The Perdido Key Thanksgiving 1600

The Perdido Key Thanksgiving 1600
by Dennis Lindenbaum, Southeast Bureau Chief,

The Thanksgiving Perdido Key Iron Sight 1600 was held again this year as it has for each of the past 82 consecutive years at the beautiful Sandhills Rifle and Pistol Club in the western tip of the Florida panhandle. This unique gulf front competition facility is located just west of Pensacola on the sugary sand dune beaches of the Gulf of Mexico and is a rare gem among smallbore programs throughout the country. You can imagine my delight when the Board of Directors of called their Southeast Bureau Chief requesting on the ground coverage of this event. Normally a hardship being away from family and loved ones on this special holiday weekend, I eagerly volunteered for this duty assignment and began my preparations for the trip south. The car was packed with care to make room for cabana chairs, umbrellas, plastic buckets and shovels as well as plenty of 162 SPF sunscreen.

The drive was uneventful and leisurely. There was still plenty of time to obtain the keys to the 18th floor penthouse condominium overlooking the beach below (thanks for the upgrade Erik) before going to the range to check in and manage some recon before the match began. This is normally a very well attended match and this year would prove no exception. Early registration had 63 shooters from 31 states and 3 countries. Late entries are never a problem since one relay can accommodate an almost infinite number of shooters. The firing points are unlimited and, if need be, can extend from Miami to Texas.

Once the first shots are let loose from the gleaming stainless steel barrels in the bright Florida sun, the competition is as tough as any match anywhere. Lones Wigger was heard to say, “This is the one match you remember”. But unlike most matches I have covered, this event is relaxed and festive. Beer and margaritas, usually reserved for post-match imbibement, were served before and during the match contributing to a most congenial setting. It was not uncommon to hear some shooters humming and singing during their strings “It must be five o’clock somewhere”.

It was a close competition throughout the day and the leaderboard was in a constant state of change. The Perdido Key 1600 is a little different from most matches as the challenge period lasts two weeks. Unlike Camp Perry where the challenge period can often be measured in minus time (i.e. the challenge periods may conclude before the scores are actually posted), the championship winners here are frequently not determined for weeks after the firing is concluded. Everybody is so happy that it just doesn’t seem to be a problem. Although it is very unofficial, it looks like Sam Herrington (see photo) will win yet another championship honors adding to the many feathers already in his cap. His wind reading skills in the blustery conditions typically witnessed on the Florida beaches is just uncanny.

I want to thank Dan and Erik for the assignment and picking up the tab. Although I didn’t shoot as well as I had hoped, it has truly been an experience I will always cherish. Congratulations to Sam and all the shooters to whom I will be forever thankful on this Thanksgiving holiday.

Dennis Lindenbaum, Southeast Bureau Chief,

Winner, Sam Herrington

About Dennis Lindenbaum

Dennis Lindenbaum began competitive shooting late in life starting with conventional pistol and then international 50 meter and air pistol events after a chance introduction to target firearms by a co-worker. The opportunity to lie on a mat while shooting, given his natural propensity for sloth, meant a switch to smallbore prone in 2008. A member of the Black Hawk Rifle Club and the 1600 club, he has been selected to the US Dewar Team. Dennis was a firing member of the 2010 National Championship Metallic Sight Prone Team. He assists with monthly smallbore match operations at River Bend Gun Club near his home in Marietta, Ga. Married, with two daughters, he earned a PhD from George Washington University and is a Clinical Neuropsychologist.
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3 Responses to The Perdido Key Thanksgiving 1600

  1. George Hadley says:

    Serving liquor during a shooting competition seems to me to be an irresponsible exercise. Competition shooting and shooters, to be accepted into the mainstream of sporting events and society have always had to show that this is a responsible sport and we are responsible people. Before the POST match celebration begins, all firearms should be unloaded, cased and put away in their vehicles or stored away securely. As shooters how do we explain to the public or the media how safe competition shooting is when an event like this makes light of firearms safety. What have we been taught and have taught all these years? This is not right. And I also don’t think that this web site, should publicize such an event.

  2. Jim Hinkle says:

    George – that is the only way I can win anymore. I always saw multiple bulls in the same sight picture and I shot at everyone. Problem is that the correspondent got the spelling of my name wrong.

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