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Let the Good Times Roll

by Hap Rocketto

My wife Margaret was getting tired of me shooting a rifle match at least one day every weekend all summer long. In desperation she finally me asked if she could accompany me one weekend to see what attracted me to the sport which occupied so much of my discretionary time.

Thinking it might be a good experience for her to see what a day’s serious shooting entailed I readily agreed, but on one condition, she would do everything concerning with participating in the match, except the shooting, with me as I did it. She agreed and so I selected my next match which happened to be an 800 point across the course event.

Wednesday night we loaded 150 rounds of ammunition.

Thursday we inventoried and tidied up my gear to insure that we had everything in my carry bag, and shooting stool that we would need for the match.

Friday we laid everything out in the basement and ran a patch down the barrel of the rifle.

Saturday morning I shook her awake at 4:00 AM.

I then had her make our lunch and pack it in a cooler with some cold drinks. She then made us breakfast and helped me carry my gear to the car.

Leaving the house at 5:00 AM we drove to pick up my brother and thence to pick up Shawn Carpenter. She helped the guys load their gear into the car and tried to rest as I drove to the range to the tune of the boys’ early morning snores.

We arrived at the range at about 7AM only to have to stand in line for 15 or 20 minutes to complete registration and pick up our squadding.

About 7:30AM we unloaded the car and arranged our gear for the match.

The squadding sheet had us going to the pits first. We gathered up a bottle of water, head sets, and rain gear and headed down range.

After arriving in the pits we drew a target and placed it in the carrier, inventoried our pit supply box, and shook hands all around as we greeted the other members of our relay.

The first round went down range at 9:00AM and we pulled 66 shots standing for the opposite relays.

At about 10:30 we ran the targets to half mast for the rapid sitting match which lasted, because there were no alibis, a mere 45 minutes.

We the left the pits do go the same shooting evolution for our relay plus our 300 yard match.

We scored, I prepped, and shot while she looked on as I scattered shots all about my target.

In the middle of the afternoon we were back in the pits, accompanied by the cooler, to have lunch and pull three relays of 300 yard rapid and 600 yard slow.

While we were in the pits the sun disappeared and we suffered through a few rain showers. The sun came out as we trudged through the wet grass to the 600 yard line and our last relay.

Through threatening skies, switching winds, and changing light we scored and then I again prepared for shooting and completed the match without much glory.

We then packed up all of my gear and loaded it back into the car. My gear went in first, then Steve’s, then Shawn’s so it would all come out in the correct order as we dropped off our companions.

After hawking the board we departed for home with wet socks, hungry, dirty, hot, sweaty, and tired. I drove accompanied, as usual, by the discordant snores of the boys and something new, the soft rhythm of my sleeping wife’s breathing.

After unloading both our passengers and their gear we arrived home in the same darkness as we had departed some14 hours earlier.

We unloaded the car, wiped down the rifle, put it back into the safe, and, after a shower, we had a quiet late dinner of leftovers.

With drooping eyelids she headed off to bed yawning.

“Margaret!” I called after her, “Don’t forget that tomorrow morning we will have to clean the rifle and sort the brass.”

As a final thought I added, “And I bet that all along you thought that I was having a good time, didn’t you?”

Category: Hap's Corner

About the Author: Hap Rocketto is a Distinguished Rifleman with service and smallbore rifle, member of The Presidents Hundred, and the National Guard’s Chief’s 50. He is a National Smallbore Record holder, a member of the 1600 Club and the Connecticut Shooters’ Hall Of Fame. He was the 2002 Intermediate Senior Three Position National Smallbore Rifle Champion, the 2012 Senior Three Position National Smallbore Rifle Champion a member of the 2007 and 2012 National Four Position Indoor Championship team, coach and captain of the US Drew Cup Team, and adjutant of the United States 2009 Roberts and 2013 Pershing Teams. Rocketto is very active in coaching juniors. He is, along with his brother Steve, a cofounder of the Corporal Digby Hand Schützenverein. A historian of the shooting sports, his work appears in Shooting Sports USA, the late Precision Shooting Magazine, The Outdoor Message, the American Rifleman, the Civilian Marksmanship Program’s website, and most recently, the apogee of his literary career, pronematch.com.

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