Port Clinton, Ohio - Yesterday was moving day as the National Rifle Association wrapped up operations at for the 2011 Rifle & Pistol Championships in Camp Perry. We packed our boxes, loaded the trucks, and started the journey back to headquarters in Northern Virginia. It's been almost six weeks for some. Six weeks of answering questions, filling out forms, taking pictures, weathering the weather and all those little things that make the National Championships possible.
During that time, we've seen some of the new (like Mississippi's Phil Hemphill winning his first Pistol title) and some of the old (like Hein & Tubb reclaiming their Smallbore & Long Range High Power titles.) But through it all there's been one constant ... and it's a big one.
For the past three years, my days at Camp Perry have all started with a little morning cannon fire. Jolting at first but familiar soon enough, it's a practice practiced at American military bases around the world. And it's one of the things I'm going to miss.
Make no mistake, we will miss more than the morning gun. The competitors, the volunteers and the golf carts that whisk us around the range also go on the list. But now, that the competition has drawn to a close, we return to our regular lives and get back in the swing of things. Return to our jobs, our families and - for those lucky few - back to the range.
So safe travels everyone. Head back home with your tales of competition, comradery and maybe even a trophy or two. And plan to return to Camp Perry next year. After all, we can't do it without you.
Keep your guns oiled and powder dry.