I shot the Carolina Cup yesterday (Tuesday, June 11th) with other volunteers. Most of the volunteers are RSOs but I am not, so when the RSO for our squad said “You are all RSOs so I expect you be safe” I spoke up and made him aware that I was a novice shooter that would be working stats. In spite of that or because of that, everyone on my squad was welcoming and helpful. I was not sure I was “good enough” to shoot a regional match but I’m very glad I made the decision to sign up.
Some details that might be helpful to other shooters:
- Pack sun screen. Really. We had a beautifully sunny day after several days of major thunderstorms in the area and I was thankful that it was dry. However, you will be in the sun for 8 hours over 1 or 2 days — assuming it doesn’t rain again.
- Bring snacks for the time before and/or after lunch.
- Frank recommends 250 rounds. I brought 400. I had to completely reshoot one stage and I never opened the last box of 100 rounds. Even if you want to be conservative, 300 is plenty.
- When you arrive you sign in and get a goodie bag along with match info. Your score sheets and scoring labels are in the bag. Since I was running late, I set up my scores sheets and caught up with my squad. I read the info later.
- I’d never shot a major match so the way they handle score sheets was new to me. You get a stack of duplicate score sheets. Top copy is white, bottom copy is yellow. They have pre-printed labels that you attach to each top copy. Write in the stage numbers (move each score sheet off the stack or the carbon on lower sheets will get that stage number as well). As you shoot, the RSO will give you the yellow copy as soon as you complete the stage. I really liked the instant and clear feedback. They also took the time to explain any penalties I incurred, which I appreciated.
- I started shooting at 9am, took a break for lunch, and finished my last stage by 4:15pm. You can opt to shoot the match in 1 day or across two 1/2 days. I am commuting an hour each way and didn’t want to drive back Wednesday so I opted for the 1 day experience. We started with a squad of 10 or 12 (of which 5 were women) and ended with a squad of about 6 (3 women finished the day). About half our squad dropped out for the afternoon and will shoot the rest on Wednesday. It was a long day and I’m not used to being on my feet all day, but it was a good decision for me.
- The Range fed us lunch – it’s part of the volunteer experience. We had a never ending supply of cold water and there were canned drinks at lunch. They will have a food vendor on Thurs, Fri and Saturday and I’ve been told I HAVE to try the “bologna burger”. Stay tuned for the assessment on that!
- If you haven’t worn ear muffs for 8 hours straight – they can give you a headache. Next time I’ll pack my in-ear protection and swap off during the day.
- I wore shorts but I was in the minority. I didn’t find that to be a problem and I did find that to be cooler. If you are considering shorts be aware there are a few stages where you must kneel and there is poison ivy in the woods on the “across the road” stages. I know what it looks like and I’m not very allergic, so I would wear shorts again.
I have much more to write about my performance and the stages I shot, but I’ll reserve that for future posts. I’m headed back up at 6am tomorrow to help folks check in who will be shooting Thursday. I’ll be in the “Stats Building” entering scores until the end of the day Saturday. I’ll write more about my shooting experience and my volunteer experience next week.
For other tips and reasons to shoot a reagional match, I recommend this podcast from Triangle Tactical: http://www.triangletactical.net/2013/06/05/club-vs-major-matches-ttp-ep-31/
If you are shooting the cup, please stop by and say “hello”.