Written by Matt Hornback
The best piece of advice for this match is to bring a shooting mat, grab your favorite shooting bag, leave the tripod and don’t expect to spot your misses.
My third NRL match of the 2018 season was the notorious Butch’s Oklahoma Shoot. Located in Woodward, Oklahoma, this match was held in a sprawling private range facility complete with rolling hills, plenty of cows and…wind mills! Yes, that’s right, Butch even turned on the fans for the competitors to make sure we didn’t have it easy.
Friday morning, 10am, Butch’s Guns.
Competitors were set to arrive and check in at Butch’s Shop, located on the main drag of Woodward, Oklahoma. We were greeted by the friendly staff and the man himself, Butch Fjoser. Sign in complete and matchbook in hand, we were ready for sight in. Words cannot express how lucky competitors are to have access to a beautifully stocked retail front on match weekend! Sight in was an all afternoon ordeal located at the main range for the match, the real entertainment for the afternoon was watching HS Precision’s Josh Cluff “decide” which rifle to shoot. Some of us should only be so lucky to have 3 rifles to choose from!
Friday evening, 6pm, Fjoser Residence.
Attendees were encouraged to meet at Butch’s residence where we were treated to an awesome shrimp boil! Tons of laughter, banter and “words of encouragement” were shared over some finely cooked shrimp and a few adult beverages. This was by far my most favorite part of the match and sets it apart from other matches I’ve attended around the country.
Saturday morning, 830 am, Main Range.
Competitors rolled in, approximately 40 strong for the safety brief and orientation. Groups and squads were divided up and we hit the ground running with more than a dozen stages ahead of us for the day. One group of squads was to start at the main range where the two remaining groups were loaded up on the pink school bus and head to their perspective ranges. Nothing like a good old fashioned hay bail bus ride!
The best piece of advice for this match is to bring a shooting mat, grab your favorite shooting bag, leave the tripod and don’t expect to spot your misses. This is a one-bag, no supporting equipment match. I found myself really enjoying this format as the stages developed due to its simplicity and lack of stuff to haul around.
The stages were divided into 2 types, troop line and positional. During troop line stages, a squad is prone on the firing line while competitors shoot in succession. The troop line format was completely new to me during a match course of fire and it was actually a great way to keep a match moving. Troop line stages consisted of 30 point totals with 10 targets in the array. A first round hit earned you 2 points while a second round hit earned you 1 point, a total of 3 points possible per target. Average troop line scores were in the teens. Long distances and small targets were the equalizer while rolling terrain and switching winds kept everyone guessing. Tall grass and sky-lined targets made corrections nearly impossible, so you had better get it right the first time.
Positional stages were of the standard variety, rooftop, barricades, tank traps, farm fence, fence posts and the dreaded shooting sticks! Positional stages were each worth 10 points with 1 point per impact. The infamous “Mickey stage” caused a lot of hurt feelings as competitors planted a lot of lead seeds around, but not on Mickey. I can proudly say, I hit Mickey!
Sunday morning, 8ish am? Main range.
There seemed to be a communication breakdown among shooters as some got the message about the start time and some did not. I was one of the ones, that did not get the message. Luckily, I wasn’t the only one in my squad that had to scramble to get to the proper location in time. Which bought us all a few extra moments to get prepared for the final stages of the match. There was one slight issue however, the fog had rolled in heavy and kept us from seeing even the closest targets. After a few delays, the fog lifted and we could resume sending hopes and prayers at some steel that didn’t need a repaint from the day before.
My squad consisted of Michael Palmer, Casey Hughes, Rick Risinger and myself (Matt Hornback). I cant say enough nice things about these gentleman. They were the most mellow squad I have ever shot with and moral was always high.
Sunday Afternoon, 1130am, main range.
The fog had lifted, the match concluded and everyone met at the main range to find out who placed second. Austin Orgain claimed the top spot, second place belonged to Clay Blacketter and third place belonged to Nils Foley. I managed my first NRL top ten coming in at the 10th place bubble.
All in all, I had an awesome time at the NRL Butch’s Oklahoma match. This match was very well run and organized. The RO’s did an exceptional job and I cant thank them enough. You could definitely tell all of the hard work that went into this match by how well it ran. Targets worked, stages flowed and when a minor problem presented itself, it was dealt with promptly. Butch and gang can put on one hell of a match!