2018 has been a wild year for Field Target in Northern Ohio. What used to be known as OAFTSA is now NOA, locations have changed which means a new course with new challenges and a lot of fun for our shooters. Our inaugural match was held on May 20th, 2018 at the brand new Twin Oaks Air Rifle Range in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. The Northeast Ohio Airgunners have put in a ton of work over the last few weeks to get the lanes cut, targets set and property ready for the coming season. It’s been quite an undertaking and one that we could not have achieved without our fantastic members and property owner Ashley. Everyone has been all hands on deck to get things ready to go and we want to thank everyone for their effort.
After a little early morning scare from Mother Nature, the day brightened up nicely and with temps in the low to mid 60s all day, it ended up being a perfect day for FT. The course was very muddy and a little wet from some hellish rains the night before. After cutting down a few extra branches and verifying the that the targets had survived the evenings storm, shooters began arriving. We had a few surprise guest from New York as Sean McDaniel, Eric Brewer and Ray Apelles all made the trip down to see us. We figured the rainy evening and spotty morning would have most of the shooters staying in for the day, but not these guys. Slowly but surely, many familiar faces started to trickle in, and some new ones as well. Looks like the new location didn’t deter any shooters from joining us for a day of FT.
The early drizzle passed around 8:30 and shooters began making their way onto the sight in line. The new property gives us a lot more room for sight in and a nicer clubhouse as well. The range used to be a vineyard, so there are a lot of wide open areas for sight in ranges, and we took full advantage of that. In addition, the clubhouse has seating for 30-40 guests with a TV that we can display squads and scores on. Tyler and Jeff gave the shooters briefing and all 25 Shooters made their way onto the lanes. It’s a bit of a haul from the clubhouse to the lanes, and with the water and mud, it wasn’t an easy trip. We just hope that the shooters were pleased with the course that greeted them after the long walk.
The course was set on the long side, but with a lot of big kills. The Troyer rating for the course was around a 30.5T, but with 14/30 targets over 40 yards, and 12 of those 14 at 45 yards or more, the shooters would have their work cut out for them. Being our first match of the year, most of the closer shots had very reasonable kill zones. Thankfully, we made it through the day with just a single cold line. It’s always interesting shooting any course for the first time, learning the nuances of a location and seeing how the shooters react. I heard a lot of groaning about mis-ranging targets due to the darkness of many lanes and some about the amount of long shots. Most of my own personal gripes came towards the end of the match when some sneaky winds began to creep in through the trees. It became a guessing game of how much of the lane had wind moving through it, and in turn how much to hold for. In the end, I was happy to see some wind sneak in, it’s something we didn’t get a whole lot of at our previous location.
As shooters began streaming in, they were greeted by an excellent lunch spread courtesy of Kristen Coss. She treated the shooters to some delicious eats, including a corn salad, pasta salad, apricot kielbasa and pulled Italian beef sandwiches. It was a hard earned, and tasty meal. We saw some great scores out of a few new shooters and some great improvement from others. Looks like many of our guys have been practicing in the off season. Congrats to the class winners, there were some fantastic scores. Tom Himes shot a 58/60, just edging out brother Dennis by two shots. Ray Apelles shot a superb 52/60 with his Diana 54 in WFTF Piston. Eric Brewer shot a 42/60 in Hunter Piston and Tyler Patner shot a 46/60 in WFTF PCP. I do want to give a special shout out to first time shooters Richard Jagers, Matt Kleinhen and Mike Pompoco, using loaner guns and putting in very close to or better than 50% scores. And particularly to Mike, as he is wheelchair bound. I never saw him without a smile on his face, and I think we were all amazed watching his motorized chair with the tank style tracks on it cruising through the mud. Fantastic shooting and we hope you’ll be back again to join us in June.
To all who came out and joined us for the match, thank you for coming and supporting the club. With any change, there are always some nerves and worry about losing shooters for one reason or another, but we are glad that you all have stuck with us. We are looking forward to many great years of FT at Twin Oaks, and we hope you plan to be a part of it. Our June match will be on the 17th, we hope to see you all there.