It’s Match Day at the 2016 Crawfish Cup, and the air is filled with morning haze, a few mosquitoes, and palpable anticipation!
87 Competitors took to the range on the day of the competition. The shooters gathered under the pavilion for the competitor meeting, where it was announced that the official referees from the NRA would provide practiced eyes on the competition. Also in attendance was Damien Orsinger, the region’s NRA representative, whom we were thrilled to see.
With these exciting developments relayed to the competitors, the final range rules were given, and they dispersed into their 8 person squads to begin their assigned event: The Mover, the Barricade, the Falling Plates, and the Practical Event.
If you’re like us, you may have a slight knowledge of what each event entails. The Falling Plates are pretty self explanatory. Each competitor lines up at 10 yards, and must shoot a series of 6 plates within a specified amount of seconds. The difficulty increases with distance, all the way out to 25 yards. You saw in Part 2. It’s not as easy as it looks.
The Barricade presents even more challenges as the competitors must set themselves behind a partition, without eyes on the target. The buzzer sounds, the target turns to face the competitor as he or she leans out from the barricade to take their shot. This must be done within seconds, from varying distances, and using alternating hands. Imagine coming out from behind a wall 35 yards from your target, drawing your gun, gaining your sight picture, and firing from your non-dominant hand, all within a matter of seconds. Yes, it sounds impossible.
The Practical Event shares some commonalities with the Barricade. Competitors line up to face a target which is turned away from them. They must fire a series of shots within a few seconds, and at varying distances. From here, the two events begin to differ wildly. The shots taken are within quick succession. For instance, one must place one shot in each target within three seconds, two shots in each target within four seconds, and three shots in each target eight seconds. Oh, did we mention there’s two targets! Yea, two targets. It only gets more difficult from here, as the amount of shots, total time to take the shots, and the distance changes dramatically. In the end, a competitor must make their final shots in two targets, three in each, at 50 YARDS! Hey, at least you can go prone. I know I would have to lie down, and I probably would just stay there.
Finally we have the Moving Targets Event, or the Mover. The shooters take on this event solo. A hush falls, the mover hums to life, and a target races across the berm. All the while, the shooter waits for movement, draws, and fires a number of shot before the target reaches the opposite side from which it started. Draw, lead, and squeeze. Now, back out a few yards. Fewer shots, same amount of time, about 6 seconds. Go further back now. Again. Now, you’re at 25 yards. You have to hit this target three times with each pass. It passes you 4 times at this distance. At 25 yards, that black circle you’re aiming for, is little more than a dot, even with your red dot, stick shift, years of training, practice yesterday, and anxiety under control, trying to compensate for each shot within a few seconds separates competitors from champions.
Even with a perfect score, you’re not guaranteed a win. The top competitors are trying to get as many X’s as possible. An X is a shot within the inner-most circle. Hit there, and you’re set. Get more shots within the “big” black dot, and the cup has a better chance of going home in your luggage.
Check out the gallery below, and see these true competitors hard at work in their sport.
It was unlike anything we’d ever witnessed. The blend of speed, skill, accuracy, and precision culminated in a dramatic and inspiring performance from every competitor, whether they were a novice, or a world class professional. Each shooter stood tall, took aim, and gave it their absolute best on the firing line.
From Range Master George Mowbray, “The 2016 Crawfish Cup turned into a shootout amongst the elite competitors of the sport! The Open Gun Super Squad was comprised of last year’s winner, Bruce Piatt, 2014 winner Kevin Angstadt, 2013 winner Doug Koenig and challengers Mark Itzstein, Kim Beckwith, Troy Mattheyer, Jeremy Newell and first time Crawfish Cup competitor Tony Holmes.”
George detailed how the drama unfolded throughout the day in his match narrative. He said, “Kevin Angstadt jumped out to an early lead in the TK Custom sponsored Practical Event, posting an impressive 480 points with 45 tie-breaking X-ring shots. Bruce Piatt also had a 480 on the Practical Event, but with 39 X’s. Troy Mattheyer was in third place with a clean score and 37 X’s. Mark Itzstein and Tony Holmes followed with 36 and 32 X-ring hits respectively. 2013 champion Doug Koenig had a high X-count of 44 on the Practical, but let one shot slip out of the ten-point ring, ending the event with 478 points. Still an impressive start to the match, nonetheless.”
“Next up for the top squad was the Briley Custom Barricade event. Typically, it is a high X-count event for the top Open Gun competitors, and today didn’t disappoint. Caspian’s Bruce Piatt and Mark Itzstein, sponsored by Secure Firearm Products, posted perfect scores of 480 points with a perfect 48 X’s on the event. This was a personal best for Itzstein and his first 48-X Barricade Event in competition and propelled him past Troy Mattheyer and into third place behind Midsouth Shooters Angstadt, who still led with 91 X’s and Piatt with 87 X’s.”
George continued, “Next came the Falling Plates, which was sponsored by Lucas Oil Outdoor Line. All of the squad easily cleaned the event with 480-48X scores. Going into the final event, it was a tight race with Midsouth’s Kevin Angstadt clinging to the lead he established at the outset with a total score of 1440-139X, to Piatt’s 1440-135X. Itzstein, Mattheyer and Holmes rounded out the top five with X-counts of 132, 129 and 123 respectively. As is usually the case at the Bianchi Cup National Action Pistol Championship.”
“The drama peaked when the four greats met for their final event of the day, the Moving Target, sponsored by Secure Firearm Products. The new state-of-the-art Mover raced targets before Bruce Piatt, Tony Holmes, Doug Koenig, and Kevin Angstadt. Tied in Falling Plates, X’s gathered in both Barricade and Practical, the Mover began to separate our champions into their positions. The slightest misstep, hesitation, or distraction could equal defeat. In the end, one champion rose above the others to take the day.”
“When the final shot rang out, Bruce Piatt repeated as the 2016 Crawfish Cup Champion with a score of 1920 points and 176 X’s. Tony Holmes jumped into second place by shooting a 478 on the Mover, finishing with a 1918-153X. Smith & Wesson’s Doug Koenig also had 176 X’s, but dropped 4 points overall to finish with a 1916-176X. Kevin Angstadt was close on his heels firing a 1916 with 173 X’s. Mark Itzstein also shot a 1916, but could only muster 158 X’s to finish in fifth place. Troy Mattheyer shot an eight point shot and a five point shot on the Mover to finish with a very respectable 1913-157X performance. The top three competitors, Piatt, Holmes and Koenig, are all sponsored by H & M Black Nitride giving Black Nitride a clean sweep at the Crawfish Cup.” Check out the press release from Black Nitride Here!
Check out Part 4 for more scores, match details, and plans for 2017!