Wednesday, August 19, 2009

THE STEEL CHALLENGE! OH YEA!

Elliott and Annette Aysen

What an incredible weekend I had. The Steel Challenge was the BEST. My mom says my revolver is still “smoking!” I finished 8th out of 18 revolver shooters, all kindred spirits! I reached my goal to beat my personal best score shooting the main match with my revolver (over ten seconds off my last score!) And I am gaining on John Bagakis! Shhh, here’s a secret: Tina, his girlfriend sent me text messages cheering me on! Re-match next year John ? Same hot, dusty place, same hot dusty time!
The weekend just flew by…way too short. I did get some time to talk to some of the kids that stopped by with their parents to see what the Steel Challenge was all about. What a privilege it was when they came and asked me, “Are you Molly Smith?” I was so honored to tell them about the match, what goes on when I shoot, and where the bathrooms and vending machines are! No, there are no vending machines but there are “shooting machines” and I directed them on the really good shooters. Every time I watch really good shooters, I pay attention to their stance, their hand placement and look at how they focus and prepare for their turn. I’ve heard that term poetry in motion, well to watch these shooters execute it is amazing! They look so graceful when the shoot. I just look short, or as one man said, a “boy”…”Well, let the young man go first!” “Come right up here son” That was awkward, but really funny! (Everybody else thought it was funny enough…)
The awards ceremony was very nice. When I walked in my friend Annette Aysen gave me a bouquet of tulips, tulips are my favorite flowers. Her husband Elliott gave me a Speed-E-Rack to hold my moon clips. Moon clips are little round discs with notches in them. They hold your bullets together for quick loading and unloading. The Speed-E-Rack holds the moon clips on your waist so you don’t have to fumble around in your pockets for them. I think the best part of the awards ceremony was the look on my brothers face when I gave him the prize list and told him he could have what ever he wanted that was left when they call my name. He is thrilled with his new rifle bag (it is a really nice, super, deluxe one)!
Over all, Steel Challenge this year was amazing, and maybe next year I’ll shoot two guns in the main match - Iron Revolver and Open Auto! I’ll keep you posted.

Yamil took this picture of my friend Phil Strader
Yamil took this picture of a casing, click on the pic to enlarge! That is my Friend BJ Norris in the Background!

Friday, August 14, 2009

FRIDAY THE MAIN EVENT


Friday. The first half of the main match: COMPLETE(ly… fun and totally enjoyable!)
Let me first start off by saying…anybody notice that there is a strange lack of running in the Steel Challenge? Aside from Outer Limits, it’s all stationary; but I didn’t let that stop me today. I was running (well, walking fast) out on the bays, spray painting the targets and jumping over even more hay bales. The hyper-active-soon-to-be-thirteen-year-old. Yuuuup -- that’s me! I also had a great squad of people I didn’t know, at first (with Dave Wilson and John Maxwell as exceptions, they shoot at my home range) that was tons of fun! John Alchin stopped by a few times for chit-chat, as did Tom Hubbard. How fun it was to talk about the stage and relax. Also, at the end of the day, I met new shooters Debby and Jena, they came here to watch the match. They were really nice and I enjoyed going through the side-matches with them. We had lots of fun just talking and shooting.
For dinner tonight, there was the Steel Challenge BBQ. It was LOTS of fun because I got to see a role model, who is my friend, Annette Aysen. We were having a good time talking and eating, and sewing shoes. Yes, you read that correctly. My flip-flop strap came undone so my dad volunteered to fix it up. When Annette saw it, she giggled and fixed it up with sew on buttons and thread. She certainly saved my feet for the night!
Have you ever noticed how kid-friendly the Steel Challenge? The side matches, hay-bales, and painting targets. I painted the short targets so some of the guys out there needed to only bend half way over to reach their targets to paint (more Pre-teens and Juniors means more help with short painting). Best of all is just shooting the match over all.
So that was my day. Tomorrow I’m finishing the match and will be going to Magic Mountain as my early birthday present! WOOHOO!
Oh Yea, this is Dave. He is my Squad Mate! Somehow he missed the group picture above.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Thursday Rimfire Match

Picture of Randi Rogers taken by Yamil Sued. Randi and I shot on the same squad during the rimfire match.
Picture of Jessie Abbott,taken by Yamil Sued. Jessie shoots incredible!
Gunny and Me "5 to Go" stage.
My friends!!! John Bagakis, and BJ Norris.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

STEEL CHALLENGE EVE!




Wednesday morning, 7:20. I arrived at the STEEL GROUNDS….Finally. I was the first person at the range on Steel Challenge Eve. It was rather magical. But it wasn’t long before the rangemaster, Doug Baumforth, came and signed us in and the flood of perfect practice shooters arrived. The furnace had not been turned on yet, so it was a “breeze” to shoot the stages. My first four went GREAT, but the Outer Limits stage gave me a little issue. I guess you could call it Molly Madness. But not to worry, I came back at the end of practice and made sure Outer Limits was taken care of, and then I was “otta there.” After I ran through all the stages with Jim O’Young, I spoke to various shooters, including some juniors! Hooray for the juniors!!! I held Julie Goloski’s M&P and BJ Norris’ 1911 with a Tactical Solutions .22LR conversion unit and thought they were pretty awesome. BJ’s .22, was really cool because of how light it was - definitely something different. I also met Rob Leatham who is a shooting legend. I have heard so much about him, that finally meeting him was very special. I wish I could’ve seen him shoot, but alas I did not, it was time to get registered. He was really nice and I got to take a picture with him. After leaving the range, we went to the match hotel to register for the match and get everything set and ready to go. I met a couple of very nice people there that walked me through signing up, especially Kim Williams and Dave Thomas. They helped me get my squadding in order too!
So a GREAT day at the practice range; can’t wait for the .22 match tomorrow, and I saw lots of great people today. It’s Steel Challenge Eve, “all is calm, all is bright!”

OUTER LIMITS

Thank you Yamil Sued for these great pictures!
Ishikawa Seiichi
Dave Sevigny
Alicia Setting
Ashley Bolda

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Shooter Ready?

I am here! The “Steel Grounds” of Piru! Well, close enough, I am at the hotel near the infamous STEEL CHALLENGE Range which I will be calling home for the next few days! I can feel the excitement, and I can recognize a shooter from 25 yards. They are the ones in the hotel lobby, Mc Donalds, the gas station, Rite Aid getting ice cream and even sitting in their cars at “Green” lights with the glazed over look, aiming their trigger fingers at imaginary targets, over and over. I can hardly wait until tomorrow when I actually will get to go to the range and practice really hitting a few steel targets, fun, fun, fun…..the wait is nearly over.

In case you are wondering I will be shooting my Smith and Wesson 627, iron sighted, revolver in the main match on Friday and Saturday. Hark….do I hear my ICORE friends cheering me on? Although not too experienced with it, I’m feeling very good about the possibilities of actually getting it out of the holster and hitting the first plate! I guess I do have a way to go before I can catch up to John Bagakis -- he is an amazing shooter with the revolver.

This match is bound to be tons of fun and I can't wait. I'll be updating my blog every night with the happenings of the Steel Challenge.
Who else is ready to shoot? ^.^

The great picture above was taken just this afternoon (right to left) Tom Yost, BJ Norris, Todd Jarrett, Jim O’Young and Me!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

THE HOGUE ADVENTURE


I GOT NEW HOGUE GRIPS! YESSSS! They’re amazing! They fit my hand (or as some would say my “Tiny Mitts”) perfectly and they look beautiful on my Smith & Wesson 627 Revolver.
It’s an interesting process, this being fit for custom grips. During the IRC in June, Pat Hogue measured my hand and asked me to pick out the wood for the base. When I went to pick them up, Pat put them on my revolver, making sure they were perfect. He spent the entire time talking to me about shooting (what else but) and the fun in the sport. I never dreamed the end product would mean so much. These are the most special grips ever; they are hand made by Pat Hogue, himself! A craftsman, he paid such close attention to the length of my fingers, to the width of my grasp and what I was telling him about how I shoot. Every detail that a grip should have is there.
Now, for the adventure….there is a story to follow this fantastic news.
My brother (AKA the Web Commander/Steven) and I were invited to visit the Hogue factory, shoot on the “super secret” private Hogue range and join them for lunch. How could anyone pass that up?
Pat’s brother, Aaron, was kind enough to give us a tour of the Hogue factory. It was awesome! I was blown away by the laser images on the grips… some of the designs look so complex. Steven really enjoyed looking at the mechanical things like the machine that formed the “skeleton” for some of the grips. As if that wasn’t enough, Aaron let us in the gun vault! There was plenty of interesting guns…note the pictures!
Judy (Aaron’s fiancĂ©e) just took me to get a “Special” pedicure for the Steel Challenge. You will have to ask me to see them if you see me in Piru… neon pink with black pistols! Judy is awesome. I have made some really special friends on the Hogue Adventure.
Over all, the Hogue Adventure is brilliant. I had tons of fun, love my new grip, got to meet another junior shooter, Daniel, and saw the Hogue Grips factory, made new friends, had a corn dog (my favorite!) for lunch and I now have exceptional toe nails any shooter would be proud of!