2008 Sporting Gents Fall Formal

My friend Vince organizes an event every year whereby everyone that we know brings all the guns they can gather to a farm in upstate Pennsylvania for a day of trap shooting. Unfortunately I'd missed it in years past always having something come up at the last minute. Tales of past ventures, told in dark drunken bar rooms, made it seem like an unlikely (if dangerous) assemblage. No excuses this year!

I knew when I received a three piece invitation, complete with RSVP card and a driving directions slip-sheet, that this would be a class affair. I was not disappointed. Everyone wore their best suit or tux and assorted finery. As an added bonus, as noted by the red call-out on the invite stating "Now with Ladies!", women were invited to attend.

It was a beautiful sunny early winter morning when I arrived at the farm. I must confess to being a little nervous as I haven't shot since I was much younger and had a yet-unfired new shotgun in my truck that I was hoping to break in. The range safety staff were extremely helpful and inviting, always quick with advice or instruction, never offering any judgements or off-handed bullshit. By the end of the day, they were letting us fire their weapons and setting up competitions for us. They encouraged everyone who attended, no matter how nervous they appeared, to give it a try and enjoy themselves. Perfect. Thanks Harry and Gene!

Needless to say, my new shotgun got broken in nicely and I only saw it on the rack once the whole day. I'd guess we shot at least six hundred rounds with it. We might have looked kind of funny shooting clay pigeons with a short barrel cop riot gun with a muzzle break and breach teeth, but it sure was fun. By the end of the day I was really comfortable with it and had a couple perfect seven shot rounds.

Travis and Sierra (thanks also to any others I neglected to mention) ensured that we all ate well, having setup a complete catering tent just a few feet from the firing line. We had everything from hot cider to sushi. No joke. Class act all the way. Later in the evening, after having gone through about 5000 rounds and countless cases of clay pigeons, we all headed to a nice old inn for a formal dinner. A big ass steak and a few cold beers later I was feeling great.

I didn't really intend to write a whole story here so suffice it to say it was quite a day. Thanks to Vin Marshall and everyone else who helped make this a fine event.

Jason - November, 2008