Sunday, August 15, 2010

Mud, Guns, and a Sore Shoulder, Part 1

The main reason Matt and I traveled to visit his parents this particular weekend is because there was a family reunion in good ol' West Virginia. 

Yea, that kind of West Virginia.

We went to the reunion last year, too.  We have to drive about an hour and a half to get to his uncle's house which is half way up a mountain.  There were several family members there who had all brought various goodies to eat.  Eating is the first event.  But the real event--the MAIN event--comes after the eating is over.

The main even is a shooting match.

Last year, before we went, Matt had told me about this shooting match.  It takes place up on a hill overlooking his uncle's house and they've been doing it for over 15 years.  There are three rounds and blah, blah, blah...I didn't really care.  The only gun I've ever shot (besides a BB gun) was an old shot gun.  And you don't really aim with that.  I figured I probably couldn't hit the broad side of a barn, much less a small target 100 yards away.  I thought I'd just go watch, since there wouldn't be anything else to do.  We got up on this hill and they started setting everything up, got out guns, and cleaned things out.  Matt's uncle laid out targets and started labeling them with names.  He looked at me and said, "You shootin'?"  I said no, I'd just watch.  He said, "Nah, you're shootin'," and put my name on a target.

Long story short, after the first two rounds, I was ahead of Matt in the points.  I couldn't believe it.  Matt couldn't believe it.  His uncle turned to me and said, "Have you been practicin' or somethin'??"  The last round, though, was my downfall.  I had the worst pistol ever and I think I only managed to get a few points.  Matt shot several bullseyes and overtook me in the points, and ended up in 3rd place.  I finished in 5th (out of 8).

While this was certainly not a bad result (seeing as how I'd never really shot a gun in my life), I was not happy losing in the last round.  Just to clarify, I didn't care about winning the whole thing--I don't think I could ever beat his uncle.  But if I could beat my husband in a shooting match?  That would give me bragging rights for centuries, people.  Centuries.  I was determined to return next year and get those rights.

The last couple weeks at our house have been ripe with taunts and jabs, hints at humiliating defeats, and plenty of (friendly-ish) fightin' words.  I wanted to beat him.  Bad.

Yesterday, we headed out late morning for West Virginia.  It was hot and humid, but not as bad as it's been recently.  We arrived and after some chatting and food fixing, we all sat down to eat.  About halfway through eating, it started to rain.  Just a drizzle.  "It'll pass," Matt's uncle said.  We could all see blue sky just beyond.  Well, the rain stopped.  Then started up again.  Then briefly stopped.  Then more rain--lots of rain.  Pouring rain. 

Half an hour later, it's still pouring down.  Hopes of a glorious shooting match are slowly dying and the rain keeps coming.  Some people leave, some people putter around waiting to see if the rain will let up.

After about 45 minutes, the rain slows...then comes to a stop. 

 Some of the men clamber up the hill to see if things are dry enough to get up there.  They come down and report that the top of the hill isn't muddy at all!  The trail up the hill...whole 'nother story.  Muddle puddles and ruts with mud are all along the hill's trail.  Matt's uncle tries to get his truck up through it, but no go.  Even 4-wheel drive doesn't do it in this stuff.  So in our sandals, we grab duffel bags, gun cases, and other paraphernalia and trudge up to the top.  We are shooting today; mud or no mud.

Finally, we're all up there.  There will be six shooters (down from last year's 8):  Matt, me, Matt's uncle, Matt's cousin, and two friends of the family.  The rules are as follows:

-In each round you have six shots at the target.  You must take one standing shot; the other five you can sit down and use sandbags to prop up the gun or your arm.

-First round is hunting rifles with scopes at 100 yards.  These things (for those of you who don't know), kick like a mule.  Not my favorite round.  Ouch.

-Second round is shooting with the family .22-cal rifle with iron sights at about 40 yards.  I love this round.  I scored better than everyone in this round last year and the .22 kicks about as bad as a BB gun (i.e. not bad at all).

-Third round is pistols at about 15-20 yards.  I learned last year that pistols are inaccurate and terrible and I hate them.  It's what ruined things for me and saved Matt from defeat.

-The winner gets the trophy (yes, there's a trophy) and a year's worth of glory over other family members.

And so we started.  The riveting story and stirring results are next!

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