Fourteenth Annual Republic of Texas Grand Prix Match Report
Since 2015, the Rep of TX State Championship and AAFTA Grand Prix has operated through a rotation among the 4 club venues in Texas. This year it was Dallas Field Target Club’s turn to host the match, September 15-16, at Elm Fork Shooting Sports just east of the DFW airport in urban Dallas.
The weather forecasts in the week leading up to the match had threatened to ruin what would be a two-day event with three events… Rifle matches on Saturday and Sunday, with the Pistol match Saturday afternoon. So match organizers Kevin Enzian, Buddy Holland and myself crossed our fingers, as there was precious little time available for Thunderstorm delays.
As it turned out, nary a raindrop intruded all weekend when we were on the range. It was typically hot for mid September, and extremely humid. Combined with dead calm wind conditions, it was the muggiest weekend we’ve ever seen at the dedicated FT range at Elm Fork.
Participation numbers this year were the best we’ve seen in Texas in 5 years or more… Twenty Four folks showed up to play, including 2 folks from Oklahoma, AND seven of our good friends from Louisiana. We couldn’t be happier to see all you folks from Baton Rouge, so I must first thank all of you for coming. Thanks also to the handful who trekked in from points in south Texas, too. As everyone knows, Texas is a huge state.
The rifle match was segmented into 60 shots on Saturday, on the usual 15 lanes, 4-shots each with one standing and one kneeling lane. To permit an early departure on Sunday for the out-of-state and southern Texas commuters, Sunday’s Rifle match was 40 shots on 10 lanes with a similar number of kneeling and standing shots. The rifle difficulty was 32.7 Troyer on Saturday and 32.6T on Sunday for the 100 shot, GP qualifying match.
The pistol match was 40 shots, pre-set among ten of the rifle lanes without reset strings, in typical Texas style. Changeover from Saturday rifle to Saturday pistol, then back to Rifle for Sunday is tedious (repainting and moving a couple targets and strings) but went without a hitch… about 20 minutes per change. For GPs of 30 or so participants, this is a nifty idea, since it doesn’t require participants to take an extra day off work, spend an extra night in a hotel with meals, etc.
Saturday’s match started promptly at 9am and concluded by 12:15, in time for some Texas BBQ lunch. I was very pleased that everyone shot their matches with good pace. Timers were available, but none of the two shooter squads ran behind. On Sunday, we shot 3-person squads on the 10 lanes, yet still finished in just 2-1/2 hours, followed by a catered Tex-Mex lunch, then awards presentations. I think everyone was well incented to get off the range before the skies opened up (which they did in the evenings). Great job all.
Blissfully there were no ties in the scores among the trophy placings. So shoot-offs were not necessary this year. I’d like to think this was due to good course design (LOL).
Setting the Grand Prix Rifle standard for the weekend was Mike Vredenburg, shooting 90/100 in Open PCP. This fine score was followed by Terry Vanpool, who – for the second year in a row – won Hunter PCP, this time with 88 points, 2 ahead of Bob Dye’s 86, the closest contested match of the weekend. Baton Rouge shooter Griff Crutti walked away with Hunter Piston honors with a fine 75. And Jeff Cloud shot an exceptional 82 to claim the WFTF Piston title. Robert Droege must have felt alone in WFTF PCP class, yet shot a stellar 84 regardless.
The Grand Prix Pistol Match was won by Leo Duran, with a superb 35/40, followed by Robert Droege with a 30, with Mike Vredenburg taking third with a 28. The pistol match was shot at 36 Troyer, the maximum difficulty rating allowed.
Once again thanks to everyone who drove to Dallas for this annual event, especially the crew from LA. And a special thanks to Kevin Enzian (above), who was indispensible in helping this old Match Director on bad knees make it through the weekend. See y’all next year.