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Some Champs are heros and others.....


Ketchum Quick, SASS #72923

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Some of you who are close to me know that my competiton shooting experience did not start with this sport or bullseye or practical pistol shooting. My experience started with IHMSA. It was a very popular shooting sport 30 years ago. We shot targets at pretty respectible distances with open sighted pistols. It was a fun sport. I did it with my Dad and Uncles when I was just a young teen.

 

During the time I shot, I was able to meet and associate with many folks who were quite a bit older than me. Some of them were really good and some were not but they tried hard and they had fun. That is what a recreational sport that doesn't pay money to the winners should be, fun. Like Cowboy Action Shooting, the IHSMA shooters wanted to do their best too. We all did.

 

Also like CAS, we had the best equipment we could afford. Some times it helped and well... sometimes it didn't.

 

I was lucky enough to have great help to get me going. My Mom and Dad, as well as my Uncles tried to coach and support me the best that they could. I didn't have the best equipment that money could by but I learned to shoot it to the best of my ability and that was all that mattered to me. When I started out, I competed against myself for the most part. I was one of the youngest shooters in the country back then so there were few Junior shooters.

 

I shot the sport and got to know the other shooters quite well. We traveled from match to match every weekend. We got to know who was most likely to win in each class at every match. We also learned who to help out and who to avoid.

 

As probably most of you know, in any sport, there are those who compete to win and those who compete for fun.

 

We got to know some super people who shot IHMSA and we got to know the dinks too. There was a shooter who left such a bad impression on me, I have not forgotten anything that I knew about him to this day. Mind you that this was 30+ years ago and I was a young teen at the time. I could tell you his name, the country he was from, what kind of car that he drove, what caliber the guns that he shot were.

 

It didn't start that way though. When I first met this guy I was about nine. He had a funny accent and looked a lot like Elvis. He shot pretty good and was getting better year after year. He was my Dad's age or a little bit older. He came to the US when he was a teen and enlisted in the Army after high school. He did sometime in Vietnam and was proud of his service to his new country. Most everyone liked talking to him but unfortunately, nobody wanted to help him.

 

While this great guy was interesting to me as a kid, he was a turn off to most of the adult shooters because of how he acted on the range. For a long time I didn't understand why others didn't want to help him.

 

IHMSA is a two person sport. The shooter needs or should have a spotter. The spotter's job is to tell the shooter where they are hitting and to make sight adjustments if needed. This guy whom I am describing would blam his spotters if he missed a target. He was the one behind the gun and would not take the blame for his misses. It got to the post that no one would step up to help him out by spotting for him. When it came time for him to go to the line most everyone would be busy.

 

In the IHMSA game a perfect match would be a 40, that would be 40 targets knocked down with 40 shots. This shooter was after a perfect match and had worked hard to get there. Unfortunately he spent a lot of time shooting a lot of 39 out of 40 matches. Until one day I spotted for him. We were at the Ionia match. He had worked early in the morning and rushed to the match. By the time he came to the club many shooters had finished up and went home. That being said, there were not a lot of shooters on the range and I, not knowing any better offered to help him by spotting. I hadn't spotted for him in the past and I think he didn't have a lot of options. I think I was about 11 years old. Just a little kid to him.

 

Well he sat down and mowed through the chicken targets without a miss. Then came the pig targets. No misses. So far so good. Up next were the turkey targets. They all dropped right into the dirt. No problem. So far so good. All the hits were dead center. Up next were the ram targets. They were set at 200 meters. I knew today might be the day this shooter shot his perfect 40 match.

 

All the targets were reset and the range officer had given the order to engage the next batch of targets. Target 1,2,and 3 were all knocked down but they were hit low in the belly. The shooter was shooting a Wichita pistol that had Bomar sights. I told him to come up two clicks on his rear sight and that should put him at or close to dead center. He stopped, turned back to look at me and paused.

 

I didn't know why he paused, I had told my Dad or Uncles to do the same type of thing all the time. He looked at me grabbed his screw driver and made the adjustment that I had told him to make. He tossed his screwdriver into his shooter's box and eased back into the creedmore position that we all shot from.

 

Boom! Dead center Tony I told him. Dead center again after the next shot. He had made it to the last ram target hitting them all within a baseball size group after making the adjustment. When he came to the 10th ram target or the 40th target for the match, he stopped, took a little extra time and squeezed the shot off. I saw the target fall in the spotting scope, then, like the others I heard the clang of the hit. Tony had shot a perfect match! He came up off the ground like he was blasted up by dynomite. He was so happy and everyone else was happy for him.

 

At the next few matches I was introduced as the kid that got Tony his 40. He was on a cloud for a few weeks. And he should have been he shot a great match.

 

Then came the Michigan State Championship IHMSA match. It was held in Clare. My Dad and I couldn't go because he had to work and truthfully I am glad that I didn't go.

 

Two of my Uncles went to the match and they shot well. Dad had called them to see how it went for them and he was told about Tony's match. Tony had gone to the match with great expectations I would suspect. I would imagine that he was riding high on his 40 that was shot at our club in Ionia. I couldn't blame him. Sadly though Tony didn't have a good match and he yelled and cussed out one spotter, blaming his misses on the poor spotter. Well after the first event went bad he shot another catagory and that didn't go well either. The whole weekend went bad for him in fact and he just couldn't pull it together for that match.

 

After getting really mad at himself Tony imploded. He put his pistol away and started banging his head against a 4x4 post in frustration. He continued until the match officials drug him from the firing line. My Uncles could hardly believe what they had witnessed. Tony was disquallified from the match and banned from the club.

 

As a kid this was hard for me to deal with. He was, in my eyes, the cool guy who looked like Elvis and talked with a funny accent. I had spotted him to a perfect match. Tony disappeared after that day and I never saw him at another match.

 

I don't know where he is and I never looked for him. My Dad, Uncles and family friends didn't miss him because of his attitude that he brought to the match. He blammed others for his misses on the targets more than he did himself, he was difficult at times where everyone else seemed to not take the game so seriously.

 

It made me feel bad for him. He came to the sport with a different agenda then most everyone else.

 

As mentioned above, I can remember everything about him, Tony, made an impression on me that showed what the ugly side of competition can do to people. There were many others that I knew when we were shooting IHMSA but few that left a mark on me as a young person like that. It was such a strong negative that I can remember it clearly over 30 years later.

 

Dad told me that we shoot for fun and because we can, we shoot this because we like it and it will make us better hunters. I believe that Dad was right as to why we or he shoot IHMSA but in the end I think my participation tought me how to have fun and not to take a recreational event and allow it to spoil me as a person and to value the fellowship we have with like minded people.

 

Just because you win today doesn't mean tomorrow you won't loose.

 

 

 

Sorry for being long winded...

 

Ketchum Quick

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To some, I think the spotter was often easy to blame. I shot IHMSA for about 22 years before coming into CAS (about 1999). My late wife Joyce (aka Miss Ann) was behind me spotting and keeping time for most of those years. I got upset at times when I missed but got over it quickly.....as it was usually "the nut behind the trigger". She was good at spotting and often spotted for others....and she knew the frustration the shooter often got. I was notorious for using all my two minutes and she was well known for counting down the final seconds out loud to me.

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Thanks for the reply Billy.

 

I think that I should have added that I saw the wisdom of the Wild Bunch early on as it applies to the no Buicks or Caddilacs given away as prizes. I try to keep that prospective at every match that I shoot.

 

KQ

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One thing that CAS that attracted me was the comrade, it was so much like the early years I was in IHMSA. Such a shooting family of many and from so many different places. I often see Carl at EOT and remember him from IHMSA days when he came over to the US from New Z to shoot.

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Good'un, KQ. have met a few that have that different agenda, But, I'll venture to say that they don't stick with it very much to really appreciate any real success. The few I've met in CAS are long gone. I'm sure there'll be others, but I'd bet my last dollar they'll soon move on also. I visited a local club shoot yesterday, never popped a cap, spotted and reset shotgun targets and generally just "jawed"... I had as good a time as when I've shot. One of my infrequent clean matches I've attended. But, I've put that club down as one where I surely want to revisit.

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One thing that CAS that attracted me was the comrade, it was so much like the early years I was in IHMSA. Such a shooting family of many and from so many different places. I often see Carl at EOT and remember him from IHMSA days when he came over to the US from New Z to shoot.

 

Does he look like an old Elvis now an did "Carl" once live in Michigan?

 

 

KQ

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Does he look like an old Elvis now an did "Carl" once live in Michigan?

 

 

KQ

 

Howdy, KQ -

 

No... he doesn't look like Elvis and never lived in Michigan. He's known in CAS circles as Bullshooter Carl, and he's made it to several EoT's. Like Billy Boots, I was an IHMSA shooter for 20+ years (I've known BB since the early 80's) before migrating over to cowboy action shooting. Your story brought back some old memories and I appreciate you taking the time to write it.

 

Regards, TJH

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Great story. Sometimes I get a little upset (at myself) if I'm not shooting well. Then I remind myself how lucky I am to be doing something I love, with great friends around me, and I feel better.

 

 

Amen pard! That is what it is all about. My wife put it best, as far as I am conserned, she told me that she wants to shoot as much as she can until it becomes work for her then she will give it up.

 

Ketchum Quick

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