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Blackjack Zak

Winter Range 2020 - Feedback from our Shooters!

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Hello Folks!

 

I hope you are all doing well and staying healthy during these unusual and unprecedented times.  Some of our fellow shooters in our big CAS family, I am sure, are struggling with various issues and challenges and our hearts go out to them.  Knowing there is a large network of support of friends and family out there hopefully eases the pain a little.  I know it does for me.  

 

It was truly sad that End of Trail and many other major matches had to cancel, but they were likely the right calls.  Those decisions are not made lightly and are done with heavy hearts.  This COVID virus has caused us all various trials and tribulations.  As has been said before, "this too shall pass.”

 

As promised, I want to share some information about Winter Range 2020.  As you know every year we send out a survey to our shooters after the match.  This year we received 466 responses, which is a very good return rate.  I can say that the vast majority of shooters who responded were very happy with the match and made many constructive and positive comments.  Most of them said they will return next year no matter what!

 

We received top marks from about 93% of our shooters.  While that is a great report card, it isn’t a perfect one. Each year we strive to improve upon the previous year’s match.  2021 will be no exception.  We can always do better, and we will!

 

First, let me explain our match design philosophy:  Winter Range is the National Championship, and it needs to measure up to that level of challenge.  At the same time, we acknowledge that many folks just want to shoot and have fun.  We therefore have a difficult task of appealing to everyone.  In fact, that is almost impossible.  However, we try to accommodate the majority and give most everyone a healthy portion of what they want. 

 

We design our match to be about 1/3 fast and close, 1/3 medium speed and medium distances and a little more challenging, and 1/3 with targets a little farther out, perhaps with some more challenging sequences.  We also try to keep those stages on the same wave to allow shooters to "get into a groove" for each level/type of challenge.  As this is the National Championship, it should challenge several aspects of shooting. That’s what separates the accomplished shooters from those who get lucky on occasion. 

 

Again, about 93% of our shooters said we got it right!  However, we can learn something from the constructive criticism offered on various aspects of the match.  There is a part of CAS that likes big, close and fast:  don't we all!  However, many of you indicated in your surveys that shooting big, close and fast on all 12 stages is not what you want.  You want a mix...and that is what we try to deliver...a mix with a challenge.  We want to challenge your "all around shooting skills," and still make it fun for everyone.   

 

Two of our stages last year were, perhaps, a bit too challenging for some people.  We acknowledge that these stages could have been designed differently.  The two stages that had "vertical" target placement paired with a "more challenging sequence," were a little too much for some.  If the two challenges were separated (one or the other) it would have been better.  So...lesson learned. Again, our goal is to make it fun and challenging for all shooters.

 

We also received a few comments about the "cactus" knockdown targets.  They were admittedly a little small so they were set very close to the firing line.  Remember, we set up for two matches:  Cowboy and Wild Bunch.  We need to set the targets for use by both matches, where possible, given that we have limited volunteer labor to reset the entire range and all 140 targets in one day.  In 2021, we plan to use a few of those cactus knockdowns and they will be close and set for very light hits, as they were this year.  (We calibrate our targets every night for light hits.)

 

So what's the plan for next year?  Winter Range will be celebrating its 30th Anniversary, and we intend on making it the best one yet!  Some really great entertainment, maybe a night shoot with some fireworks and some new targets and props are on the agenda.  This year our new main tent was a hit, and the Saturday night banquet a huge success...we will see that again.  Also, we will be ordering a few more 24" steel targets with new stands to add to our inventory. There might even be a new safety video!  Folks, 2021 will be a seriously fun match with targets a little closer and bigger, but will maintain the shooting challenge we always provide at Winter Range. 

 

Applications will be out soon on the website so standby for that.  We are anticipating a sold-out match, so please get your applications in early.

 

I wish you all well and good shooting!

 

Blackjack Zak

 

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