Late this morning I went down to the pits for a relay and met up with Skip Burks, the Chief Pit Officer for the Black Powder Target Rifle Championship here at the NRA Whittington Center.
Skip came out to the center back on June 5, to begin making and repairing targets for the matches held these past couple weeks. An avid competitive shooter and hunter, Skip first came out here from his home state of Illinois at the request of a friend who was the previous Chief Pit Officer. His friend needed some help and thought Skip might enjoy working the matches. Six years later Skip is still here, although his friend has since retired.
It's a lot of work to put together a batch of targets that are almost immediately shot up by competitors. Skip says he usually gives his targets a shelf life of two days before they're pulled for fresh ones. While it may not be as glamorous as working at the firing line, staffing the pits is an integral part of most any long range match and without people down there competitions would take much longer.
In the future all matches are sure to switch over to an electronic scoring method and all the junior shooters will hear stories from the old-timers about having to go down to "the pits" and pull targets to mark shots.