AFTAAC Puerto Rico Grand Prix...MY TAKE ON THE EVENT/PHOTOS
I was fortunate to be able to arrive in PR the Monday before and leave the Friday after making a vacation as well as a GP.
After some Iguana hunting and touring with Manolo Gonzalez and his family, the first day of the event was on Friday Feb 22nd . The winds in Puerto Rico are about as serious as I have ever shot in. Each day was 20 mph or more! That is the steady wind, not counting the gusts that top 28-30 mph!
The pistol match was a meet and greet as well. We had a “Gringo” contingent of 8 folks from the US. Besides myself, there was Riz Marquez, Bill Coder, Keith “Knobs”, Gerald Long, Chris Cory, Mike Harris, and Colin Window. Colin was shooting his first ever FT match. He comes from a military shooting background, including Camp Perry.
Four of us were here for the first time, Gerald, Riz, Colin And Myself. Riz and his wife made the most of it looking for waterfalls, riding 4 wheeler's and other touristy stuff.
I must first say that the shooters present from Puerto Rico, were some of the finest people you can meet! Omar was here from Panama, and invited us to come shoot at their location in Panama…Can you say another vacation?
I did say that the wind is crazy, here didn’t I? Well I am now… Using a 12 ft lb rifle here is bad enough, but a 12 ft lb pistol only exaggerates the effects! I did not work the wind as well as I should have but managed the 3rd place spot behind Luis Lopez in 1st, and Ramon Conner in 2nd.
However, Bill Coder and his purple Thomas, in pistol configuration, managed well He took the 1st place position in Open/Unlimited class. Followed closely by Riz Marquez in 2nd Place. That 3 trophies for the Gringos…lol
They supplied very good ham and cheese sandwiches in a hoagie type bread, soft drinks, juice, and beer… And of course, the Tamarindo moonshine they are known for….
Day 2 was the first day of rifle competition. The open field course had some elevated targets on poles and in small trees. The swaying of a couple trees, had us making shots at slightly moving targets…
The wind is always the biggest challenge here as I found out. Starting out with 12 mph steady, and then by the middle of the match hitting 20+ EVERY DAY! This Saturday was no exception... If it can happen it will…for me! During the middle of the match my Thomas started to fire on it’s own when the rifle was cocked and the lever forward, Cost me several shots and my mind game. Did OK, but not my best. It was the sear too close to the engagement edge. At la casa, Manolo just adjusted it for me, and it was fine for the next day… After the match we all enjoyed a pig that was on a spit cooking while we shot the match. It was superb! Side dishes, juice, sodas, and beer, abounded. Moonshine as well. These guys know how to party after the fact!
Say 3 on Sunday, it called for 28 mph winds that never came. Only the typical 20+ again. I started off with cleaning the first 6 lanes! Then I dropped the first target on lane 13 and the other 3 missed low. It was then I realized I did not top off after trying the trigger at the sight in .. Oh well, that was only 3 shots lost. I picked up the game again until lane 15. For some reason I shot the targets, that were about a yard apart and nearly in line, out of order. I shot the higher number first, knocking it down twice…Opps! That was 5 down now…I managed to pick it back up…
By the end of the day I ended up tied for the two days with Wilson Hernandez for 2nd place in open.
We had a shootout with 1 round sitting, then 1 round kneeling, then standing for 4 rounds. I prevailed on the 4th round to win the spot. A good exciting shootout..
Manolo Gonzalez took the top spot in open and was tied for the top overall scorer of the GP, with Manuel “Poli” Morales. Manolo won the shootout on the standing shots.
In WFTF Manuel Morales took 1st place and Gerald Long had to shoot out with Bill Coder for the 2nd and 3rd spots. Gerald won the shoot out during the standing rounds.
In Hunter class PCP Humberto Parodi was 1st, My partner on Sunday, Carlos Gonzalez, took 2nd, and Ramon Seneris was 3rd
WFTF had one shooter Diki Bengoa, and in Hunter Piston was Colin Window .I felt bad for Colin as he had a new TX 200 and a scope he just put on it a day or two before. No side wheel or set up. Only found a zero and guessed the ranges. He wanted to vacation and shoot, so kudos to him….
After the match and before the awards there was a cake for the birthday boys of the month….Our Knobs, and Chris, Ramon and Omar. The awards were given and we all hung around to party with the competitors….. What a great time…
If you can make a match here in Puerto Rico, do it! Beautiful weather temps at this time of the year. No need for air conditioning. Azure color clear water, lots to see and do…Wonderful people, and the food is off the hook! I had a hamburger that was 16oz! I ate Pul Po (octopus) and shrimp stuffed chicken breast wrapped with bacon..Wow!
Looking forward to next year….
yeah, the PR crowd got my name wrong. No worries though as they pronounced Colin correctly! I'm looking at Grants Pass, Oregon for March, West Coast GP in San Luis Obispo, CA for April, Ashland, Oregon for May. Not shooting June as all events conflict with my two motorbike rally's . The Pyramyd Cup in August, and Nationals in October. But, as I learned in the Army, a plan is nothing more than a basis for change...
Oh, I got some sticks from Cabela's and the PR crowd fixed me up for a wheel on the Optisan so it's game on now!