was closed, and shooters were directed to the building. A roll call revealed two shooters pulling out. On the second day, shooters were paired according to score and class. The match promptly started at 0900.  


The day was a bit more windy than Saturday, with winds ranging from 4-8 mph and increasingly gusty from the day before. The match ran smoothly.  Around 1300, shooters began to finish. Scorecards were collected, and the number crunching began.  On the bright side (for the match director), there were no ties in the winner’s circle. Because of this, there wasn’t a need for a shoot-off!  After the tallying, we raffled off a Bumbag donated by Tony at Penchetta. That was randomly drawn by Google's random number generator and awarded to Wes Crisp. 

The Award ceremony started around 1345 and lasted until 1400.  Scores were immediately posted to the website in real-time. 


After all the congratulations, pictures, and selfies, the competitors rallied, and the course was cleaned up in less than an hour.  


And that’s a wrap on another fantastic GP.   Whew.   



Special Thanks to:


Cheri Kwakkestein for a lot of things. 

Larry Smart for Chrony and setting up Sight-in range

Stephen Kuntz for target party and target repairs 

Paul Cray for assistance setting up

Andy Picard for photography

Chris Peet for range managing

Greg Glover for stickers

Dan Lange help setting up the range

Tony Pellegrino for range set up. 

Cameron Kerndt for range assistance

Bill Corder for range assistance

Larry Ford for help setting up. 

And the many others that contributed to a successful event. 



Garrett Kwakkestein

Match Director

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2024 Schedule

Friday, MARCH 1st:

Check-in, Sight-in, and SWAG pick-up  1100-1700

Saturday, MARCH 2nd:

Sight-in and Registration: 0700-0830

Group Picture 0830

Safety and Match Brief: 0830

Match Start: 0900

Lunch: After Match

Sunday, MARCH 3rd:

Sight-in: 0700-0830

Safety and Match Brief: 0830

Match Start: 0900

Awards Ceremony: After Match 

Rifle Field Target:

Saturday and Sunday

Main Course

25 Lanes

2 Targets per lane, totaling 50 Targets

50 Shots per day

Day 2: Rinse, repeat 

Max 3 Shooters per squad

This will be a WFTF style course.  One Shot per target, per day! 

(Of course, all classes welcome. This just means we are doing one shot per target instead of two.)

Per popular request, to provide Worlds simulation and training opportunities.


Competitor Classes:



Open PCP & Spring

Hunter PCP & Spring

WFTF PCP & Spring