A Weekend In The Arena

Got to shoot a match this past weekend. Super excited to shoot a gun at The Arena Training Facility since the last time I only took a camera. Left the house around 5:45 Friday morning. Once I got on the highway the car started vibrating. Picked up Chase Lions and we proceeded to start the Aggie tire change after determining we couldn’t drive 11 hours in massage chairs. The very last tire we put the spare on was the culprit. Must have broken a steel belt. After an hour at Discount Tire we were back on the road. Talked a lot about shooting and life on the way. Listened to some motivational stuff. Chase put a ton of emphasis on preparation. A missed turn and close to 14 hours in the car (close to 16 for me) we arrived in Blakely GA. Chase Lions was navigating by the way! We get to the range early Saturday morning. Figured I could get my gun zeroed and a little data on ammo the day before, as I expected to get there in time. Preparation was lacking. Tried to rush a quick fix to no avail. I need to listen to Chase more. Thankfully Chase brought a backup for me to shoot. A “backup gun” that has apparently served this purpose in the past. Got squaded up and gotta say it was a hella fun squad. We had a barrel maker Brandon Haas from T Box Barrel Company, a guy that makes one hell of a precision rifle Eric Lee with SGT OF ARMS. The one he made won the match with the barrel makers barrel I might add, with a little help from Jeff Williams. Some guy who does some evaluating and testing or something for some branch of the military. We had a dude who is simply amazing in his ability to overcome and kick ass no matter how heavy of a gun he is lugging around. An ex swat sniper. A bullet maker and a bunch of other guys that made for one of the coolest matches. Jeff Williams antics and personality were a joy to behold. Might be the least serious, laid back group I have shot with. That is until they started shooting, and dammit they can shoot. They taunted and played off each other in a way that makes it impossible not to have a good time. Kind of stuff where you are thinking, man this group should be in a sitcom. (It would have to be on late night cable). Just watching I learned a ton. Got some great advice on fixes to the gun I didn’t get to shoot. Got some great advice on positioning and stance as well as wind. I even learned about the Dallas Dick from a guy out of Pennsylvania. Didn’t know it had one. The stages ran from 100 yards out to 1000. Shooting off all types of obstacles. On one stage shooting through all types of obstacles. It was meant to be a match which challenged guys with the bigger 6.5s or similar, and the smaller 556. Stages were set up to put them on a more level playing field. I think they did a pretty good job of accomplishing that. All these guys shot great and most of all had a great time.. I think. Ash HessJack Leuba of Quantified Performance and Arena Training Facility put on a tremendous match which ran very smoothly start to finish. The prize table was overflowing with goodies. Everyone who shot got something. I came in 55th out of 80 and actually won a prize!! Went to dinner after and got to talk to a bunch of other shooters including the Extreme Long Range group. They cleared up some misconceptions I had on the sport. Apparently you don’t just aim at the sky and pull the trigger until you hit something. Who Knew. Had dinner with Jeremy Tye who was there helping to celebrate the life of one of his buddies, Bill Guesman, who passed this year. As it turns out I had dinner with Bill the last time I attended a match at the Arena. Super nice and well respected guy that everyone seemed to know and like. A stage was dedicated to him with a plaque all the winners of that stage in the future will have their names engraved upon. When the plaque fills up, it will be sent to his wife. Super cool memorial and a great way to have his memory live on. Can I say again how cool this shooting community is. After dinner it was back to the cabin area for a little AX throwing, drinking and general bullshitery. Found out I might be a better AX thrower than shooter. I even gained a new perspective on hunting from the group. Normally I look for areas 1-2 hundred yards. If I could confidently hit a target at 800-1000 yards would that change how I looked at my hunting plan. Hell yes it would, and in hindsight it would have presented so many more opportunities. We apparently made it back to the hotel and bed at some point. All in all it was a great weekend. And it was a real privilege to meet so many great people and unbelievable shooters. You can see a video of what the match was like @


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