Written by Tyler Frehner
One of my favorite parts of putting on a match is spending money on the shooters! Co-match director Jack Wilson.
It is my honor to write the After Action Report for the National Rifle Leagues inaugural match, the 2017 Idaho Shamrock Shootout presented by MGM targets. And oh what a match it was! It took place on the excellent Snake River Sportsman Range just outside of Vale Oregon on March 17th-19th. Co-match directors Nate Lauerman and Jack Wilson headed up the Precision Rifle Shooters of Idaho (PRSID) and put on one hell of a fun event for 100 Precision Rifle shooters.
The course of fire designed by PRSID is very unique, challenging, and fun! The COF itself was 20 stages with 10 rounds each for a total of 200 rounds fired. The range is situated in a natural bowl. On day one we shot 10 stages along the top of the cliff line shooting into the bottom of the bowl. On day two, we shot along the base of the cliff amongst natural tumbled down boulders and rocks. PRSID made the most of the range’s natural terrain and then added in man made shooting props, to keep the shooter guessing. On one stage you would be improvising shooting positions along a line of huge boulders, then the next stage you would find yourself shooting from a roof top prop off a 100 foot cliff!
Generally, Jack and Nate kept target size to about 2 minutes of angle. This size seemed to fit the formula for match success perfectly. Match winner Jon Pynch was able to finish the match with a score of 166 out of 200 shots fired, which put him at an 83% hit percentage. This hit ratio allowed for a competitive match, while still ensuring that new shooters would get to enjoy hearing the clank of copper on steel. To complement that, PRSID utilized the Practiscore electronic scoring system to great effect with only one hiccup (one stage was omitted) that was realized right when they emailed the scores out to all the shooters. That oversight was corrected in 5 minutes and the Shamrock Shootout scores were flawless. As a match director myself, I can say that is a difficult feat to pull off!
I would like to tip my hat to Range Officers. If I had to use only two words to describe the ROs, those words would be: competent and chill. All of them had their stages well in hand. They had the ability to be friendly, funny, helpful, and laid back, while still keeping everyone safe and on task. They insured that the match was kept on time, while never making the shooters feel rushed. Further, most of them had time to share a laugh and participate in the squad antics. For the most part, the ROs were made up of PRSID members who are all talented shooters. Having experienced shooter ROs is a huge asset, as they all know what they are doing, how a stage is to be run, and dont miss target impacts. With this thick field of quality ROs, I hate to single individuals, as it would leave out so many other great ones. I have to bring up that the two biggest sponsors of the Shamrock Shootout where MGM Targets (whos excellent flasher targets where a huge part of the quality spotting) and Caracal USA. Heads of both of those companies are Travis Gibson and Jeff Spalding, respectively. Not only did they both serve as range officers, but also Travis did it dressed as a Multi Cam wearing Bandito and Jeff did it dressed as a leprechaun!
At this point I typically talk about logistics, but I find in this case that the term logistics just doesnt cover what was offered. From the minute we arrived at the Snake River Sportsman Range, the shooters had fun options presented. At sight-in, we had two side matches. First up was the B&T Industries side match in which all shooters had one shot on an ace of spades playing card. Who ever came closest to the center, won a $300 gift certificate. That stage was won by my Sin City Precision teammate Jason Reber. He center punched it! Next up was the Caracal USA side match with the new Enhanced F 9mm that featured Quick Sites. Every shooter was given a free ticket that got them 10 rounds in the magazine. The goal was to hit all 5 MGM targets in the shortest time possible. You could buy anther chance for $5 each. The winner earned a pistol! When I walked up, Tim Milkovich had already shot an impressive 3.43 second time. I straight bombed it, but saw several solid attempts, one of which was Caracals own honcho Jeff Spalding. Ultimately, Travis Gibson of MGM targets threw down a blazing time of 3.04 seconds! Travis graciously donated the pistol to the exact middle pack shooter (the crease award, as he called it) who was H-S Precisions Josh Cluff. That was an extremely generous and cool thing to do. It is always fun to win something, especially when you are not expecting it.
On both competition days, all shooters were provided with gourmet, froofroo coffee (which might not be manly, but I loved it!) in the morning and excellent sandwiches for lunch. Water and a ton of snacks were at every shooting station. That was just the match amenities. The real treat was off the range. After day one, PRSID brought us all together at the match hotels banquet room. Beer and nachos were provided! While we were all enjoying the fare, Jack Wilson started up an epic game of BINGO. I have never had so much fun playing an old folks game! Jack gave $100 bills to each person who got bingo. I am unsure how much he gave out, but he started with a small stack of Benjamins and went into his wallet to keep the game going. Then Jeff Spalding put more $100 bills into the pot, to further the game. I believe there was more than $1000 given to the winners of BINGO!
Typically after a day of shooting, the shooters disperse and go their own ways. After shooter BINGO, almost everyone stayed together talking about missed shots, cleaned stages, and laughing. It was unique from my past match experiences and a much welcomed change! Eventually the whole group moved over to the hotel bar and John Fillman of Chambered USA started up an epic game of Left, Right, and Center that involved more adult beverages and at least 25 shooters and ROs. The good times together are what people remember after an event and this match brought more than I have ever seen.
After the final day of shooting, we were again brought together in the banquet room for beer and a fajita dinner as part of the total package. The awards went down with honoring shooters and sponsors. The highlight was an awesome FBI rifle package from H-S Precision Rifles, valued at $6600 for first place shooter which was Jon Pynch. Nick Gadarzi and Jake Vibbert rounded out the top 3. As Sportsmanship is a founding principal of the NRL, PRSID selected Fiona York as top sportsman and presented her with a trophy. I was in her squad and can say that she was every shooters best cheerleader, thanked every RO, and was a delight to be around even if she did not clean a stage. It was truly an honor being in her squad! After the awards, some shooters and ROs understandably had to take the drive home. Those who didnt, all stayed together, again! Yet another game of Left, Right, and Center took place along with a very kind gesture by everyones favorite shooter Tino Rodriguez. He thoughtfully bought a birthday cake for John Fillman. My wife at 52 tall, thought it would be a great idea to smoosh cake into Johns face. John happens to be a stout 63 .it didnt end well for Janae.
Co-match director Nate Lauerman told me that his goal was to obviously put on a good shoot, but to make this an entire event. I can say that he met his goal and then some! Everyone had a great time, enjoyed each others company, and wanted to stay together. From a straight dollars and cents point of view, lots of shooters are feeling the pinch of rising match fees. I know I spent less money on this event from paid dinners and lack of bar tabs!
Both the NRL and PRSID could not have put this event on without the support of so many excellent sponsors. We would like to remind shooters that these companies are the ones who are giving back to us all. So when it is time to spend your hard earned cash or give recommendations to new shooters, aim for these good folks! To begin with is MGM Targets. Their support of this competition was obvious to anyone who shot. No one questioned a shot taken (except me, who shot the wrong target!). Next is Caracal USA who is the official pistol sponsor of the NRL. Caracal USA paid for food, expenses, the side match, and put product on the table. U.S. Optics is the NRL official scope sponsor provided product and tremendous RO support. Kelblys Inc. is the official action sponsor and also put product on the table and amazing RO support. B&T Industries is the official bipod sponsor and provided product and side match. JC Steel Targets is the official steel sponsor and provided product to the prize table. XLR Industries is the official chassis sponsor for the NRL and provided product to the prize table. Alpha Munitions is the official brass sponsor. Silver sponsor is Nightforce. Associate sponsors were H-S Precision, Grayboe Stocks, LALO Tactical, and McMillan Stocks. Other much-appreciated sponsors were Delta P Designs, Spartan Precision Rifles, Defiance Machine, Vortex Optics, No Name Tactical, DMR LLC, Precisionrifleshooters.com, CONX Media, PROOF Research, Short Action Precision, Tactical Solutions, Owens Armory, and J. Allen Enterprises. Without the support of these products, these competitions would not be possible. We are truly thankful for their support and encouragement.
The term goes, Last but not least, but in this case Last but perhaps the most is the shooters. I dont know if it was the way that Nate and Jack succeeded in bringing us together on and off the range, or the attitude and execution of PRSIDs ROs. Or, (and I am hoping that this is it) maybe the way that the NRL has presented our mission. But probably most likely the combination of all three manifested in the shooters and the way that we all interacted with each other. It was unique. More like a group of close friends and family than a group of shooting competitors. Several times that weekend, I had different respected guys come up to me and say, dude, this whole shoot and the shooters have a different feel to it, and it is great!. I know that this past 9 months of work put into the NRL by many people was all made worth it after spending this weekend with all of you. Never have I had so much fun, laughed so hard, or enjoyed a match as much as this one. A huge portion of that had to do with the shooters, range officers, and sponsor support.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you to: Nate and Jack, PRSID, the sponsors, the shooters, and everyone that believed in what we knew was possible. Thank you again.
National Rifle League, Director of Match Operations