“(A) Dedication’s What You Need”
Again, an early start for all and with a more definite series of events at the range, a more definite departure time from the hotel. As a result, at exactly 0700hrs local time (ish…) the convoy moved off, this time under a Police escort in anticipation of more difficulties due to Monday morning traffic. With conditions better than expected, all arrived in good time and were able to prepare rifles before the official opening ceremony for the newly refurbished range. Following the raising of national flags (England having apparently not received the memo, “don’t bring anything too big”) and the customary welcoming speeches, the traditional dedication of the facility took place, conducted by an enthusiastic and energetic Preacher, whose thorough and considerate prayer ensured that nobody was forgotten. Many were also pleased to hear his request that participants be protected from any adverse incident, whilst also rather hoping that Range Standing Orders might achieve this without the need for divine intervention… As has been the case since 1869, when Queen Victoria initiated the first ever Imperial Meeting with a single shot (in her case from a state-of-the-art Whitworth rifle), the Championship was then opened in similar fashion using something considerably more modern by the President of the Guyana NRA, Brigadier Patrick West, demonstrating impeccable marksmanship with his central V-Bull.
Shooting in earnest started shortly after at 300yds, with maximum scores of 35 being low in number. Nigel Stangroom led the way for England with the only 35 ( 2 V’s) from the team, with the Captain, Dick Winney, leading by example with the best of the team’s 34’s and the highest V count (3). Falling back to 500yds and now with 10 shots to work with, scores began to improve, most notably for Charlie Staples and Vice Captain Henry Day making 50.6 and 50.3 respectively, taking impressive first and third places in the match.
Once again clouds then threatened and thunder rumbled but the prevailing wind, which was not entirely popular at ground level, excelled itself at altitude by keeping both rain and lightning clear of the range. A cooler 900yd shoot in the afternoon suited the tourists well and, though a gentle but challenging wind fishtailed both left and right of zero, scores once again improved. 48 and upwards featured for over half of the team, most notably Nigel Stangroom’s 50.4, placing him 3rd in the 900yds match, as well as top in the team and in second place overall for the day on a healthy 133.10 (ex. 135.27).
With rifles packed and kit loaded up, the team once again headed back to the hotel, before venturing into Georgetown with the assistance of their driver (Trevor) and his bus (name unknown) for dinner. In preparation for the following day, the return trip paused at a petrol station to stock up on water and for a quick selfie with the pump attendant, who possessed a semi-automatic shotgun and, thankfully, a sense of humour!