13th September 2008
The morning dawned with a clear sky and a sense of determination with the last chance to win an individual medal. This was our final day to prove that the wind at Raton will not defeat us and we shall reign victorious, well without losing shots lower than eights at 1000 yards at least! We arrived at the range for the usual ritual of swiping our cards for squadding, the ceremony of raising the flag and working out who was on our targets from the team, if any. The cars drove down to 300 yards and then the yellow school bus took the first half down to the pitts to do their target duties. The remainder set up on their points, met their partner and took a deep breath as there was a fair old gust on the range, which is unusual for so early in the morning.
Whatever the morning threw at us, the afternoon had taken that and raised the bar to quite scary levels of wind. There were misses galore from targets all across the range and lots of 6’s and 7’s. People were coming off the point with 140s and were absolutely over the moon with that!
A few minutes after the final shot in the final stage of the Grand Aggregate the winner was announced as Ty Cooper, a young American shot who also shoots for the US Army. He was chaired off the range as all onlookers cheered and clapped for him at an impressive achievement; well done Ty.
After a very tiring day (which finished by 3pm, but felt so much later) we all went back to the accommodation to clean all the coal dust from our hands and hair, and well everywhere really, in time for the team meeting when the America match team was to be announced. The team which proved themselves over the last 8 days worthy of a place were;
Once the team was announced we headed on up to the Prize-giving in team kit for many members of the team to receive their individual and team medals (see previous days in the dairy for who won what). The evening’s programme started with a meal of traditional pot roast steak, beans, bread and rice and a sampling of JJs wine and our own bottled beers. Pudding (ice cream) was served and out of nowhere came a commotion and uttering’s of the word bear! With that half the team ran for the back door to see a brown bear ambling across the way without a care in the world. Totally oblivious to the tirade of camera flashes and oooh’s and ahhh’s!
Then came the time for the prize giving, a few speeches were given and then ‘door’ prizes. A wonderful idea to encourage people to return their swipe cards as they were used in a raffle for some fantastic prizes donated by various sponsors. Ten were called out in the first instance, all winners got to look on the table of prizes and choose whichever one took their fancy.
Once the first set of door prizes had been called out the medals began to be awarded. One team competition we received gold and silver medals and another of set of silver medals. In the individual medal section we won gold silver and bronze. All in all an impressive collection of medals was taken by team England, but what was more impressive was the person awarding the medals called Ed Welford: Eric and Tom Rylands: Rylander. Names I am sure will be used for some time to come!!
At the end of the two hour presentation the final set of door prizes was given out. Hinch won some Lapua bullets, collected by James Watson, Emma (who had her middle name read out too, not amused) won 60% off a new spotting scope and Webbie collected David Armstrong’s prize of electronic ear defenders as he was away with the ammunition team pressing the ammunition to the required lengths. A thankless task, so I would like to have it in writing the all of the team are very grateful to David Armstrong, Dave Dyson and Tom Rylands. Sterling effort boys, thank you.
There was then chance for the captains to say a few words and our illustrious captain took the podium and handed out a few small tokens of our appreciation. Notably JJ Jackson received one for all his hard work in making fantastic ammunition, for his friendship and for his ‘Quote of the Day’, which brings us nicely into the final quote of the day. JJ was so chuffed with his team photo that he exclaimed “This is s**t hot” several times in that loud deep American voice we have come to love!
With a long day ahead of us and after a thorough prize-giving the team were well and truly ready for bed. An early night was in order with dreams of X’s, perfect shots and wind calls…