10th September 2008

The day started with the same morning ritual of getting up early doors, making breakfast and lunch and heading to the range in time for the squadding and the raising of the USA flag to the National anthem, which Susie Kent describes as a piece of music you want to clap to when it ends!  Which was promptly followed by David Armstrong randomly demonstrating his ‘70s John Travolta’ moves!  The morning was looking fairly promising and relaxed with fairly clear skies and very little wind; everyone seemed in a good enthusiastic mood about the days shoot… (Little did they know).  The competitors were once again split in two with half going to the pitts and the other half preparing to shoot.  Today, however, the squadding was arranged with a sense of order as apposed to the random allocation of the day before; Detail 3 (first in the pitts) comprised the leading 25% from their previous day’s scores.

The first range; 300 yards, was in perfect conditions with no wind and a clear sight picture. An awesome 15 members of the team managed to slot them all into the bull, with the highest being David Armstrong with 9 X’s.  At 500 yards the wind had picked up a little but was readable and this time 12 of the team scored a HPS. 

Feeling quite smug several members of the team foolishly thought it would be an easy day (today’s diarist included), what a surprise we were in for.  600 proved to be more of a challenge.  Many of the team struggled with the fickle wind changing direction whilst on aim, the lowest score was 94, but Alex Williams managed an incredible 100.7.  A few team members were feeling a little deflated by their experiences at 600 yards, but that all faded into a mere distant memory as we all looked on from back at the Eagle’s nest at a large ‘dust devil’ forming a tornado shaped, dust fuelled monster with the flags pointing strongly in opposite directions.  Uh oh!

1000 yards started with those competitors leading the previous days aggregate and the struggled with the wind blowing between 4 and 7 minutes, but with the angle changing on a moments notice it was never going to be an easy detail. The second firer of the first pair had fewer changes, but they were by no means any smaller, although the longer patches of fairly consistent wind led to an average score being about a point more.  The second pair however had a significantly more soul destroying combination of wind changes in strength and direction and angle leading to several misses.  Kelvin had a really tough time, foolishly dropping his 10 9 sighters to finish with a 121, including a miss which Ed was marking with Emma and Dave D on next doors target which it nearly hit, the gust was that strong.  Dave D dramatically declared that it was so off it nearly hit him, much to everyone’s amusement, except for Kelvin’s I’m sure.

Particular congratulations however for the day’s shooting must go to Jon Underwood, who may not have shone at short range, but his almost unbelievable (then we realise it is after all Jon Underwood) 150 at 1000 yards which put him once again at the top of the pile, winning the days aggregate by one point with a total of 447.24. Very well done to Jon.  Other notable scores and achievements are Kelvin and Andy going clean at short range and the other top aggregates of the day behind Jon were David L on 442.24, James with 441.20 Nick T with 441.18 and Emma with 441.17

The day was full of many ups and downs, in terms of shooting and general life on the range.  The marking, once again proved to be a great place to socialise with our American and Australian counterparts and indeed within the team.  Holly had a particularly exciting conversation about politics which left her determined not to bring it up again and JJ once again became topic of conversation.  JJ was marking on the target next to Dave D and Emma, and Emma, in that way she does best let it slip about the JJ quote of the day.  JJ reaction was a mixture of embarrassment and intrigue but he remained completely humbled by it all, further showing what a fantastic individual he is.  The pair warned him that we would be trying to get a quote a day and he shared with us his thoughts on his 1000 yard shoot.  It didn’t go quite as well as he would have hoped and quipped with “I felt like I had my head handed to me on a plate”.  It wasn’t as crowd pleasing as his previous ones as it was a bit of a thinker, but a satisfying task well done, thanks JJ!  We all (the team, and you at home) now wait with baited breath for another JJ-ism. 

Shooting was over fairly early and the team went their separate ways, management to do whatever management do.  Jane again being a godsend by doing the washing and Nick T and his sous chef Holly in tow got to work on another fabulous meal.  The remainder set to on consoling themselves with a sneaky drink and sat about generally relaxing and unwinding from a very challenging day.

With food in our stomachs and cheer in our hearts at another day of successes and problems overcome we gathered for a meeting with an announcement of the teams for the following day.  A conversation then continued very randomly to liposuction.  Hinch interceded with an amusing night closer of “I once had liposuction you know, but unfortunately I had a blowback”.  Brilliant!!!

Day 11 (Wednesday) – Individual day 2