The Pellet Challenge, Food & Drink
Saturday includes The Pellet Challenge, sponsored by ourselves, at GDL. It's a bit of fun for the benchrest shooters at the end of their heats. The idea for it started 12 years ago, at EBR #1. Then, my business card had a pellet printed on the far right side. Robert, the MD of Airguns of Arizona, suggested it would be fun if we had an additional, mini competition to see who could get closest on the head of the pellet. As a Scot, I said there’s only one possible prize–a bottle of whisky. The Pellet Challenge has been in every EBR since.
This year’s prize was one of the best whiskies I’ve ever drunk, and it’s made fewer than 7 miles away from my home. Which means it is… English malt whisky! In fact, it’s a fabulous drink and I’m a big fan of it. Enough of a fan to hand-carry a bottle over to Phoenix on several occasions to make sure someone enjoys a fine tipple. The winner always receives a briefing from me – mainly reminding them not to drown it with ice or ginger ale.
Judging this competition is complex, not least because there's some very fine shooting, in the wind, over 75yards. However a .30 will obliterate the pellet head while a .25 will sit snugly inside it.
This was the dilemma we faced this year. In the end, we judged both 25 and 30cal shooters and calibres were bang on, so, for the first time ever, we had 2 winners. Too close to call.
Which meant I had to buy another bottle. This sponsorship lark is getting expensive !!
One of the downsides of visiting the States is that it is nigh impossible to find a cuppa – just plain old ordinary builder’s tea. The coffee is fine but, as they don’t really have kettles, ordinary tea is nigh impossible to find. Unless it’s Earl Grey or camomile with ginger etc. So it was a delight to meet Mishele Revelo, who was behind the counter at the coffee truck.
She had lived in London for a few months so understood TEA. She also understood 'white coffee', instead of Americano with milk (hot/cold?) etc. And it didn’t stop there - Freedom Lemonade with Glitter? It is a pretty unlikely combination for a shooting competition, you have to admit!
Down on the range, barrels were smokin’ as the heats started, but other things were not smoking at all. A sign of our times:
Back at the house, it was time for the Brits to cook up some proper food. Ex-pat Stephen Archer, editor of Hard Air Magazine, and I hit the supermarket and scoured the shelves for some straightforward real food, and a decent beer.
And so it was we
ended up with some sockeye salmon, garlicky courgettes, potatoes and green beans, washed down with some fine local beer, Definitely thumbs up.
At the other end of the scale were ‘bear claws’ and other ‘goodies’. Are they doughnuts .. or pastries .. or just way too big for any one person.
Eventually it was over. EBR100 was won by Thayne Simmons with 232 and 7xs using a Karma Red Panda .30 from China; the EBR50yard Open winner was Irwin Segerman with a total of 719 and 19xs across 3 cards, using a Thomas .22; the EBR Springer Class was won by Anthony Turchetta with 457 and 1x across 3 cards; EFT Extreme Class winner was Caleb Dickinson with 39, using a Daystate Red Wolf .25. For the full results, click here.
So it was time to head home from EBR after a very enjoyable hot 5 days.
Time to take the long & winding road out of the Rio Salado Range.
The journey home was fun as it afforded stunning views over Baffin Island and with the jet stream pushing us on, it wasn’t long before Old Blighty was in sight.
And a decent cup of tea.