Nick Truter continues his shoot report from The Seminole Cup in Florida – including an awesome surprise along the way, some good shooting and a great gallery from the event. If you missed part one – click here.
Saturday saw the start of the main event; 200 targets spread over two days of shooting, requiring all shooters to complete 100 targets per day. My Saturday slot was at 11.30, so a slightly elongated night’s sleep was much appreciated and meant that I was able to shrug a little bit more jetlag off prior to shooting again. I was scheduled to shoot the Blue course, starting at Stand 7 once again. I was joined for the majority of the day by a great paintball friend of mine, Calvin, who moved down to Florida from Rochester, New York a couple of years ago and was keen to sample a shooting event; the Seminole provided the perfect opportunity.
The squad comprised of three good friends; Jack, Chris and Greg, along with a couple of older gentlemen Jay and John. Anyone who hasn’t shot in the States before might not be aware that a lot of fist bumping goes on whist shooting. Instead of any obligatory fist-bumping; a precedence was set by the guys whereby anything less than a 5 out of 6 or a 7 out of 8 wouldn’t be commended and on many occasions resulted in some well-timed one liners dished out by Jack! Each and every stand on the blue course was changed significantly from the previous day; further testament to the work rate of the ground staff.
Target wise things definitely felt tougher for the main event. There was a good mixture of both three and four pair stands featuring report or true (simo) pairs. Each and every trapper throughout the entire event was not only polite and welcoming but had the forethought to announce when they were ready to push the button prior to the shooter commencing shooting. The majority of stands had shaded areas nearby and most had water stations or coolers full of complimentary sponsored fruit juices from a Floridian juice company, so there was no excuse for getting thirsty despite the heat.
Shooting wise I just couldn’t get any momentum and seemed to keep dropping ones, twos or threes at almost every stand. The targets were well thought out and the transitions between both were designed to push you out of your comfort zone and adapt as some needed to be shot quickly whilst others needed to be allowed to develop for longer. I finished on a 70, which whilst not disastrous, left me with a lot to do on the Sunday as the highest score in my class was a 92! That 92 was outstanding shooting, as the majority of other shooters in the class were in the low eighties or high seventies.
Saturday night heralded the traditional banquet, whereby anyone entering the main event got a complementary ticket to the all you can eat prime rib feast! They take their prime rib seriously out here as the log burners were lit before 10am and dinner wasn’t served until about 6pm. As soon as dinner was starting to be served, two lines swiftly formed and anyone with a ticket was treated to an inch thick slab of prime rib that filled a plate, topped by potatoes, green beans and bread along with side salads and desserts. Aside from the food, the ticket also entered shooters into a raffle for one of six shotguns that were to be given away, along with an array of other shooting products.
I was busy tucking into my meal, when I thought that I heard my name called out by one of the announcers. I couldn’t believe it when I found out that I’d not only won one of the shotguns; I’d won the top prize donated by title sponsor Caesar Guerini USA: a 34″ Magnus Sporting Over and Under worth $5150! As the gun was not one that I would shoot, I struck a deal with Rich Cole from Cole Guns to take it from me, saving me the hassle of having to bring it back and negotiate its passage through UK customs. I literally couldn’t believe my luck; the trip was paid for and there was a little left over! In all honest, shooting on Sunday was almost a secondary concern that evening!
Sunday morning, saw me squadded with Jack, Chris, Greg and Jay again, this time starting at 8.30am on the Red Course. John had moved squads to a smaller squad, but the five of us were more than happy to be shooting in the morning sunshine regardless of who it was with. The Red course felt slightly more forgiving that the blue and I felt as though I settled into proceedings quickly by straightening (or “running” as the Americans call it) the first two stands to get off to a much steadier start. Mentally I was fresh and focused and technically I was swinging smoothly and moving well in general; stark contrast to the previous day where everything felt laboured.
I finished on an 84 leaving me on a combined score of 154 overall and 15th place in class. If I had shot a little better on the Saturday I could have easily pushed up into the top ten, and if I’d really shot well maybe higher but overall I was pleased with two of my four rounds at the event. As an added bonus I picked up $134 in the Lewis option for the main event, so that along with my class win paid for my two flats of Fiocchi Crushers.
Overall the Seminole was a fantastic experience. I met some truly down to earth people and shared some great rounds in excellent company. I got to watch many of the top US shooters in action and made a lot of new friends and contacts, many of which I hope to bump into at next year’s event! Shooting in the USA is definitely high on my agenda for the foreseeable future as the event never felt overcrowded despite the number of shooters in attendance.
Thank you to Shereen and her crew at the Seminole for making me very welcome and I look forward to seeing you all next year!
Finally – a small gallery of shots from the event…