Thursday morning dawned bright and early for me. Even earlier than usual actually, because we were now on Central Time, and my body hadn't adjusted to the (albeit small) time change yet. Honestly, even the switch to Daylight Saving Time takes me about a week to get adjusted, so my sleep was a bit off the entire time I was in Kentucky.
the advantage to being awake early was that I had time to sneak in
another cave tour before the Official Match Registration started. This
time I took the "New Entrance" tour, rather than the "Historic Entrance"
tour that I had taken the previous day. Imagine my surprise when the
same tour guide arrived (the one I had pestered with questions for 20
minutes the previous day). Poor thing. I resolved to not be such a
pedantic pain this time. I did manage to restrain myself to a handful of
questions, and had an even more interesting time than the first day.
Whodathunk I could combine an educational experience with a shooting
match? (And this will lead me into the start of another story later.) I
even met a cute critter along the way.
I arrived back up at Rockcastle
at the appointed hour, and proceeded to check-in with Match
Registration. As soon as I checked in, people started handing me stuff.
Ummm... is this for me? Really?... oh, it's "prizes" just for showing
up? Wow. So, you're saying that even if I come in LAST, I get stuff just
for being here? Well, alrighty then! I win! Thanks!
haul of swag "stuff" didn't quite do it justice. There was an overnight
bag full of coffee mug, pocket knife, stickers, an NRA jacket, a
flashlight and all kinds of useful gear. Then, there was the folding
stool that had a cooler/insulated bag underneath. I win! And that was
just the "official" match swag. Later on that evening, at the "Ladies
Wine Social", our Babes group received yet another bagful of wonderful
gear from various donors and manufacturers. I wish I could remember them
all to link them all here, but there was a Surefire flashlight, an
Uncle Mike's holster, a pink pistol rug, a cap from GunGoddess, hearing
protection and eye protection, a pink AR magazine pouch from Comp-Tac,
the list went on and on. It was seriously overwhelming.
this may be just part of the routine for veterans of the shooting
circuit, but for me it was kind of "Wow". You also have to realize that
in the medical world, the days of "drug rep swag" are long gone. In the
years before I joined the profession it was commonplace for docs to
accept trips and expensive gifts from pharmaceutical companies. By the
time I got to med school and residency, however; it was getting hard for
drug reps to even pay for a lunch for starving residents without
jumping through hoops with the ethics committee. Nowadays the only swag
one can hope to see from reps is a couple pens or a scribble pad. And
even that sometimes is looked askance at. I know of one practice from a
few years ago where the rep from Drug Company X brought a cake to the
office. The office staff, thinking quickly, scraped the company logo off
the top of the cake and ate it before the presiding doc could see it
and refuse the gift! So, you can see why I was overwhelmed with all the
"gifts" from the industry. It is not something I'm used to, and in fact,
I felt a little guilty about it - like somebody's ethics committee was
going to come find me! Ha! That's one of the reasons that here, in this
blog, in public, I'm just "Dr. LateBloomer". It's our secret - mmmkay?
So there I was, officially registered and checked-in as an amateur shooter in the AR15.COM Rockcastle Pro-Am 3Gun Championship
...and not a clue in the world how this was going to work. I was
immensely glad that the women from Babes With Bullets and the Pro women
were going to be there to guide me through it all. Without that
assurance, I'm sure that this would have been much too intimidating to
attempt on my own. Even with all of my previous experience in showing up
at new things alone and figuring it out as I went - even with all that
already under my belt - I'm sure that I would not have attempted this on
my own. I was not ashamed to admit that I wanted a little hand-holding
I was getting excited about the prospect though. There
was an almost carnival atmosphere at Park Mammoth Resort that weekend -
from the moment one set foot on the property. The driveway up the hill
from the main road was lined with huge sponsor banners. Cars and pickups
were everywhere and spilling out of the parking lot. The hilltop area
surrounding the Lodge was filled with vendor tents, and signs, and
trailers. There was even a beer truck. On top of that was the sound of
distant gunfire, as competitors sighted in their rifles farther down the
road. It was a lot to take in for a big match newb, and it carried an
expectant air about it -- or maybe that was just me.
encountered my first "hiccup" later in the day, and needed my first
"hand-holding" of the event. That afternoon I arrived at the sight-in
range at the appointed time, hit my rifle targets without much need for
adjustment, and I was feeling pretty good. Then someone said "wait a
minute, her ammo attracts the magnet". What? What does that mean? I
bought what I could find available this year ... what does that mean?
What does a magnet have to do with anything? If Kay and Jerry Miculek
weren't both standing there with me, I'd have panicked. I was told that
because my rifle ammo attracted the magnet, that meant it had a steel
core, and wasn't allowed because it tears up the steel targets. But
nobody told me anything about that in all of the pre-preparation emails
from Babes - I bought what I could find - it's been terrible this year
finding ammo. I looked at Kay, and didn't know what to do. It was
apparently a detail that had slipped through the cracks. I felt a
little better that at least I hadn't actually screwed up, but I was
worried about what to do. There was an ammo vendor at the event, so I
was hoping that they would let me buy some suitable ammo, since it was
nearly impossible to find elsewhere. It was a potentially solvable
problem, but my inner control freak was all in a dither.
apparently not the only Babes participant with that problem - turns out
that there were several of us. But by the time we arrived that evening
for the "Ladies Wine Social", we were informed that it was all taken
care of. Freedom Munitions and Michael Bane
had arranged to donate suitable .223 ammo for us to use. Wow! I was so
grateful! What a nice gesture! And my inner control freak was so
relieved! Finally, I was able to relax and enjoy my wine that was
graciously provided by Samson Manufacturing.
Wine Social was where we received the news that we were part of a record-setting first. This was the largest number of women ever to participate in a 3Gun event -- nearly 60 of us, out of about 500 pro and amateur shooters -- when there are usually 20 or less. This was due to the efforts of the Noble Family at Rockcastle and to Babes With Bullets. They have worked very hard to encourage women in the shooting sports, and the record attendance was evidence of their success!
This event is also where we received our wonderful pink goody bags,
and received our squad coaching assignments. I was in Squad 6, which
meant that Randi Rogers and Lena Miculek would be our coaches and squad
moms. I was very excited! I was also excited to meet my other squadmates
at the social. Lots of interesting women, some of whom had connections
to the gun industry already. Several had shot at least a couple of 3Gun
matches before. I'm not positive, but I might have been the only one on
our squad who had never, ever shot a 3Gun match in her life, and I'm
pretty sure that I was the oldest woman on the squad. This was going to
be an education.
Finally, after a lot of laughs and some business housekeeping, the social broke up and we all drifted
off to our hotels, because the next morning was going to be very early, very busy,
and very exciting!