It’s 6:45. I open one eye and I can hear rain rattling off the side of the house. Oh well, we’ve had a really great summer of good weather, but it looks like our luck has run out.
But, I can’t just roll over and go back to sleep – I need to go out to the range and either wait out the rain or cancel the match. While the coffee is brewing I checked the weather radar. There is a green blotch of rain with a well-defined western edge moving across Ft. Wayne, but at the rate it is moving – it just might clear away by about 9:00.
So, I take my coffee and head out. Along I-469 it is just pouring. At Harlan Donuts, it is a steady downpour. I get to the range, open up the house, start the heat and wait and see if anyone is going to show up. The rain sounds like someone is pouring gravel on the metal roof of the clubhouse – I am more convinced that this is going to be a rainout.
After I eat my fritter and drink my coffee, I start sweeping up the dead wasps, stink bugs, spider webs and dead grass. Then, Doc Habel shows up. My comment to him; “Well, at least I’m not the only crazy person today.” It starts to rain harder.
Then, about 8:15 Joe Bakies and Jack Baker from Lima Sabers walk in and just a few minutes later Mark Walters shows up also. The rain slacks off a bit and we just sit around and swap stories about whatever comes to mind. Then, about 8:45 it just pours again and just as suddenly quits. We looked out the windows and there was a streak of light and a patch of blue sky off to the northwest. By 9:00, our start time – the rain had quit, the clouds were breaking up and we decided; ”Let’s go do this.”
We had four people, two relays, so we set up the match as a FWRR vs. Lima Sabers head-to-head Club Match. A coin flip decided that FWRR would shoot first and we decided to shoot all the way back with just one pit change. By the time the FWRR shooters went to the line, the rain was gone and the sky was blue with fluffy cotton ball clouds floating by.
After a very doubtful beginning, we ended up with a fantastic day to shoot. It was cool enough that nobody got too hot and there was just a slight wind that fishtailed from about 2 o’clock to 10 o’clock to make the 200-yard rim fire stage a challenge. The fluffy white clouds were the biggest challenge as you could go from a target in bright sunlight to deep shadow in a matter of just a few seconds.
Mark Walters was very consistent over the day with 193-6X in the .22 rim fire stage and 193-5X at 300 yards for a 386-11X aggregate. Joe Bakies made a good run at Mark’s score, but his 196-7X 300-yard score just did not quite make up for his 189-4X score at 200-yards. His 385-11X fell one point shy of Marl’s 386-11X.
Doc Habel caught a couple of wind changes and a 7 and a pair of 8’s held him to a 181-1X in the .22 stage followed by a 188-2X at 300 yards. Jack Baker, a Grand Senior, shot a very respectable 184-2X at 200-yards and a 169-2X at 300 yards.
But, The Leonard Johnson Match is the Toughest 2-Man Team Match in the country, so in the end it was the team scores that counted. The Fort Wayne Rifle and Revolver Club Team had a 755-14X and the Lima Sabers had a 738-15X, giving FWRR the bragging rights for the 2021 Leonard Johnson Memorial Match.
Joe Bakies is considering holding a 200-yard .22 rim fire/300-yard center fire match at Lima in the spring, so we could well end up with an inter-club competition here with a suitable traveling trophy at stake.
And – it turned out to be a great day and a good time was had by all…..