Yep, it was a hot one at the 2010 Arizona State Sporting Clay Championship held the weekend of September 23-26 at the Ben Avery Clay Target Center just North of Phoenix. The locals tell me it was about 10 degrees above normal for the time of year. That translates to about 105F temperatures for the weekend, the record high I had heard was just 108 so we were pushing record temps all weekend. Oddly enough with the humidity hovering around 20 percent and fairly constant breeze it wasn’t actually that bad. Certainly not the kind of heat that could ruin your weekend, ruining your scores is another matter.
It’s hard to quantify how much effect the heat had on scores in the Main event but it was obvious that Saturday’s Rattlesnake course was a tough SOB. With wind affected targets, distance and way to many edgy or black targets throw against the dark back ground of the desert and scrub brush, some stations were simply an eye test for many. There’s no better way to phrase it. In fact one station, number ten, was thrown out due to the fact that black targets were mistakenly loaded into the machine. Ten had the shooting position atop one of the berms with a true pair of quartering in/crossing black targets that never got above your feet. They were edgy and hard to see against the ground below.
I heard rumblings from people who had shot the other Main course, Roadrunner, on Saturday that it may actually be tougher than Rattlesnake! I suspect in the wind it might have been. When I shot it on Sunday in calm conditions it was definitely the easier of the two but not by much. Stations six through ten were pretty good targets with a nice mix of angles. One through five however were a series of ball busters but not near as bad as those on Rattlesnake. One interesting station featured a teal like incoming target from a trap about 125 yards out from the station paired with a quartering out, curling bird about 35 yards away. The problem was the teal never came in passed about 70 yards, a tough target for sure. Then you had to tackle the other bird which was no gimme either. It’s really not necessary to have two low percentage targets on a station. If you’re going to take one away from the shooter, it’s perfectly acceptable to give one back.
I don’t want to sound too critical but when you have the top guns shooting in the 80′s on both courses then it’s an unnecessarily tough set of targets for the C,D and E shooters, state championship or not. I also don’t want to make it sound like it was all bad, it wasn’t. In fact I thought the targets set by Dan Twitchell were nearly great, if only more color was used and more belly or dome shown on a lot of the presentations. What could have been I guess…
The best targets of the weekend were found in the Prelim and on the FITASC. I thought the prelim targets were great and what the main targets should have been. I thought the FITASC was good especially parcours three and four. The only draw backs here were some of the peg placements where the brush obscured too much of the target flight. A minor problem really. I don’t mind that a lot of the targets were thrown to a center point at all but when you do that, peg placement becomes paramount.
OK this really reads like some kind of over analyzed movie review so I’ll just mention that Gebben Miles won the event claiming his 6th Arizona State Championship. About the targets Gebben said, "The courses were very difficult but the wind played a factor. I enjoy hard targets but you can’t really control the wind, especially when it’s continually changing. All in all it was very challenging and you had to be on your game to score well." When asked how he feels going into the Nationals as defending champ Gebben said, "I love the feeling. Pressure is a privilege. I feel as prepared as I was last year both physically and spiritually so we’ll see what happens." Gebben also held one of his popular chapels at the shoot, "There was a great turnout for chapel at the shoot! There were just fewer than 30 people that showed up. I know it’s not about numbers, but it is nice to have that many there. People really enjoyed it and I received many compliments afterward. Much of what I’ve been hearing from people is that they desire to hear God’s Word taught and enjoy being challenged. I enjoy teaching and giving people Biblical information to chew on."
Overall, I have to say that I had a fun weekend of shooting and that’s all that matters. The Arizona State is a great event to attend especially if you’ve never shot in desert terrain. Main event resident Lady Champ was Kaitlyn Borie, Junior was Wesley Borie and Sub-junior was Casey Coleman. The Prelim was won by Zach Kienbaum while Tom Mack took the FITASC and 5-stand Main. I would like to thank Chris Stadler ASCA President, the ASCA Board, Dan Twitchell, Lois Lessing and Sarah Newell for their hospitality and putting on a good event.